Beat Maryland and 2017 is a success for Rutgers | Politi









The Scarlet Knights had a moral victory in Michigan. Now its time for a real one.

Watch video




ANN ARBOR --One after another, the Rutgers players exited the visiting locker room at Michigan Stadium and, when asked about their performance in a 35-14 loss to the Wolverines,fell back on the same three words.
No moral victories, defensive lineman Darnel Davis, and guard Dorian Miller, and running back Gus Edwards all said. This was clearly the message that head coach Chris Ash wanted to get through to his players, that nobody should be satisfied with a 21-point loss -- even if, a year ago, the margin was defeat was nearly four times that.
This is understandable, of course. What message would it send if the Scarlet Knights were patting themselves on the back after giving up 334 rushing yards in a conference game? Rutgers was better, to be clear, but not good enough to beat a top-level program like Michigan.
But Ash knows better.
Its a sign of progress, hopefully, he said. Our guys compete and they play for four quarters. They dont quit. I couldnt have said that about our football team last year. Those are all signs of progress. Weve got to keep building and building and building and wait for that breakthrough moment. We cant quit until we get there. And then weve got to keep fighting harder.
But this team fights.
The key word here: Progress. Rutgers had to show some under Ash in his second season after going 2-10 andgetting blown out again and again last year, and that boiled down to two things:
1. Eliminate, for the most part, the embarrassing lopsided scores in which this team hardly looked like it was playing the same sport as its opponent. The Scarlet Knightschecked this box on Saturday afternoon in the Big House against a Michigan team that, in the words of Davis, beat our asses 78-0 last season.
2. Win four games, including a few in conference play, to show measurable progress that Ash can hold up to skeptical recruits and fickle fans as proof that this team is heading in the right direction. Theyve almost checked that box, too. Almost.
And thats what makes this next game against Maryland so important. The Terrapins are on the same level as the Scarlet Knights, a team in the early stages of a rebuilding that cant compete with the Big Ten behemoths that fill its schedule every season.
Five observations: Michigan too good up front
Beat a Maryland team down to its fourth-string quarterback, and Rutgers will have doubled its victory total from a season ago. Beat a Maryland team has lost three of its last four games, and the Scarlet Knights can feel good about 2017 no matter what happens in the final three games.
Its a real big game, a real big game, Miller said. Right now, were sitting at a point where I want to make a bowl game. In order to that, weve got four games left so weve got to win three. Every game at this point, all the games left are important.
Its okay for Miller to dream about a bowl game, but with Penn State and Michigan State still on the schedule, thats the long shot of long shots. Thats why the early seasonloss to Eastern Michigan is still such a buzzkill. Had they played better that day, getting to six wins wouldnt be a pipe dream.
We cant even accept moral victories but at the same time, we have to accept that we are getting better and it takes time, Edwards said. For the seniors, we kind of want to rush it. Hopefully we can do it faster and get things done this season.
Beating Maryland would qualify as getting things done. Rutgers will need to do a much better job against the run because Marylands Ty Johnson is one of the four best running backs in the league, and theyll need to build on the flashes of offensive competence they showed in the Big House.
The Terrapins arent that far ahead of the Scarlet Knights. This is an even matchup, one Rutgers can win in front of its home crowd for a third conference victory after losing 16 in a row.
Rutgers had a moral victory on Saturday, even if the players werent ready to accept it. Now its time for a real win, one that will make 2017 feel like a success, and theyll have noproblemcelebrating that.

Steve Politi may be reached . Follow him on Twitter@StevePoliti. on Facebook.




Helpful?
Beat Maryland and 2017 is a success for Rutgers | Politi
Stats Overview
5.0 (1 Rate)
5
100%
rates
4
0%
rates
3
0%
rates
2
0%
rates
1
0%
rates
Add Your Rate:
Reviews (1):
CamRate - Sports
Original Reviewer
Beat Maryland and 2017 is a success for Rutgers | Politi
3 years ago

http://www.nj.com/rutgersfootball/index.ssf/2017/10/beat_maryland_and_the_2017_rutgers_season_is_a_suc.html







The Scarlet Knights had a moral victory in Michigan. Now its time for a real one.

Watch video




ANN ARBOR --One after another, the Rutgers players exited the visiting locker room at Michigan Stadium and, when asked about their performance in a 35-14 loss to the Wolverines,fell back on the same three words.
No moral victories, defensive lineman Darnel Davis, and guard Dorian Miller, and running back Gus Edwards all said. This was clearly the message that head coach Chris Ash wanted to get through to his players, that nobody should be satisfied with a 21-point loss -- even if, a year ago, the margin was defeat was nearly four times that.
This is understandable, of course. What message would it send if the Scarlet Knights were patting themselves on the back after giving up 334 rushing yards in a conference game? Rutgers was better, to be clear, but not good enough to beat a top-level program like Michigan.
But Ash knows better.
Its a sign of progress, hopefully, he said. Our guys compete and they play for four quarters. They dont quit. I couldnt have said that about our football team last year. Those are all signs of progress. Weve got to keep building and building and building and wait for that breakthrough moment. We cant quit until we get there. And then weve got to keep fighting harder.
But this team fights.
The key word here: Progress. Rutgers had to show some under Ash in his second season after going 2-10 andgetting blown out again and again last year, and that boiled down to two things:
1. Eliminate, for the most part, the embarrassing lopsided scores in which this team hardly looked like it was playing the same sport as its opponent. The Scarlet Knightschecked this box on Saturday afternoon in the Big House against a Michigan team that, in the words of Davis, beat our asses 78-0 last season.
2. Win four games, including a few in conference play, to show measurable progress that Ash can hold up to skeptical recruits and fickle fans as proof that this team is heading in the right direction. Theyve almost checked that box, too. Almost.
And thats what makes this next game against Maryland so important. The Terrapins are on the same level as the Scarlet Knights, a team in the early stages of a rebuilding that cant compete with the Big Ten behemoths that fill its schedule every season.
Five observations: Michigan too good up front
Beat a Maryland team down to its fourth-string quarterback, and Rutgers will have doubled its victory total from a season ago. Beat a Maryland team has lost three of its last four games, and the Scarlet Knights can feel good about 2017 no matter what happens in the final three games.
Its a real big game, a real big game, Miller said. Right now, were sitting at a point where I want to make a bowl game. In order to that, weve got four games left so weve got to win three. Every game at this point, all the games left are important.
Its okay for Miller to dream about a bowl game, but with Penn State and Michigan State still on the schedule, thats the long shot of long shots. Thats why the early seasonloss to Eastern Michigan is still such a buzzkill. Had they played better that day, getting to six wins wouldnt be a pipe dream.
We cant even accept moral victories but at the same time, we have to accept that we are getting better and it takes time, Edwards said. For the seniors, we kind of want to rush it. Hopefully we can do it faster and get things done this season.
Beating Maryland would qualify as getting things done. Rutgers will need to do a much better job against the run because Marylands Ty Johnson is one of the four best running backs in the league, and theyll need to build on the flashes of offensive competence they showed in the Big House.
The Terrapins arent that far ahead of the Scarlet Knights. This is an even matchup, one Rutgers can win in front of its home crowd for a third conference victory after losing 16 in a row.
Rutgers had a moral victory on Saturday, even if the players werent ready to accept it. Now its time for a real win, one that will make 2017 feel like a success, and theyll have noproblemcelebrating that.

Steve Politi may be reached atspoliti@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter@StevePoliti. FindNJ.com on Facebook.




Reply‚óŹ
Helpful?
User Image