Rutgers quarterback situation looking scary early on
Fresh off of its first loss of the season, the Rutgers football team flew into Kansas looking to get its season back on track against arguably one of the worst football teams — at least record wise — since 2009.
What the Scarlet Knights (1-2, 0-1) got instead was a complete beatdown from start to finish and secured themselves as the winners of the infamous “toilet bowl.”
Here are some takeaways from the brutal loss:
Simply too many turnovers
Rutgers finished the game with not one, not two but six turnovers — almost half of the amount of its first downs (14). It felt like almost every drive was handed right back. Three of those six turnovers were directly attributed to true freshman quarterback Artur Sitkowski, who finished the day 7-19 with 47 yards, to go along with his three interceptions — two of which were brought back to the end zone for a pick 6. In his early career, Sitkowski has now thrown seven interceptions and just 1 touchdown in just eight and a half quarters of play.
But Sitkowski wasn’t the only one at fault. His offensive captain, fifth-year senior Giovanni Rescigno, came into the game midway through the third quarter and promptly fumbled a snap resulting in a turnover on his second play on the field. Earlier in the game, sophomore running back Raheem Blackshear and graduate student running back Jonathan Hilliman each had a fumble apiece. If the Knights want to have a fighting chance this year, they have to take care of the football.
Where is our Knight in shining armor?
At the beginning of the season, head coach Chris Ash announced that Sitkowski had outdueled Rescigno and earned the starting spot at quarterback. It signaled a new era for Rutgers — one of hope and wonder. Sitkowski, a four-star recruit from Old Bridge, New Jersey who grew up always wanting to play for the Knights, was supposed to be the "chosen one" to lead this once elite program back to the top. But three games in for Rutgers, Sitkowski has looked less like the savior and more like a sheep.
Three games is still way too early to define a quarterback, but it makes you wonder whether Sitkowski should be starting this year with a fifth-year senior and captain sitting on the bench, especially in a season that the team expected to be competitive in. Sitkowski is young and these growing pains are to be expected, but if he and the Knights don’t get it together soon, it might be time to hit the panic button.
Defense lacking early
For the second straight week, the Rutgers defense allowed more than 50 points in a game. Sure, one of those was on the road against No. 4 Ohio State, but nobody in the world outside of Kansas thought that the Jayhawks would score more than 50 points — just ask Las Vegas.
What was a strength for most of the season last year has now turned into the Knights’ biggest bugaboo and if they can’t even contain Kansas, it might end up being a long season.
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