Dec 28, 2023; Bronx, NY, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights running back Kyle Monangai (5) celebrates his touchdown against Miami Hurricanes during the second quarter with Rutgers Scarlet Knights wide receiver Isaiah Washington (14) at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers takes down Miami to capture Pinstripe Bowl

Kyle Monangai rushed for 163 yards and a touchdown, Gavin Wimsatt added two short scoring runs and Rutgers rallied in the second half to top Miami 31-24 Thursday in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.

Monangai ripped off a 40-yard run to the 1-yard line early in the fourth quarter that set up Wimsatt’s second 1-yard touchdown sneak with 11:51 remaining in the game, increasing the Scarlet Knights’ advantage to 28-17.

Wimsatt completed 7 of 15 passes for 84 yards for Rutgers (7-6), which beat the Hurricanes for the first time in 12 meetings, dating back to the schools’ time in the Big East Conference. It marked Rutgers’ first bowl victory since 2014.

Miami (7-6) took its only lead with 10:33 left in the third quarter on Jacurri Brown’s 30-yard touchdown pass to Xavier Restrepo. But the Scarlet Knights regained the lead with 5:06 left in the period when Timmy Ward recovered a blocked punt in the end zone.

Brown was 20-of-31 for 181 yards with a touchdown and an interception in his first start. He also ran for two touchdowns, including a 1-yard run with 27 seconds left that got the Hurricanes within seven points.

Miami recovered an onside kick but was stopped on downs at the Rutgers’ 47-yard line with seven seconds remaining.

Rutgers dominated the first quarter and a half behind a physical ground game coupled with a stifling defense. The Scarlet Knights chewed up the game’s first 8:06 with a 75-yard drive that Wimsatt capped with a 1-yard sneak.

Rutgers made it 14-0 at the 7:37 mark of the second quarter on a 7-yard touchdown run by Monangai. Rutgers cashed in a 42-yard field, set up after Abram Wright intercepted Brown.

At that point, Miami, which was outgained 115-5 in the first quarter, decided to join the game.

With the help of consecutive personal fouls on the Scarlet Knights’ Aaron Lewis, the Hurricanes got on the board with Brown’s 7-yard scoring jaunt. Then they drove 73 yards inside the final minute to set up a 35-yard field goal by Andres Borregales as time expired, drawing within 14-10 at halftime.

–Field Level Media

Oct 7, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA;  Rutgers Scarlet Knights quarterback Gavin Wimsatt (2) looks to throw a pass during the second quarter against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers not looking past mistake-prone Michigan State

Rutgers aims to move closer to bowl eligibility when it hosts mistake-prone Michigan State in Big Ten action on Saturday in Piscataway, N.J.

Rutgers (4-2, 1-2) opened league play with a 24-7 win over Northwestern on Sept. 3 and then took a 31-7 loss at No. 2 Michigan on Sept. 23. After rebounding with an easy 52-3 victory over visiting Wagner, the Scarlet Knights underwhelmed in last Saturday’s 24-13 loss at Wisconsin.

Rutgers trailed 17-0 at halftime before Aaron Young caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Evan Simon early in the third quarter. Simon was filling in for Gavin Wimsatt, who threw a 95-yard pick-6 just before halftime and was briefly in the medical tent.

Wimsatt returned to throw an 11-yard TD to Ian Strong late in the fourth and is expected to start Saturday against Michigan State (2-3, 0-2).

Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said his team shouldn’t look past the struggling Spartans despite an upcoming date with No. 3 Ohio State.

“To me, every game is you give it every single thing you’ve got,” Schiano said. “If you start looking at this game is more important than that game, if I coach different against Wagner than I did against Wisconsin, then shame on me, they should get rid of me. The preparation is the same. The attitude’s the same. The focus is the same.

“That’s what professionals do, and that’s what I fully expect from our staff every week. This is a big game. It’s a Big Ten game. They are all big.”

