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Three takeaways from Rutgers football's loss to Maryland

The Rutgers football team lost to Maryland to close out 2023, marking a four-game losing streak to end the regular season. – Photo by Evan Leong

The Rutgers football team was defeated by Maryland 42-24 at SHI Stadium on Busch campus on Saturday. The Scarlet Knights (6-6, 3-6) could not generate the momentum that was needed on both sides of the ball to win their final game of the regular season.

Here are three takeaways from Rutgers' home defeat. 

Maryland excels early  

The Terrapins (7-5, 4-5) were able to get out to an 18-point lead in the first quarter. In just the first drive of the game, Taulia Tagovailoa completed a 34-yard touchdown pass to Maryland's Tai Felton

Despite the Terrapins' hot start, the Knights had numerous chances to stifle Maryland's offense. Rutgers' defense struggled to adequately cover the Terrapins' wide receivers, allowing them to keep their foot on the gas pedal.

Maryland's second touchdown came from a six-yard rush by Tagovailoa. The Knights trailed by 14 points after approximately 8 minutes of play. 

Rutgers scored its first points on a 50-yard field goal by sophomore placekicker Jai Patel. The Knights could not build off their first points, as the Terrapins scored in the final minute of the first quarter thanks to a touchdown from Roman Hemby, making the score 21-3. 

Rutgers' strong defensive line looked tired and failed to stop the running game or pressure Tagovailoa, which ultimately led to the win for Maryland. 

Too many offensive mistakes  

Junior quarterback Gavin Wimsatt struggled throughout the game, as he completed only 13 of his 34 pass attempts for a completion percentage of just 38.

Entering the second half trailing 28-17, the Knights had an opportunity to make a comeback, but Wimsatt's persistent throwing errors stopped any momentum.

Despite the loss, junior running back Kyle Monangai rushed for 118 yards and became the first Rutgers player to rush for 1,000 yards since 2012.

Officially entering bowl-game season 

It will be another week before the Knights will know the location and opponent of their bowl game, but with an overall record of 6-6, Rutgers will likely play in the Pinstripe Bowl.

The Knights still have alternative options for bowl games, but Rutgers can start preparing for the game considering the broad range of possible outcomes. It will take a lot of preparation to boost the Knights' performance on both offense and defense with approximately a month until the team plays again.

"We've got a lot of planning to do," said head coach Greg Schiano. "We know the range of dates, so that's all I will go by (and) set up a few different schedules depending (on that)."

For more updates on the Rutgers football team, follow @TargumSports on X

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