PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Getting their sixth win of the season and bowl eligibility seems like an eternity ago for Rutgers football. Following consecutive losses to ranked teams, the Monday morning quarterbacking is in full swing for all things Rutgers football.
Two things, however, can be true:
Rutgers football got physically dominated and outplayed in the second half of their loss at Iowa.
Rutgers football (6-4,3-4 Big Ten) is having a strong season with plenty left for them to achieve.
In talking about his team on Monday, Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano said during his weekly press conference that the view from the mountaintop affords some much-needed perspective about his team.
“If all of us were together on July 31, and we were hanging out talking and somebody said, okay, you’re going to the fourth quarter at Kinnick Stadium and it’s 6-0 Iowa, and by the way, you’re 6-3, would you take it, would you take it? Would you have taken it in July?” Schiano said.
“I would have taken it in July. We are a developmental program. We are developing, for sure. We are going like this…”
Schiano pointed towards an upward climb as he continued his bigger point.
“But let’s realize who we are. That’s one of the biggest things I talk to our team about. At Rutgers, and I think that meant a lot that have been here longer than I have. So I kind of know about this place. I might not know about every place but I know about this place. And at this place, you’ve really got to stay focused on who you are,” Schiano said.
“See, the way we’ve played the game, has allowed us to be in every single game this year going into the fourth quarter with an opportunity to win. In the past, that wasn’t the case. To me, that’s an incremental improvement. I know we’d all love to go from 4-8 to 12-0, but it’s just not going to work that way at Rutgers. Maybe somewhere else but not here. Maybe if you go into free agency — I’m sorry, NIL, and get all these players in a swoop because you had a bankroll the size of Detroit, then maybe you would turn it.”
Rutgers is outright bowl-eligible for the first time since 2014. With one more win, they would have their first winning season since that same year.
As important as the shot at a winning record is for Rutgers, is the fact that they have shown improvement. While Saturday’s loss at Iowa was a ho-hum result for Rutgers in that the final scoreline was a bit out of hand, Rutgers is still hanging in games and being more competitive than they were
“So we know who we are. I know who we are. And the way we are playing the game right now might not necessarily be the way we play it two years from now when some of these younger players that we think are really promising now are developed, and playing at a different level, then we can play the game differently,” Schiano said.
“So everything we do right now, whether it’s right or wrong that, can be argued, that’s the beautiful thing about sports, right. That’s why you guys have jobs. You write stuff. It stirs it up. People want to talk about it. That’s why I have a job, because people want to come watch it. But we really think the way we are doing it gives us the best chance to win. It doesn’t guarantee us a win. We are not at that point. Hopefully down the road we’ll be at that point. That’s kind of how we do it.”