Michigan State has been outscored 98-32 in its three-game losing streak, capped by a 26-16 setback at Iowa in its most recent game on Sept. 30.

The Spartans had a six-point lead early in the third but gave up the final 16 points, including a 70-yard punt return touchdown. Noah Kim was intercepted three times, prompting a potential change at quarterback this week to either Katin Houser or Sam Leavitt.

The Spartans have committed nine turnovers in their past two games and 12 overall.

“We have to cut down on our turnovers,” interim coach Harlon Barnett said. “If we do that, we win the previous two games actually because we outgained them in yards and time of possession but that turnover battle is what got us.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 5, 2022; Champaign, Illinois, USA;  Michigan State Spartans quarterback Payton Thorne (10) passes the ball as Illinois Fighting Illini linebacker Gabe Jacas (17) pressures during the first half at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers, Michigan State battle with bowl hopes in jeopardy

Right now, the math is pretty simple for both Rutgers and Michigan State.

Each team is 4-5 going into a noon kickoff on Saturday at Michigan State in East Lansing, Mich., so the Scarlet Knights and Spartans know it will take two wins in their last three games to gain bowl eligibility.

The loser on Saturday will have to win its last two games to become bowl-eligible, so the incentive will be great for each squad despite their place at or near the bottom of the Big Ten East standings.

Host Michigan State is coming off its best performance of the year, where it earned a 23-15 win at then-No. 16 Illinois.

It was a resilient performance given the Spartans suspended eight players following a fight in the tunnel after a 29-7 loss to Michigan the week before and had to rely on more youngsters than desired to fill key roles.

The win gave a jolt to a Michigan State team that had lost five of six games following a 2-0 start, but Spartans coach Mel Tucker wasn’t in the mood to talk about bowl eligibility on Monday.

“We don’t need to talk about winning out and bowl eligibility and things like that,” Tucker said. “We need to focus on what it takes to prepare to be in a position to win games.”

On the other side, Rutgers comes in reeling following a 52-17 home loss to Michigan, a game that saw the Scarlet Knights outscored 38-0 in the second half after leading 17-14 at halftime.

Rutgers started off the year 3-0 but has since lost five of six games.

But Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said after the Michigan game that he sees progress.

“We couldn’t have done what we did in the first half back in September,” Schiano said. “We’ve definitely gotten better. Just not good enough to beat that team. But we’re getting better. There’s no doubt about that.”

Rutgers will continue to start Gavin Wimsatt at quarterback after he went 14 of 29 for 166 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions against Michigan. He has a 43.5 percent completion rate this season with two touchdowns and six picks.

The Spartans are led by Payton Thorne, who has completed 64.4 percent of his throws for 1,896 yards, 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Michigan State won last year’s meeting at Rutgers, 31-13.

–Field Level Media

Oct 7, 2022; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights quarterback Noah Vedral (0) scores a rushing touchdown during the first half against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at SHI Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Casey Thompson guides Nebraska’s comeback at Rutgers

Casey Thompson threw two second-half touchdown passes and Nebraska rallied from down 13 at the half to beat Rutgers 14-13 in a Big Ten Conference game on Friday night in Piscataway, N.J.

Thompson’s 27-yard touchdown pass to Trey Palmer with 8:54 left was the game-winner. The score came one play after Myles Farmer intercepted Rutgers quarterback Evan Simon, who was picked off three times in the second half.

After throwing two interceptions in the first half, Thompson finished with 232 yards on 24-of-36 passing to help Nebraska (3-3, 2-1 Big Ten) snap a 10-game skid in one-score games.

Down 13-0 at the half, Nebraska got on the board with a 7-yard touchdown catch by tight end Travis Vokolek, who began his career at Rutgers. The Cornhuskers converted a fourth-and-2 from the Rutgers 26 earlier in the drive.

