No. 17 Rutgers upsets No. 4 Ohio State in Columbus

After losing four straight games against ranked opponents to start the year, Rutgers finally got the big win it needed as it handed Ohio State its first loss of the season at Ohio Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The No. 17 Scarlet Knights (6-4, 1-0) got off to a red hot start, jumping out to a 4-goal lead at the end of the first half. This early offensive push gave Rutgers a vital cushion early on, and it was able to maintain it throughout with physical play and scrappy defense. 

The second and third periods saw the Knights withstand an onslaught from No. 4 Buckeyes (7-1, 0-1), as they were outshot 27 to 13. Rutgers would put the game away in the fourth quarter as it finished on another 5-1 scoring run.

“I was very impressed with their performance all week in practice,” said head coach Brian Brecht. “We had a great week in practice, and I thought the guys were laser focused and locked in.”

The Knights didn’t really control the game, as they were outshot by a margin of 45-36, but made up for it by shooting the ball very efficiently at a 38 percent rate. As usual, it was attacks junior Kieran Mullins and sophomore Adam Charalambides leading the charge for Rutgers. 

Mullins lead the team with 4 goals and four assists and Charalambides added on a hat trick.

Another rising star for the Knights is sophomore attacker Ryan Gallagher, who had 2 goals and three assists and served as another efficient scoring option on an already-stacked attacking unit. Gallagher is currently third on the team with 12 goals and 11 assists through 10 games.

“I thought we had a great week of practice, and my linemates did a great job of setting each other up,” Gallagher said.

Rutgers was at a disadvantage in the face-off game, winning only 5 of 17 of its face-offs on the day. Despite these struggles, it was still able to get extra possessions by playing stifling defense, holding Ohio State to only 6 goals on 45 shots. 

A key for the Knights was forcing turnovers from the Buckeyes' defense, as they finished with a 17-12 turnover margin.

But the biggest obstacle for Ohio State was fifth-year senior goalie Max Edelmann, who had another solid outing in this one, finishing with 17 saves on 23 shots on goal. Edelmann was coming off an 18-save performance against Hofstra the previous week, and is currently leading the nation with 16 saves per game.

“We did a good job of sticking to our gameplan and focusing on ourselves,” Edelmann said. “I'm really proud of our guys (and how they) used their hands and pushed (their attackers) into the positions we wanted them to.”

For Rutgers, the challenge now is to maintain its high level of play through the final four games, starting at No. 18 Johns Hopkins next Saturday. Only four teams qualify for the Big Ten Tournament, and the tough conference schedule means that every game is a must-win for the Knights.

“The Big Ten is a bear,” Brecht said. “There’s gonna be a great challenge to prepare every week for us, so we just need to execute for the 60 minutes on game day.”

For updates on the Rutgers men's lacrosse team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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