Rutgers vs. No. 16 Michigan State: Stock Up, Stock Down
It was a disappointing season finale, to say the least, as the Rutgers football team was blown out at home by No. 16 Michigan State, 40-7.
There were not many positives, as the defense was worn down and dominated all night, while the offense could not get anything going, with the exception of one first half drive.
The Scarlet Knights finish the season 4-8 overall with a 3-6 record in Big Ten games, clinching a fifth place finish in the Big Ten East after taking last place a year ago.
New white helmets
Really, this was all that was good for Rutgers on Saturday. Instead of the standard scarlet helmets with a white block R, the Knights went with white helmets with a scarlet block R. It was a very clean look that you can see here.
Johnathan Lewis' touchdown throw
After coming into the game to replace an ineffective Giovanni Rescigno, Lewis made the only good play of the game for Rutgers, when he rolled out to his right and fired a 43-yard touchdown to true freshman running back Raheem Blackshear. While it was a little underthrown, Blackshear was fast enough to outrun the defense and Lewis is the only quarterback on the roster with the arm strength to make that throw.
Third Down defense
For the second straight week, third downs against the Knight's defense almost seemed like a given. Michigan State was a dominant 13-20 on third down, utilizing short runs, passing plays and backbreaking quarterback scrambles to convert. The Spartans were able to utilize a halfback wheel route on third down to score the first touchdown of the game, a play Rutgers has struggled to defend all season. It seemed like Michigan State was much better prepared for situational football than the Knights were.
Once again, Rutgers looked flat out overmatched when trying to tackle opposition on Saturday. Multiple times, the Knights had the Spartans stopped in the backfield on running plays that ultimately turned into five and six-yard gains. Those little plays wore down the Rutgers defense and were a big reason why Michigan State was able to dominate in the second half. You can not really single out any individual player here, it was just an overall poor tackling effort.
This is very broad, but there is not much else to say. The offense sucked and there is no other way to put it. The Knights could not run the ball at all and did not even try. They had 12 carries for only 14 yards. That is very uncanny for a team that's offensive strength all year has been running the ball. Things were not much better in the passing game, as junior starter Giovanni Rescigno started the game and was replaced by true freshman Johnathan Lewis after two drives. Rescigno was 0-3 with one dropped pass while Lewis was 6-16 for 98 yards, one touchdown and two really bad interceptions. While it was key to get Lewis game action, he was not stellar.