The Nebraska defense held Rutgers (3-3, 0-3) to 85 yards in the second half after allowing 263 in the opening half. The Scarlet Knights had one last chance, getting the ball at their own 20-yard line with 1:03 to go, but Simon was intercepted by Malcolm Hartzog near midfield three plays later.

Rutgers scored on its opening possession for the third consecutive game, with quarterback Noah Vedral running for a 21-yard touchdown. Vedral, who played for Nebraska in 2018 and ’19, had 160 yards of total offense but connected on just 6 of 15 passes.

Simon was 6 of 15 for 100 yards and three interceptions.

A blocked punt by the Scarlet Knights’ Max Melton set up a Jude McAtamney 25-yard field goal late in the first quarter, putting Rutgers up 10-0. McAtamney added a 40-yard field goal midway through the second quarter for a 13-0 edge.

Melton also had one of Rutgers’ two interceptions in the first half.

Nebraska snapped a six-game losing streak in road or neutral-site games, temporarily moving into sole possession of first place in the Big Ten’s West Division. Rutgers absorbed its 21st consecutive home loss in conference play.

The Cornhuskers remain on the road when they visit Purdue on Oct. 15, while Rutgers has a bye before hosting Indiana on Oct. 22.

–Field Level Media

Oct 1, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA;  Rutgers Scarlet Knights quarterback Evan Simon (3) runs with the ball as Ohio State Buckeyes defensive tackle Taron Vincent (6) closes in for the tackle during the second quarter at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers’ underwhelming offense meets Nebraska’s last-place defense

The Big Ten Conference slate begins a day earlier this week when Nebraska visits Rutgers on Friday night in Piscataway, N.J.

The visiting Cornhuskers (2-3, 1-1) have won all five meetings in the series, most recently a Dec. 18, 2020, victory on the road. That was the last time Nebraska won a game outside of Lincoln, dropping six straight away from home since then.

Nebraska is coming off a 35-21 home win over Indiana, snapping a nine-game skid against FBS opponents. It marked the first victory for interim coach Mickey Joseph, who took over after Scott Frost was fired three games into the season.

“Indiana was one game,” Joseph said. “The sign of a good team is who can move forward and get to the next one.”

Rutgers (3-2, 0-2) has had a rough start to conference play after going unbeaten before Big Ten competition. On Saturday, the Scarlet Knights fell 49-10 at Ohio State after losing 27-10 at home to Iowa the week before.

The Knights have scored only 58 points in four games against FBS competition and are second-worst in the Big Ten in total offense (1,656 yards).

“Some of it’s coaching, some of it’s playing, some of it’s execution,” Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said. “We’re working on it, though. We’re going to be OK.”

Nebraska, which is last in the Big Ten in scoring defense (32.6 points per game) and total defense (2,346 yards), held Indiana to 290 yards last week in the first game since Bill Busch took over as defensive coordinator. Rutgers had only 187 yards of offense at Ohio State and is averaging just 267.8 against FBS competition.

Rutgers quarterback Evan Simon is last in the Big Ten in passing yardage at 640 yards, while Nebraska’s Casey Thompson is a respectable sixth place with 1,265 yards, just behind Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, a Heisman Trophy favorite.

Despite its early-season woes, Nebraska would take sole possession of the Big Ten’s West Division for one night with a victory. The Cornhuskers are currently in a six-way tie for the top spot with its 1-1 conference record. The seventh team, Wisconsin, is 0-2 in league action.

–Field Level Media

Sep 3, 2022; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights tight end Johnny Langan (21) runs the ball during the second half against the Boston College Eagles at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers using quarterback-by-committee approach vs. Wagner

No starting quarterback last week for Rutgers? No problem.

Rutgers will look to win a second consecutive game to open the season Saturday afternoon, when the Scarlet Knights are scheduled to host Wagner in Piscataway, N.J.

