2. KEYS TO THE SEASON
Biggest Key To The Rutgers Offense
The passing game has to do something. The running backs are good enough to shine if the blocking is there, but they also need defenses to not tee off against the ground game. That only happens if the passing game isn’t the least efficient in college football.
The Scarlet Knights completed just 49% of their passes for 1,586 yards with five touchdowns and 22 picks, bottoming out with a 2-for-17, eight-yard, five-interception day against Maryland. The emergence of Artur Sitkowski into a more accurate pass is a must, but the receivers have to help the cause.
Biggest Key To The Rutgers Defense
The pass rush has to be better, especially on third downs. The Scarlet Knights only came up with 16 sacks and never seemed to generate any pressure when needed. The defense was 124th in the nation at third down stops, allowing teams to convert a whopping 48.7% of the time – it allowed 50% of more six times.
It all tied together – the offense didn’t do anything, the defense couldn’t get off the field, and the whole machine consistently broke down.
Key Player To A Successful Season
QB Artur Sitkowski, Soph.
He’s got 6-5, 224-pound size, he’s got an arm, and he’s got enough talent to eventually grow into a solid Big Ten starter. But after throwing four touchdown passes and 18 picks, Rutgers has to get better play out of its quarterback.
He had a good enough spring to solidify the starting position, and it’s all freshmen behind him. He’s it. He’s the starter. He’s the guy the offense will sink or swim with, at least for this season. The line will give him time to work, and the running backs are there to help. Now he has to be better.
Key Game To The Rutgers Season
at Iowa, Sept. 7
It’s only the second time in the history of the two schools that they’ve met – Iowa won 14-7 in 2016. This time, it’s the Big Ten opener, and it’s on the first weekend of September – this is when Rutgers has to show have things have improved and changed.
Iowa will almost certainly win, but it’s more about being competitive for Rutgers. Last season it came up with a few moral victories and close calls, but it was usually because the other side couldn’t do anything offensively. For an offense that failed to score more than 17 points in the final 11 games of the season, merely getting the O going in Iowa City will be enough.
– Rutgers Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
2018 Rutgers Fun Stats
– 3rd Quarter Scoring: Opponents 68 – Rutgers 16
– Touchdowns Scored: Opponents 49 – Rutgers 19
– Interceptions Thrown: Rutgers 22 – Opponents 9