Location: Piscataway, New Jersey
2017 Record: 4-8 (3-6 Big Ten)
Head Coach: Chris Ash
2018 Record: 1-3 (0-1 Big Ten)
All-time record vs. Ohio State: 0-5
What has happened thus far in 2018:
Rutgers entered the 2018 season with low expectations due to a lackluster offense, though the defense played relatively well. The Scarlet Knights started the 2018 season with a 35-7 win against Texas State, but has proceeded to get outscored 149-30 in three consecutive losses, including a 52-3 loss to Ohio State on Sept. 8 in the team’s Big Ten opener.
Offensively, the bright spots are few and far between, but one player who could break out this season is sophomore running back Raheem Blackshear. Last year, Blackshear averaged 6.1 yards per carry and added three touchdowns. This season, Blackshear is up to 264 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 4.8 yards per carry. He was also involved in the passing game last season with 133 receiving yards on seven catches with two touchdowns, and has already racked up 15 catches for 76 yards and a touchdown.
Following last year’s 4-8 record, Chris Ash returns for his third year as head coach of the Scarlet Knights. He’ll have more talent than he’s had in the past, but facing another tough group of opponents in the Big Ten East, it will likely be another disappointing year for Rutgers. However, if anything will help keep his team afloat, it might be the defense. Ash will be returning several key performers, including defensive end Kevin Wilkins, who finished last season with 44 tackles — seven for a loss. He has six tackles this season. Linebacker Tyreek Maddox-Williams returns from an ACL tear and has already racked up 18 tackles this season.
In 2017, Rutgers averaged just 18 points per game, 10th worst in the NCAA. Factoring in a new quarterback and a young offense, the issues for the Scarlet Knights will mostly come on the offensive side of the ball. Their lack of offensive production and tough schedule makes the outlook for the new season similar to last year’s. So far at quarterback, Artur Sitkowski has completed just 48.8 percent of his passes for 329 total passing yards. He also has just one touchdown and seven interceptions. The backup to start the year, Giovanni Rescigno has been a marginal improvement, with a 50 percent completion rating without a touchdown pass and an interception.