The Scarlet Knights overcame their own quarterback uncertainty and a nine-point second half deficit last Saturday to stun host Boston College, 22-21. Wagner, a Football Championship Subdivision squad, fell to visiting Fordham, 48-31, in an FCS duel last Thursday.

With projected starting signal-caller Noah Vedral out with an upper body injury, Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano mixed and matched at quarterback — where three different players took snaps on the opening drive — and relied on the running game to mount the comeback against Boston College.

Evan Simon, Gavin Wimsatt and Aron Cruickshank combined to go 13-of-22 for 110 yards and no touchdowns. Another player who lined up at quarterback, converted tight end Johnny Langan, didn’t attempt a pass.

“I wish I could say to you that it’s all planned with this many plays for this guy, but I don’t usually do that,” Schiano said. “We have a plan to start the game, but you never know. Every game is its own story.”

The Scarlet Knights rushed for 212 yards, including all 96 yards on the game-winning fourth-quarter touchdown drive. Al-Shadee Salaam capped the march with consecutive rushes of 23 and 22 yards to give Rutgers its only lead of the game.

The Scarlet Knights are looking to open 2-0 for the second straight season. They started last year 3-0 before finishing the regular season at 5-7 and eventually accepting an invitation to the Gator Bowl against Wake Forest as a last-minute replacement for Texas A&M.

Wagner, which plays in the Northeast Conference, enters Saturday on a 21-game losing streak. The Seahawks’ most recent win was a 24-14 victory over Long Island University on Sept. 28, 2019.

Wagner head coach Tom Masella has been optimistic since training camp began with 144 players. The Seahawks, who lost three games by 10 points or fewer last season, led Fordham 28-20 midway through the third quarter before the Rams scored 28 unanswered points.

“All these things are a positive compared to where we were a year ago,” Masella told the Staten Island Advance in late August. “It doesn’t get bad overnight and you don’t rebuild it overnight.”

Wagner was picked to finish tied for sixth with Long Island in the eight-team Northeast Conference.

Though the schools are located fewer than 30 miles apart and have both been playing football continuously since Wagner — located on Staten Island — began playing the sport in 1927, Saturday’s game marks the first between the programs.

–Field Level Media

Nov 27, 2021; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA;  Boston College Eagles quarterback Phil Jurkovec (5) looks for an open receiver during the second half against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Phil Jurkovec looks to return to form as BC hosts Rutgers

Excitement is in the air as Boston College hosts Rutgers for Saturday’s season opener in Chestnut Hill, Mass.

The Eagles are the only team in the ACC returning a quarterback with 3,000 career passing yards (Phil Jurkovec), a running back with 1,000 rushing yards (Pat Garwo) and a receiver with 1,000 receiving yards (Zay Flowers).

Jurkovec missed seven games last season due to a freak hand injury. He ended the year with just 914 passing yards, seven touchdowns and four interceptions but the redshirt senior is still considered to be one of the top signal-callers available in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Third-year head coach Jeff Hafley’s club is excited to take on the first challenge.

“With a Big Ten team and a really hard road game (at Virginia Tech) to start the season, I think you (saw) a little more sense of urgency from everyone,” Hafley said of the later stages of training camp.

Despite its explosive returning players, there is a new look to BC’s offense with coordinator John McNulty and offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo in their first seasons.

BC was ranked 28th nationally in total defense in 2021 and returns its top four tacklers from last year’s 6-6 team.

Meanwhile, Rutgers has not named a starting quarterback. Senior Noah Vedral’s 1,823 passing yards last year were the most by a Scarlet Knight since 2015.

“I think they all had good training camps,” Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said. “We’re going to do whatever it takes to win. I don’t know how many (quarterbacks) you’ll see.”

Rutgers started 3-0 before finishing 5-8 last year.

The two sides are well-connected despite being separated as Big East rivals in 2004.

Hafley coached under Schiano at Rutgers in 2011 before the two worked together with the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the following two years.

Three of Hafley’s assistants also spent time at Rutgers.

