Currently, the Rutgers football team is in a much-needed bye week after earning traditional bowl eligibility for the first time since 2014. Bye weeks are considered an oasis for teams, where they can have an extra week of practice without playing any games.
So far, the Scarlet Knights (6-2, 3-2) have improved their play tremendously over the past couple of years, even receiving two votes in the latest AP Top 25 Poll for the first time since Sept. 26, 2021.
But despite this improvement, there are still some things Rutgers can get better at, specifically its passing attack.
Junior quarterback Gavin Wimsatt has made major strides in his third season on the Banks. Wimsatt has eclipsed at least 146 passing yards in 6 of his 8 starts, with at least one passing touchdown in his first seven games this season.
On the ground, Wimsatt has already produced a career-high seven rushing touchdowns. He's rushed 73 times for a total of 362 yards, averaging approximately five yards per carry.
Wimsatt had his best rushing output in a 31-14 bowl-clinching win against Indiana last week. Wimsatt totaled 143 rushing yards and a hat trick of rushing touchdowns. His highlight came on an 80-yard scamper down the sideline after a nice cut in the middle of the field.
While the Knights won that game, Wimsatt only threw for 39 yards on 5 of 12 completions, as the game plan called for Rutgers to attack the Hoosiers (2-5, 0-4) on the ground.
Against Ohio State, Iowa, Penn State, Maryland and their bowl opponent to be announced later, the Knights will need to pass the ball more.
While it's nice to hand the rock to the Big Ten's leading rusher, junior running back Kyle Monangai, when defenses expect handoffs often, they stack the tackle box and make it harder for opposing running backs to find space.
That's where senior wide receivers JaQuae Jackson and Isaiah Washington come into play for Rutgers. Wimsatt will need to pass the ball to Jackson and Washington more for the Knights to have future success.
Do not forget to keep senior wide receiver Christian Dremel involved, as he leads the team in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns. In addition, Rutgers should look to use Dremel and senior tight end Johnny Langan as short-yardage safety valves.
Despite freshman wide receiver Ian Strong not getting many reps as one of the team's younger receivers, he has still made some impressive catches. Offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca should get Strong more involved in the back third of the season.
Though the Knights have had success running the ball, if they want to continue winning games, they need to trust Wimsatt's arm.
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