The Rutgers Scarlet Knights faced a brutal defeat against the Ohio State Buckeyes with a score of 49-10. While this was a terrible loss, there were signs of hope within the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers now has a 3-2 record, both losses coming from Big Ten teams. While looking at their first five games, is there a chance that Rutgers’ defense can save them?
Rutgers has caught six interceptions in five games, their most notable coming from their loss against Ohio State. The Buckeye’s quarterback, C.J. Stroud, threw an interception in the second half of the game, it was only his second of the season. Stroud has been one of the best quarterbacks in college football this year. The interception was caught by senior defensive back Avery Young. Knowing the team was able to intercept Stroud is a sign of hope for Rutgers’ defense.
The Scarlet Knights also scored a pick-six this season against Temple University. With an offense that struggles to score, their defense can understand that they are able to get points on the board. According to ESPN, the pick-six came from defensive back Shaquan Loyal, who took the ball 43 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter of the game. Rutgers’ win against Temple was only a two-point game and if it were not for the interception they most likely would not have won.
Rutgers’ defense has only forced two fumbles on the season, but they recovered both. If they can continue to force these turnovers that can be key to success for the team. Two fumbles in five games may not be the best statistic, but it is still a sign of hope for the Scarlet Knights. Turnovers are a key point to focus on that can help the team win future games.
Ahead of their game against Ohio State, Rutgers’ defense was ranked first overall in rushing defense. Now, despite letting the Buckeyes score 49 points, the NCAA ranks them second overall. The Scarlet Knights have only given up 226 yards in five games. Many teams rush that per game, but not against Rutgers. In their game against Ohio State, in the last two minutes of the first half, it took the Buckeyes multiple attempts in the RedZone to score a touchdown to close out the half. If it were not for Rutgers’ defense giving up penalties, Ohio may have had to settle for a field goal.
The Scarlet Knights are ranked 36 when it comes to passing yards allowed. While this is not a bad rank considering how many teams there are, it is not near how good they are against the run. Rutgers has allowed 772 passing yards. This is the biggest weakness for Rutgers football that needs to be fixed. The defense is not the entire team, but they can help Rutgers’ chance of winning more games.
For more football content read my NFC West Preview here. For more NCAA football check out one of my Penn State articles here.
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