PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Rutgers fell to 1-4 on the season following a 56-0 loss to No.11 Ohio State on Saturday night inside High Point Solutions Stadium. There were not a lot of high points for Rutgers and to make matters worse, the Scarlet Knights lost two more players in their secondary.
Starting free safety Saquan Hampton went down after the first series and starting strong safety Kiy Hester left for the sidelines in the second quarter with an apparent leg injury, which looked like a muscle pull.
Neither player would return.
Afterward, Ash mentioned that Hampton hurt his shoulder but would not elaborate any further.
“They got injured, and I'm not going to comment on what they were, but they both got injured and have to get evaluated tomorrow to see how severe they may be,” Ash said.
Rutgers is already without starting cornerback Blessuan Austin, who was lost for the season with a torn ACL last weekend against Nebraska.
The Austin-less defense made a few stops early on, but there was little help from the offensive end. Kyle Bolin and Johnathan Lewis were both ineffective as they combined to complete 8-of-24 passes for 77 yards and two interceptions.
“It seemed like they kind of new when we were running the ball and passing the ball,” said starting quarterback Kyle Bolin. “They had a good idea of what plays were coming at what time.”
There was also not one catch made by a Rutgers wide receiver, although there were a pair of obvious drops by Damon Mitchell and Jawuan Harris.
The running attack did not fare much better as Rutgers averaged just 2.9 yards per carry as a team.
The loss will lead Rutgers into a bye week and that will be followed by a road contest against Illinois on Oct 14th.
“Mentally, we need a break, we really do,” said senior captain Darnell Davis. “But we have to keep it going. The season isn’t over.”
There are still seven more games to play, although Saturday’s loss is another reminder that Rutgers is still in the midst of an extensive rebuilding process. The loss also showed that here is still a significant talent gap between the Scarlet Knights and Ohio State.
“Just got to keep working. I mean, there's no magic formula,” Ash said. “When you're talking about turning around a program, it's working, it's hard work, that's it. You coach your tails off every single day. You develop your players as much as you can physically, mentally, fundamentally, and you recruit. That's it. You build a culture. You have standards, and those -- I don't care where you're at. Everyone thinks there's a magic formula to win. It's not. It's the same formula everywhere you're at. It's going to take us time to do that. That's where we're at. We have to coach, we have to develop, we've got to recruit, we've got to continue to build on our culture.
“I love the culture that we have. I love our football team. I said that right back at the start, and I'm not going to back away from that. I love coming in here to work every single day with these guys. They've got a great attitude, they love each other, they work extremely hard. We've got to coach better, we've got to develop and continue to recruit. That's it.”