Homecoming Day Win is Back To Back Big Ten Victories for Rutgers
A month ago, there was no way anyone would have said Rutgers can win multiple Big Ten games. Well, things have changed. Rutgers football did the impossible, they have won back to back Big Ten games. On homecoming, Rutgers beat Purdue in a hard fought 14-12 victory in which the defense held strong.
Gus Edwards scored on a 74-yard run on Rutgers’ second offensive play and Gio Rescigno threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to halfback Raheem Blackshear in the second half to account for the scoring.
The last time Rutgers won consecutive games was last season when it beat Howard and New Mexico before entering conference play and losing nine straight games. For what its’ worth, Rutgers has a longer winning streak than the defending national champions Clemson.
Rutgers started the season 1-4 and went into its bye week after a 56-0 shellacking at the hands of Ohio State. The season was on the brink of no return and fans had a right to be legitimately concerned that a nightmare 1-11 season was possible. Rutgers was on a 16 game Big Ten losing streak and there were grumblings growing louder that Chris Ash was not going to turn things around. All of a sudden, Rutgers is 2-0 in October and has its first Big Ten winning streak ever in their fourth season in the conference.
“It feels good. I can’t sit here and lie,” Rutgers fifth-year senior guard Dorian Miller said of the winning streak. “Two Big Ten games back-to-back. And like I was saying before, usually those games at home the past couple of years (don’t go our way).”
Coach Ash was asked what changed in the past two weeks and his answer signaled the importance of how hard and long it takes to change the culture in a program.
“You don’t win those games in the last eight days, you just don’t. You win games in the off-season, back of the off-season, spring ball, summer conditioning, training camp. That’s when you win these games. You just don’t want to lose your team during tough times and adversity, and that’s really, I guess, a testament to our players is we have been through some tough times. We didn’t start off great. We were 1 and 4, some close games, some tough losses, and we stayed together, and we kept battling and kept fighting and kept getting better.”
It Wasn’t Pretty But It Was a Rutgers’s Win
Rutgers were dominated on the ground by Purdue. Rutgers defense allowed almost 500 yards against the Boilermakers ,but they made plays when they had to. The Boilermakers reached the red zone three times but had to settle for two field goals. Purdue had 25 first downs and Rutgers had just 8.Purdue won the time of possession battle, 32:06 to 27:54. All of these stats, should of meant a Rutgers loss, but a win is a win.
“I don’t look at them right now. I’m not looking at them.” Coach Ash said after the game. “You can look at them, you can make all the assumptions you want. There’s one that matters today, and we’ve got that W.”
The Season Isn’t Lost For Rutgers
With how well Rutgers are playing, they should be 4-3. That ugly loss to Eastern Michigan is something that will linger all season. Had they won that game, Rutgers would be 4-3 right now , with two winnable games coming up against Maryland and Indiana.
Next Up For Rutgers
Rutgers will head to Ann Arbor, play 19th rank Michigan on Saturday.