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Wisconsin Crushes Rutgers 48-10, RU Falls to 3-5

Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood / Rutgers at Wisconsin (Ben Solomon Photo) /

Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood / Rutgers at Wisconsin (Ben Solomon Photo) /

The horror continues.

On Halloween afternoon, a Wisconsin defense that came in as one of the tops in the country, gave up only three of Rutgers’ 10 points in a 48-10 blowout at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, WI in front of 74,575.

With the defeat, Rutgers falls to 3-5 and 1-4 in the Big Ten.

Rutgers heads to Michigan next Saturday for a 3:30 p.m. kick and faces a team that might have a better defense than the Badgers (7-2, 4-1) featuring East Orange, N.J. native and Paramus Catholic/Don Bosco Prep product in Jabrill Peppers.

Aside from a 13-play, 55-yard drive early in the first quarter on their second possession of the game that resulted a field goal, the offense, behind redshirt sophomore quarterback Chris Laviano couldn’t muster anything, tallying just 165 total yards to Wisconsin’s 426. All 55 yards on the drive came on 11 rushes, with the passing game non-existent all game.

Without star senior wide receiver Leonte Carroo who sat out with an ankle injury, Laviano completed only 4-of-14 passes for 31 yards and an interception. Backup Hayden Rettig came on in the fourth quarter, passing for 51 yards on 2-of-6 attempts including a 49-yard bomb to wide receiver Carlton Agudosi.

With Rutgers down 27-3 at halftime, and 41-10 entering the fourth, one might wonder why Rettig didn’t get in the game sooner.

“Chris is our starting quarterback and we are trying to give him enough opportunities to learn through the game,” head coach Kyle Flood said postgame. “If the opportunity is there to give Hayden some experience, we’ll do that. We did it again this week like we did last week.”

Flood says the objective every week is to go “1-0” but leaving Laviano and other struggling players in there was questionable.

“If we felt like a personnel change would’ve been the difference today, we would’ve made one,” Flood said. “I don’t think Chris got a lot of help. I don’t think the protection was great. We ran the ball effectively on one drive in the game and then sporadically through the rest of the game.”

The running game took center state as Josh Hicks (15 carries for 72 yards) had the only productive day, but fell victim to the running back rotation. Robert Martin (9-for-21) and Paul James (6-for-16) struggled on the ground.

Redshirt freshman cornerback Blessuan Austin, who missed last week’s contest against Ohio State, came back against the Badgers (although Jarius Adams still got the start) and nabbed an interception with 3:01 left in the third quarter and took it to the house for a 50-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to 34-10. However, Wisconsin added two more touchdowns thereafter.

Linebacker Kaiwan Lewis added an interception as well for the Scarlet Knights.

Wisconsin RB Corey Clement runs for a TD against Rutgers on October 31, 2015 /  (AP Photo/Andy Manis)

Wisconsin RB Corey Clement runs for a TD against Rutgers on October 31, 2015 / (AP Photo/Andy Manis)

Former teammate of Paul James at Glassboro High School in Glassboro, N.J., running back Corey Clement came back in style after missing the past seven games with a sports hernia to rush for 115 yards and three easy touchdowns on only 11 carries. Another Jersey product, do-it-all safety/wide receiver/quarterback Tanner McEvoy added a touchdown on the ground on one-of-his two carries, a sack, and a right place at the right time interception where the ball bounced off James’ head right into the arms of McEvoy down the sideline in the second quarter.

Wisconsin receiver Alex Erickson led the team with six catches for 103 yards and a touchdown.

The past two seasons against the Badgers, Rutgers has been outscored 85-10, including a shutout a year ago 37-0 on Homecoming.

Redshirt senior linebacker Quentin Gause led the Scarlet Knights on defense with 15 total tackles, including six solo and two tackles for loss.

With Rutgers sitting at 3-5 with four games remaining, their bowl hopes are dwindling. They have a tough matchup next week in Ann Arbor, MI against the Wolverines, and then get an easier stretch against Nebraska (3-6, 1-4) at home, Army (2-6) away, and Maryland (2-6, 0-4) to round out the regular season at home. As it stands, those teams combined own a  7-17 record.

“You can’t put your focus on that,” Flood said regarding trying to become bowl eligible for a 10th time in the past 11 years. “Any focus on that is going to detract from what our job is, which is to do everything we can to be 1-0 next week. That’s what we’re going to do.

“The Wisconsin season is over. We don’t get to play this game again. We need to make the corrections, we need to look at the film, we need to evaluate everything.

“From the coaching, to the playing, everything needs to be evaluated. But then you have to get ready for the next game. Because that clock’s ticking.”


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