b Rutgers Fans, the Big Ten opener against Iowa was a good test of optimism. If the Scarlet Knights hadn’t scored 14 points on the Hawkeyes, they could have summed up this loss perfectly by pointing out that they would have had a chance to win.

Or, if you’re so inclined, you can pay attention to it, you know. The whole point-14-point-for-the-Hawkeyes thing.

Final score: Iowa 27, Rutgers 10.

Actual score: Rutgers 14, Iowa 13, Rutgers 10.

It’s not all that complicated, folks. Rutgers is not a program that can make any mistakes and expect to win a game against a strong Big Ten program like Iowa. Two mistakes that end up in their own end zone? Just forget about it.

This was a huge missed opportunity for the Scarlet Knights. The night began with an announced crowd of 53,117, with most fans in their seats as FS1 turned on the cameras for a national audience. With a predictably empty stadium and few Iowa fans – is there any other kind? – “Hawks let’s go!” chant as the visiting team celebrates another ugly victory.

Rutgers still couldn’t get out of its own way offensively. Fans can point that out. Sean Gleason, the offensive coordinator turned the message board into a piñata, but execution was the biggest problem in this game. Rutgers is 8-0 without a turnover since 2020, which is why head coach Greg Schiano took a conservative approach with wins over Boston College and Temple.

But playing close to the vest when there was a chance to outscore a much better opponent 4-0 was ineffective. With Rutgers ahead 3-0, Evan Simmons’ pass was intercepted by Iowa linebacker Cooper DeJen and returned 44 yards. Then, in the second quarter, Iowa safety Kaevon Merriweather returned a Joshua Youngblood fumble for a TD and a 14-3 lead.

That was all Iowa needed. Rutgers’ result marked its 20th consecutive home loss in conference play, raising doubts about how this team will fare when the Big Ten meat grinder begins this season. If he keeps scoring on himself, he won’t beat anyone.

Here are five observations from Rutgers-Iowa:

1. Rocky Day for Simon

The numbers were great. Evan Simmons completed 28 of 49 passes for a career-high 300 yards and had just 59 passing yards in the Scarlet Knights’ 16-14 win over the Temple a week later, which is certainly a big improvement.

But the numbers, collected mostly late in the game against Iowa’s second team, don’t tell the story. Simmons, the only scholarship quarterback for this game, threw two critical interceptions — including one returned for a touchdown — and fumbled several early-game plays that could have changed the outcome.

Schiano would not provide an injury timetable for any of his players. But the eye test is on Injured quarterbacks Noah Vedral and Gavin Wimsatt It suggests that both will return more quickly during the warm season. Maybe next week at Ohio State. They need both of them back, ASAP.

2. Cruel pays ‘D’

The Twitter account @CFBFilmRoom has been amazing this week. Rutgers, under his first year defensive coordinator Joe HarasimiakHe was leading the Big Ten in blitzes against FBS opponents — and it wasn’t particularly close. Rutgers blitzed on 41.8 percent of its plays, according to the site, ahead of Purdue’s 34.9 percent.

Aggressiveness really worked against Iowa in the second quarter. The Hawkeyes were running the ball effectively, somewhat inexplicably, when they called it a pass. Before quarterback Spencer Petras threw, Rutgers defensive end Christian Izzi brought down the Blaze for a car-killing eight-yard sack.

When Iowa ran the ball, the D’s attacked. Wesley BaileySophomore defensive lineman Gavin Williams knifed through the Iowa line on a first down run to tackle Gavin Williams for a six-yard loss. The defense wasn’t perfect, but it held its own on a night when the Rutgers offense continued to score points for opponents.

3. Fourth and go

Rutgers fell 24-3, a deficit the Scarlet Knights hadn’t beaten in a month, much less in a quarter. Still, as he did after returning to Piscataway, Schiano set the tone by saying he wouldn’t accept a seemingly certain outcome. keep in mind The crazy lateral game In a loss against Indiana in 2020? This was like that, only less dramatic.

