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Rutgers football defeats Indiana 38-3

Senior quarterback Noah Vedral and the Rutgers football team recorded their biggest win as a member of the Big Ten, defeating Indiana 38-3 in Bloomington.  – Photo by Samantha Cheng

The Rutgers football team defeated Indiana on Saturday afternoon 38-3. The win gives the Scarlet Knights (5-5, 2-5) their second win in three games and their third road win of the season.

Rutgers set a new season-high for takeaways with six in the win, the first of which came on the Hoosiers’ (2-8, 0-7) first snap of the game. A few plays later, junior running back Isaih Pacheco ran in for the game’s opening touchdown to give the Knights a lead they would never surrender.

Indiana’s turnover woes continued throughout the first half, turning over the ball multiple times to set up short fields for Rutgers' offense. The Knights led 17-3 going into halftime.

In the highlight play of the game, junior offensive lineman Raiqwon O’Neal caught his second career touchdown pass to put Rutgers up 31-3 in the third quarter.

When it was all said and done, the Knights’ victory over the Hoosiers was the largest margin of victory for the program in a Big Ten game. The 35-point win was also the greatest margin of victory for the team in a conference road game.

“That was a heck of a victory. I’m really proud of our guys — they battled through adversity during the week. We weren’t sure who was going to be able to play ... some did, some didn’t,” said head coach Greg Schiano after the game. “But together, they found a way to win the game, so I’m really proud of them.”

When the team does not turn the ball over, Rutgers has been undefeated this season and is now 30-2 under Schiano when it rushes for more than 200 yards. Led by Pacheco, the Knights rushed for 218 yards on Saturday.

To go along with the six takeaways, the Rutgers defense held Indiana to just one third-down conversion on 14 attempts. This season, the Knights now have held opponents to a success rate of 29.2 percent on third-down. This is also the 11th time under Schiano that the team has surrendered one third-down conversion or less.

The Rutgers defense achieved all of this while missing its three starting linebackers: senior linebackers Olakunle Fatukasi, Tyshon Fogg and Tyreek Maddox-Williams.

“It’s really about coaching and playing because there wasn’t any great schematic adjustments. That’s kind of what we play,” Schiano said. “I think (senior linebacker Drew Singleton) and (freshman linebacker Tyreem Powell) really stepped up big … they did a heck of a job.”

Senior quarterback Noah Vedral finished the game with 97 passing yards to go along with a 9-yard rushing touchdown. Senior wide receiver Bo Melton led the team in receiving with five catches for 50 yards.

Three different quarterbacks saw time for the Hoosiers in the loss. Donaven McCulley contributed the most yards while Jack Tuttle had the group’s two interceptions. On the ground, Indiana rushed for only 85 yards, marking the third time this season the Hoosiers have rushed for less than 100 yards in a game. Ty Fryfogle led the team in receiving.

Next week, the Knights will travel to University Park, Pennsylvania, to take on Penn State. Kickoff is set for noon, and the game will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network. Now at 5-5 with two games remaining, Rutgers is one win away from clinching a trip to a bowl game for the first time since 2014.

“We got a huge game this week against Penn State, at Penn State, and everything we got is going to go into that,” Schiano said when asked about the potential of reaching a bowl game. “They’re a good football team, really good, and we’re going to have to do everything we can to have a chance to win ... but 100 percent of our focus is there now.”

For updates on the Rutgers football team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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