“There’s a lot of good friends on that sideline,” Schiano said. “I’m really proud of Jeff. I knew Jeff would be a head coach. … It will be a little strange because I care about those guys, but when you’re playing in a game, you’re competing and trying to win.”

“I’m sure (seeing Schiano before the game) will be a little emotional for me,” Hafley said, “but then we’ll put the headsets on, it’s time to play. I can’t say enough about him.”

The Eagles have won 11 straight games in a series that hasn’t been contested in Massachusetts since 2004.

–Field Level Media

Sep 4, 2021; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights quarterback Noah Vedral (0) hands off to running back Aaron Young (4) during the second half against the Temple Owls at SHI Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Unbeaten Rutgers chasing improved offense vs. Delaware

For the first time since 2014, Rutgers is off to a 2-0 start even though its results on offense are not necessarily indicative of its record.

Ranked near or at the bottom nationally of several major offensive categories, the Scarlet Knights hope to display an improved ability to move the ball and remain unbeaten Saturday afternoon when they host FCS foe Delaware in Piscataway, N.J.

Rutgers (2-0) is seeking its first 3-0 start since winning the first seven games of the 2012 season in coach Kyle Flood’s debut season after Greg Schiano’s first stint. The Scarlet Knights are unbeaten despite ranking 129th in yards per completion, 118th in total offense, tied for 114th in third-down conversion, tied for 98th in red zone offense and 93rd in rushing offense.

In the season opener, Rutgers cruised to a 61-14 win over Temple despite getting 365 total yards offense, and in Saturday’s 17-7 win at Syracuse, offense was significantly more difficult to come by. Against Syracuse, the Scarlet Knights totaled 195 yards on offense, converted 3 of 15 third downs and did not score until Kyle Monangai’s 11-yard TD run with 6:46 left in the third quarter.

Quarterback Noah Vedral completed 22 of 28 passes for 145 yards and a go-ahead touchdown later in the third quarter.

“I actually thought Noah did exactly what he needed to do,” Schiano said. “He needed to come here and play a clean game, and he really did do that.”

Delaware (2-0) is ranked sixth in the STATS Perform FCS poll, made the FCS semifinals last season and was picked second in the Colonial Athletic Association preseason poll. The Fightin’ Blue Hens followed up a 34-24 win at Maine with a 27-10 win over St. Francis (PA) when Nolan Henderson completed 18 of 23 passes for 259 yards.

“Delaware was one of the best (four) teams in the whole country last year — that’s why they played (in the semifinals),” Schiano said. “As you watch them, they’re a good football team. They have good players on offense, good players on defense and good players in the kicking game. We understand exactly what Delaware is.”

Delaware is 0-9 against FBS opponents since Joe Flacco led a 59-52 win at Navy in 2007. In 2019, Delaware held a lead into the fourth quarter in a 17-14 loss at Pittsburgh.

“College football is a beautiful thing,” Blue Hens coach Danny Rocco said. “On any given Saturday, you just start all over every week.”

Saturday is the 32nd meeting between the schools but first since 1973.

–Field Level Media

Sep 11, 2021; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange wide receiver Trebor Pena (29) goes to recover a muffed punt return as Rutgers Scarlet Knights defensive back Max Melton (16) and Rutgers Scarlet Knights long snapper Billy Taylor (47) come in during the second quarter at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers wins defensive battle vs. Syracuse

Defensive back Max Melton forced a pair of turnovers as visiting Rutgers did enough in the second half to record a 17-7 victory over host Syracuse on Saturday afternoon.

The Scarlet Knights improved to 2-0 for the first time since 2014 – their first season in the Big Ten and most recent appearance in a bowl game.

Rutgers eventually got enough done in a game in which neither team scored until there was 6:46 remaining in the third quarter. The teams were a combined 5-for-29 on third downs.

