Rutgers wraps up spring with annual game
In its first time stepping out on the field in a game-type setting, the Rutgers football team broke the scoreboard as the Scarlet and White teams tied at 132 using a special scoring system.
“In the game you could see we focused on the pass game a lot today. We needed to get some work with the quarterbacks,” said head coach Chris Ash.
At the center of all of that was true freshman Artur Sitkowski, a 17-year-old early enrollee who should still be in high school. Sitkowski, a four-star recruit from IMG Academy, shined in his Scarlet Knight debut and the Rutgers faithful took notice.
Forming a line fit for a king after the game — three times as long as any other — fans waiting for autographs and pictures got to see their knight in shining armor up close and personal — just as Sitkowski, who grew up a Rutgers fan, did when he was younger.
“It was cool. It’s great to give back to those guys because they do a great job of showing us support and it was awesome. I was just like those kids, waiting for autographs so it was awesome,” Sitkowski said.
Sitkowski finished his day with 11 completions for 280 yards and three touchdowns, highlighted by a 75-yard bomb to sophomore wide receiver Bo Melton.
But even after his strong performance, both he and Ash were quick to point out some of the mistakes he made.
“Goods and bads. Obviously he made some big plays, had some big throws. I think you can see the type of arm he has, but he also made some mistakes, had two picks, threw a pick on a screen then made an ill-advised pass on a third down where he got a pick,” Ash said when asked about Sitkowski’s performance.
Sitkowski echoed those sentiments and knows he has to get better to achieve his ultimate goal.
“Gotta get more consistent. Every day has to be a good day. You don’t got time to waste in college football. We’re starting as the underdog, and everyone is gonna look at us as the underdog," he said.
But after their first time on the field and in front of a crowd, Ash thinks his Knights did a good job, but knows there is a long way to go.
And even though the spring season is over, that doesn’t mean the team can now take a break.
“We made a lot of progress here in the spring, long way to go but I like the progress that we’ve made and the way this team’s come together,” Ash said.
And despite the tie in a contest that doesn’t count for anything, Sitkowski was adamant in how he felt afterward.
“If I didn't throw those two picks, we win the scrimmage. That can't happen. We've got to win games here. It was a tie. It was a tie, man. We've got to win. We've got to win. If we don't win, it's all that matters. We've got to win,” he said
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