Rutgers wrecked again by No. 4 Ohio State

Coming off its first season opening win in three years, the Rutgers football team traveled to Columbus, Ohio for its first away game of the season. 

The Scarlet Knights (1-1, 0-1) faced an early tough test in No. 4 Ohio State (2-0, 1-0) on Saturday afternoon, but couldn’t recreate its success from last weekend, losing to the Buckeyes 52-3.

This was also head coach Chris Ash’s second time visiting his former stomping grounds since taking over Rutgers’ coaching duties back in 2016.

Here are some takeaways from the Knights' tough day in Ohio:

Sitkowski goes down, exits at halftime

The most pressing issue by far for Rutgers is the health of true freshman quarterback Artur Sitkowski, who was making just his second start of his career and his first on the road. On the final play of the second half, Ohio State’s star defensive end Nick Bosa — a 6-foot-4-inch, 263-pound projected top 5 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft by multiple outlets — beat his man on the line and sacked Sitkowski for a 10-yard loss. Sitkowski was hurt on the play and had to have his throwing arm held by a trainer as the teams headed into the locker rooms. Fifth-year senior Giovanni Rescigno came out for the Knights in the second half and finished the game off.

Having Sitkowski down in his first game against a Big Ten opponent — and a highly ranked one at that — doesn’t look great for a Rutgers team looking to prove itself worthy of having joined such a respected conference. In his only half of play, Sitkowski threw 6-18 for just 38 yards and added another interception to his resume — making it four in six quarters of play. Rescigno didn’t have a great showing either in his first time on the field this season, throwing 5-12 for 27 yards and an interception.

Three year drought finally ends

Possibly the only bright spot from this absolute demolition of a game is that the Knights finally put points on the board against the Buckeyes for the first time in Ash’s time on the Scarlet side of the sidelines. Sophomore Justin Davidovicz kicked in a 41-yard field goal for Rutgers in the third quarter to give the Knights their first points in the series since scoring 1 touchdown against Ohio State back in 2015 — a game they still lost 49-7. Even so, it is at the very least a nice tidbit to an otherwise horrible game.

Rutgers’ defense stayed back in Piscataway

The final doesn’t come as a surprise to most and those checking Saturday’s college football scores on ESPN probably wouldn’t blink as they came across this score. But, something has got to change at some point. 

The Knights gave up 7 touchdowns and a field goal this weekend, a far cry from last Saturday’s 35-7 win over Texas State. The Buckeyes put up 579 total yards compared to Rutgers’ 134. Probably the most shocking stat of the night comes in the running game. Ohio State’s leading rusher on the day was its backup quarterback Tate Martell, who ran for 95 yards and a touchdown — while also throwing a perfect 10-10 for 121 yards and a touchdown. 

With another 52 points added to the board, the Buckeyes have now outscored the Knights 166-3 during Ash’s tenure as head coach.

Rutgers will have an opportunity to bounce back next weekend, as it stays on the road and heads west to face Kansas—who just secured its first road win since 2009. 

“We made a lot of mistakes. They took advantage of those mistakes, capitalized on them, and you just can’t do that against good teams,” Ash said after the game.

For updates on the Rutgers football team, follow @cgreen204 and @TargumSports on Twitter.

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