The Rutgers football team suffered a 31-0 loss to Minnesota yesterday. The Scarlet Knights (4-4, 1-4) were only able to muster 134 yards on offense as the Golden Gophers (5-3, 2-3) were led by a three-touchdown performance from Mohamed Ibrahim. Here are three takeaways from the loss.
Too much time
While Rutgers has been much stronger on the defensive side this season, spending nearly two-thirds of the game on the field would tire any unit. Minnesota had more than 41 minutes of possessions compared to just 18:58 for the Knights.
The Gophers used up more than half of the first two quarters on their touchdown drives. They went from their own 1-yard line and drove 99 yards in 10 minutes on the first score. Minnesota repeated with an 86-yard, 7-minute effort to make the team a two-score lead before halftime. Rutgers was not able to break down its opponent's defense, and the team paid for it on the other side of the ball.
Sophomore quarterback Gavin Wimsatt got his first Big Ten start yesterday, which also happened to be his 19th birthday. Unfortunately, most of the festivities took place off the field as he struggled to find open receivers. Wimsatt completed just 6 of his 17 pass attempts for 68 yards and threw an interception. Senior quarterback Noah Vedral came in at the end of the game, also throwing an interception.
With Wimsatt getting the start over Vedral, this could be a sign that head coach Greg Schiano is handing the keys to the offense over to the young signal caller. The former four-star recruit has lots of raw talent and can be a difference-maker after some experience. With freshman running back Samuel Brown V ruled out for the season, expect struggles from here on out for the Knights offense.
The Gophers were one of the more beatable opponents left on the schedule for Rutgers, who need to win two more games in order to qualify for a Bowl game. Two of the Knights’ last four opponents are top-20 teams in the nation, Michigan and Penn State. Either one of those games would require one of the biggest upsets in recent college football history, so the other two become must-win matchups.
Michigan State is a struggling program this season and is coming off of a loss to the No. 4 Wolverines (8-0, 5-0). Maryland is hitting its stride as Taulia Tagovailoa has emerged as one of the best quarterbacks in the Big Ten.
Adding to the difficulty is the fact that both of these games will be in hostile environments on the road. Rutgers needs some of its best performances of the year to have a chance at making a Bowl.
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