He had three fumbles at Iowa State in the fourth quarter of the second half. On the first two plays, the Scarlet Knights moved the chains — including a nice 10-yard pass from Simmons to receiver Shamyn Jones. That was the key moment in an 82-yard drive that ended, predictably, on a fourth-down play that didn’t go their way.

This time on fourth and four from the Iowa 7, the Hawkeyes sent pressure on Simmons, and the quarterback was nowhere near anyone in red as he fired a pass into the end zone. Iowa dominated the fall. On the next drive, however, Rutgers finally broke through and scored.

4. Punt-a-thon in Piscataway

It’s rare if not nearly unprecedented to get a college football game. National focus Just for the quality of the poets. Adam Korsak and Torey Taylor were the headliners for Rutgers and Iowa, and somehow, he lived up to his reputation.

For Rutgers, Korsak was brilliant as usual. He punted Iowa twice inside the 20 in the first half, including one that went down on six. If Rutgers hadn’t given up 14 points on turnovers to Iowa, Korsak would have been the main reason the Scarlet Knights kept this close.

But for Iowa, Taylor was just as good. He pinned Rutgers on 4th and 7, and somehow averted a disaster when Rutgers cornerback Max Melton came up untouched and threw a first-quarter score. Taylor looked for the ball behind him, but it rolled to the Rutgers 37.

So who won during the war? Draw a picture.

5. Ferris wheel, big recruitment day and good tribute

Here are a few other thoughts on the Rutgers-Iowa scene, the Big Ten, and more.

A. The Ferris Wheel! If the boardwalk has a log flume at the next home game, I’m checking into Airbnb and booking for next summer.

b. Schiano got off the bus for the Scarlet Walk and immediately hugged Abram Wright, a Recruit three-star linebackers From Florida. This was a big recruiting weekend for Rutgers — and not just for. Football team. Eleven different teams are scheduled to make official visits during tonight’s game.

c. Rutgers held a moment of silence for Xavier McClain, a Linden High sophomore He died due to a head injury In a game on September 9 and Ali Muhammad Rahway High player who died in his sleep A day before. It was a classic gesture of connection between New Jersey’s top college program and the high school level.

d. Travel around the Big Ten enough, and you’ll find that most of the conference’s schools have a large location in the closest major airport — a store or showroom or something. That’s why Rutgers He placed a giant Scarlet R at Newark Airport last week.

e. The good news of the week for the Scarlet Knights – the result of bad news? Minnesota poured it on in an easy 34-7 victory over Michigan State. An Oct. 29 trip to Minneapolis looks to be a big deal with the Gophers looking to win the Big Ten West, but a trip to East Lansing two weeks later slips onto the Scarlet Knights’ “winnable games” list.

f. The atmosphere at the launch was great, with a packed student room and a new-look light show greeting the primetime TV audience. It’s a shame Rutgers didn’t give him a reason to hang around for the second half. Rutgers cut the lead to 24-10 in the fourth quarter. At that time, did the public care about it? Maybe not, but a lot of time has passed.

G. In the press box this week: Giants general manager Joe Schon and director of player personnel Tim McDonnell. Something tells me that after watching Iowa’s linebackers return an off-the-charts interception for a touchdown in the first quarter, Cooper put DeJean’s name in their notebooks.

H. Pregame Light Show: Very cool. The Game Day Pack continues to evolve.

I. Rutgers’ offense isn’t good enough to survive too many missed opportunities. Three drops in the first two drives — including two by the usually confident Langan — proved fatal.

J. If Aaron Judge doesn’t hit his 61st home run soon, can Rutgers offer him some playing time as a tight end?

More from Steve Politic:

Calling Picasso: How Adam Korsak Became a Rutgers Star

How a former Rutgers athlete was charged with murder in Tijuana

The search for Luther Wright, one of NJ’s greatest hoops talents

Masters: Augusta National Bath Secrets

Why little St. Peter’s is the best Cinderella in March Madness history.

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Steve Polity can be found at spoliti@njadvancemedia.com.

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