PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) — Rutgers got one step closer to becoming bowl eligible for the first time since 2014 after a commanding non-conference 52-3 win over FCS-member Wagner on Saturday.
Heading into the bulk of its Big Ten Conference schedule, Rutgers (4-1, 1-1) needs only two victories to be considered for the post-season. The Scarlet Knights are off to their best start since that season when they won five of their first six games.
The Scarlet Knights went to the TaxSlayer Bowl in 2021, but were a replacement for Texas A&M, who were unable to play due to COVID-19. Rutgers was 5-7 during the regular season, failing to get the necessary six wins for post-season consideration.
Quarterback Gavin Wimsatt continued his steady progress in his first full season as a starter for Rutgers, running for two touchdowns and passing for a third in the dominating win. Kyle Monangai added 87 rushing yards and a touchdown. He entered the game second in the Big Ten Conference with 384 yards.
“It’s a long season, and I just got done telling them the rest of the way, it’s Big Ten all the way and what I believe to be the best conference in the country," said Rutgers coach Greg Schiano. "It’s going to be quite a run and just as I’ve told you guys before, we’re 1-0 in the Wagner season. We’ll take a breath, celebrate it, and then we’re on to the Wisconsin season.
“So it’s the only way you can do it in my opinion.”
Rutgers scored on all of its eight full possessions of the game. The only time it failed to score was when its drive ended due to half time. The Scarlet Knights have outscored Wagner (2-3) 118-10 in two straight games. They knocked them off 66-7 last season in Piscataway.
“Rutgers is a well-coached team that plays extremely hard,” said Wagner coach Tom Masella. “Our players enjoy the challenge of playing an FBS opponent and we will take the lessons from this game into conference play. ”
Wagner has just three wins in its last 26 games.
Wagner: The Seahawks, an FCS program out of the Northeast Conference, were overmatched on both sides of the ball. They managed just 106 total yards, converting only one of nine third down conversions.
Rutgers: The one-sided win allowed Schiano to utilize additional running backs, instead of relying on Monangai to do the bulk of the work. Ja'shon Benjamin picked up 57 yards and a TD and Samuel Brown V contributed 38 yards and a touchdown.
Wagner: Bye. At St. Francis (Pa.) Oct. 12.
Rutgers: At Wisconsin Saturday.