After guiding eight scoring drives in last week’s 61-14 rout of Temple, Noah Vedral (22 of 28 for 145 yards, touchdown) guided three scoring drives that resulted in points being scored in different ways.

Kyle Monangai scored on an 11-yard touchdown for the game’s first points and Vedral connected with Jovani Haskins for a 30-yard TD in the final seconds of the third. Valentino Ambrosio made a 27-yard field goal for Rutgers’ final points.

Melton blocked a punt in the first half and then sealed the win with an interception with 41 seconds left.

Syracuse (1-1, 0-0 ACC) was unable to do much offensively — no matter who it used as quarterback.

Tommy Devito completed 15 of 26 passes for 149 yards while Garret Shrader played two series in the first half. He was 4-of-6 for 42 yards.

Taj Harris finished with eight receptions for 122 yards and Sean Tucker rushed for 54 yards and a TD. The Orange maintained possession for only 24:04.

Syracuse missed two chances to score the game’s first points in the final minute of the first half. On first-and-10 from the Rutgers 38, Shrader’s pass to an open Courtney Jackson was incomplete. Right before halftime, Andre Szmyt missed a 43-yard field goal with nine seconds left.

After Syracuse coach Dino Babers was assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, Monangai gave Rutgers a 7-0 lead with 6:46 remaining. On the ensuing drive, Devito completed a 51-yard pass to Harris to set up Tucker’s game-tying 24-yard score with 5:54 remaining.

The Scarlet Knights regained the lead at 14-7 with 24 seconds left when Vedral found a wide open Haskins up the middle for a 30-yard TD.

Immediately after Ambrosio’s miss, Devito was stripped in the pocket by Mayan Ahanotu and the fumble was recovered by CJ Onyechi at the Syracuse 10. A little over two minutes later, Ambrosio booted a 27-yard field goal for a 17-7 lead.

–Field Level Media

Nov 7, 2020; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields (1) throws during the first quarter against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

No. 3 Ohio State finally puts away Rutgers

Justin Fields went 24 of 28 passing for 314 yards and five touchdowns and also rushed for a score as No. 3 Ohio State defeated Rutgers 49-27 in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday.

Fields did the bulk of his damage in the first half with three of his scoring passes and his touchdown run as the Buckeyes (3-0 overall, 3-0 Big Ten) built a 35-7 lead to spoil the return head coach Greg Schiano, the Buckeyes’ defensive coordinator for former coach Urban Meyer.

Schiano pulled out all the stops.

Rutgers (1-2, 1-2) had a lateral pass on the opening kickoff that worked for 29 yards, and the Scarlet Knights were within 7-3 after the first quarter, but Fields scored on a 7-yard run six seconds into the second quarter.

Ohio State coach Ryan Day unleashed some trickery as well, and it contributed to score. Later in the second quarter, running back Steele Chambers took a direct snap on a fake punt and ran 22 yards to set up a 6-yard touchdown catch by Chris Olave to widen the lead to 21-7.

Fields followed with an 8-yard touchdown to Garrett Wilson, and Master Teague rushed for a 9-yard score to complete the first-half scoring.

The Scarlet Knights used more deception in the third quarter to make it 35-9.

Tailback Isaih Pacheco set it up when he took a snap and raced 66 yards to the 4, and on the next play offensive tackle Raiqwon O’Neal caught a backward toss and ran for a 4-yard TD. The two-point conversion failed, as did the ensuing onside kick.

Ohio State came back right away, as Field threw his fourth touchdown pass, for 7 yards to Jeremy Ruckert, to make it 42-9 with 4:49 left in the third quarter.

But with the score 42-15, Rutgers’ Aron Cruickshank fielded a punt and threw the ball across the field to Bo Melton and he ran 58 yards to make it 42-22 with 12:46 left in the game.

Fields answered with a 33-yard TD to Olave less than two minutes later.

Both teams are home on Nov. 14 when Ohio State plays at Maryland and Rutgers hosts Illinois.

–Field Level Media