Rutgers football: Three takeaways from 30-0 loss at Iowa

A.J. Epenesa, Iowa Hawkeyes. (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)
A.J. Epenesa, Iowa Hawkeyes. (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images) /

The Rutgers football team got a reality check Saturday afternoon in Iowa City, IA in a 27-0 loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes. Here are our takeaways from the game.

It was not a good day for the Rutgers football program, Saturday afternoon at the University of Iowa. The Hawkeyes got off to an early 7-0 lead, 2:42 into the game when they exploited a Rutgers blown coverage resulting in a Nate Stanley pass to Ihmir Smith-Marsette for a 55-yard scoring pass. It remained that way until Iowa scored another TD at the 7:47 mark of the second quarter. It went downhill from there.

RU’s offense, to put it nicely, was completely inept. They had 125 total yards of offense, including 41 with the pass. That’s not a type-o, three different quarterbacks really combined for 41 yards through the air. Rutgers went three-and-out, eight different times, not including a two-play drive that ended in a fumble. Here are our three takeaways from the game.

Can anyone here throw the football?

Quarterback McLane Carter went from Dr. Jeckyll against UMass in the opener, to Mr. Hyde a week later at Iowa. The graduate senior couldn’t complete a pass. Several times he missed wide-open receivers in situations that could have changed the complexion of the game in the first half. He ended his day five-of-15 for 22 yards and a pick.

Head coach Chris Ash made a change at the half. Sophomore Artur Sitkowski, last year’s starter, took over behind center. As hard as it is to believe, Sitkowski was just as bad or worse than Carter. He once again looked like a deer in the headlights, connecting on four-of-11 pass attempts for 19 yards with one pass completed to the other team.

Redshirt freshman Johnny Langan came in for the final series. He fumbled the ball at the end of a four-yard rush on his second play.

Defense gives hope

They gave up 30 points, but it wasn’t all their fault. Rutgers offense held the ball for just over 22 minutes and had so many three-and-outs, the D had no time to rest. Eventually, the Scarlet Knights defenders wore down, but coordinator Andy Buh’s unit wasn’t seriously overshadowed by Iowa.

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Aside from the blown coverage mentioned earlier, and defensive back Damon Hayes struggles with Haykeyes receivers, RU’s defense looked they belonged on the same field with Iowa. If you want to measure Rutgers defense against Iowa there are two areas in which the Knights need to improve to reach the same level. First, Rutgers has to stop beating themselves with mental mistakes and bad penalties. Second, the starting unit is Big-10 quality, but the Scarlet Knights don’t have enough depth to play a full ga.e against a good Big 10 tea,

Sign that punter

When a team’s punter is their game MVP, it’s a very bad sign. Punter Adam Korsak pulled off a trifecta of kicking excellence. His punts were far, high, and accurate, pinning Iowa deep in their own end several times. Korsak’s ability to flip the field is a weapon for the Scarlet Knights going forward. On the day, Rutgers punter had 476 yards on 10 attempts with a long of 69. Iowa only managed to return two of his punts for 11 yards.

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The Scarlet Knights should put up a much better fight against Boston College next Saturday.