Greg Schianos squad is starting off the 2022 college football season a winner!
Down 21-15 with the ball on their own four yard line with 7:45 left in the fourth quarter, things were looking bleak for a Rutgers offense that had only managed 15 points in the first 52 minutes. A 12 play five minute drive capped off with a 22 yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Al-Shadee Salaam gave Rutgers the lead 22-21 with 2:43 left in the game. Salaam’s back to back runs of 23 and 22 yards led to the go-ahead score.
After a defensive hold that included back to back sacks, Boston College was forced to punt the ball back to Rutgers with 1:57 left. A running into the kicker penalty on Boston College with four seconds left solidified the win for Rutgers. Kneeling it on the final play, Schiano walked across the field with his team 1-0.
The go-ahead touchdown by Al-Shadee Salaam:
Here were some of the good and bad from Rutgers week one victory:
Rutgers run defense looked stout all game, holding Boston College to 29 rushing yards on 28 attempts. An average on one rushing yard per attempt. An encouraging early turnaround for a Scarlet Knight defense that gave up an average of 163 rushing yards per game last season. Defensive back Christian Izien led Rutgers in tackles with eight. Defensive lineman Wesley Bailey led the Knight in sacks with 1.5 while also scooping up a fumble recovery. Baileys 1.5 sacks came at a critical time as it was on the 2nd & 3rd downs that pushed Boston College back to 4th & 25 on their own 10 yard line with 2:06 left in the game.
Winning Turnover Battle:
Rutgers was able to win the turnover battle 3 to 1:
The Rutgers defense got their first turnover of the game by picking off Boston College quarterback Phil Juekovec with 1:12 left in the 1st quarter. This led to a 26 yard touchdown run by Aron Cruickshank five plays later that cut the lead to 7-6 (PAT was missed). Down 14-6, Rutgers was able to recover a fumble by Phil Juekovec at BC’s own six yard line. Two plays later the Knights Kyle Monangai punched it in for a one yard touchdown to cut the lead 14-12 (Missed two point conversion). The final BC turnover came when Juekovec was intercepted at the Rutgers 32 yard line with 12:54 left in the fourth quarter. This turnover didn’t lead to any points as Rutgers went three and out and punted.
The only Rutgers turnover came when Gavin Wimsatt was intercepted with 34 seconds left in the half. Boston College missed a 44 yard field goal with 12 seconds left in the half.
Rutgers was able to outscore Boston College 12-0 in first possessions after turnovers, a critical component to a close low scoring game.
Effective Ground Game:
Running the ball 40 times, the Scarlet Knights were able to produce 212 yards on the ground. Rutgers relied heavily on the run with starting quarterback Noah Vedral unable to play. Rutgers ran the ball 11 times for 96 yards on the game defining 12 play drive. After Gavin Wimsett’s pass went incomplete on 1st & 10 with 6:17 and Rutgers on their own 14 yard line, Schiano had seen enough passing. Ripping off eight consecutive run plays, Rutgers scored to take a 22-21 lead. Kyle Monangai’s 19 rushes for 78 yards and a touchdown led Rutgers ground game. Rutgers was able to keep the ball on the ground and clock moving, edging out Boston College in time of possession 32:32-27:37.
Highly coveted 4-star quarterback Gavin Wimsatt also broke off a 48 yard run in the first quarter:
3rd Down Efficiency:
Rutgers was inefficient on their 3rd down opportunities going 4 of 14. In a lower scoring game like today, they were able to escape with 22 points and a win. They will need to convert on more third down going forward especially in higher scoring games. As good as the defense looked, Rutgers can’t rely on holding their opponents in the low 20’s every game. Points will need to be scored, and 3rd down efficiency must improve.
With starting quarterback Noah Vedral out, they featured a combination of Evan Simon and Gavin Wimsatt. The pair combined to go 13/23 for 110 yards. Rutgers will need to open up the pass game in order to form a well rounded offense. Vedral is considered week-to-week with his undisclosed injury. If Vedral can’t go again, the dynamic Wimsatt would likely draw the start in Rutgers home opener against Wagner Saturday September 10th.
A really good week one win for Rutgers! Especially playing on the road. It wasn’t pretty, but pretty doesn’t matter when you win. Schiano had the run defense locked in, and Boston College had nowhere to go on the ground all afternoon. Penalties will need to be cleaned up as Rutgers had 10 penalties resulting in 76 yards compared to Boston College having 5 penalties for 40 yards. The 12 play go-ahead touchdown drive could be the start of an encouraging season for Rutgers football. A gritty grinded out week one win for the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, just what coach Schiano loves to see.
*Click here to read my articles on what to expect from Rutgers football in 2022