New York Jets: Jordan Jenkins, Saquon Hampton done for season

New York Jets, Jordan Jenkins

Two New York Jets defenders will see their season end prematurely, as Jordan Jenkins and Saquon Hampton have been placed on IR.

The New York Jets announced on Wednesday that defenders Jordan Jenkins and Saquon Hampton will be placed on injured reserve. With visits to IR lasting at least three weeks, their seasons are effectively over.

Jenkins (shoulder) had partaken in 12 games this season, missing last weekend’s visit to Seattle. His fifth season as a Jets ends with 32 tackles, including a pair of sacks, after earning 15 quarterback takedowns over the last two seasons. The linebacker, 26, joined the team as a third-round pick (83rd overall) in 2016. He is set to become a free agent this offseason after inking a one-year, $3.75 million deal.

Hampton, 25, returned to New Jersey after starring in his native Hamilton and later in college at Rutgers. A member of the secondary and former sixth-round draft pick in New Orleans, Hampton joined the Jets in November after he part of the Saints’ final training camp cuts. He made his New York debut on Sunday in Seattle, partaking in five special team snaps before leaving with an Achilles injury.

As the Jets (0-13) prepare to partake in their final games of the season, they’ll be missing some crucial names on defense. Jenkins becomes the sixth opening day starter to not finish the year on the active roster, whether it’s through injury or transactions. His role at outside linebacker will likely be filled by rookie Jabari Zuniga, who has mostly been used as a defensive end but maintains experience from his days at Florida.

Earlier this week, the Jets partially prepared for the medical departures by signing Trevon Coley on Monday, two days after he was released by the Arizona Cardinals.

New York continues to play out the final stretches of their schedule out west, as they’ll wrap up their interconference slate on Sunday at SoFi Stadium against the Los Angeles Rams (4:05 p.m. ET, Fox).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Rutgers Scarlet Knights unveil 2020 football schedule

As they prepare to potentially navigate around the ongoing health crisis, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights football team unveiled their 2020 slate.

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights unveiled their 2020 football schedule on Wednesday, headlined by their opener against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at SHI Stadium on September 5.

Each of Rutgers’ 10 scheduled contests will come against conference opponents, as the Big Ten opted to eliminate non-conference games while preparing for a season during the ongoing health crisis. Rutgers was originally set to open with FCS Monmouth in Piscataway and also had matchups with Syracuse and Temple wiped out.

Nebraska, Michigan, Penn State, Indiana, and Illinois will each visit Piscataway this season. These games with be played without outside spectators, per an official order from New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy that also affects New York Jets and Giants NFL games at MetLife Stadium. Rutgers will travel to Ohio State, Maryland, Purdue, Michigan State, and Wisconsin as well.

The schedule release coincides with the Big Ten releasing its health and medical protocols for a potential 2020 campaign. Rutgers has been dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19 on their football team, as a report from Keith Sargeant of NJ Advance Media revealed that 28 players, plus three members of the coaching staff, have tested positive. Michigan State, Ohio State, and Northwestern have also dealt with positive cases and have since shut down practices. Outside of the conference, the University of Connecticut became the first Football Bowl Subdivision team to outright cancel its 2020 proceedings.

High contact risk sports in the Big Ten will test a minimum of twice daily. The full guidelines are available on the conference’s official website.

“The Conference acknowledges that there is much work to be done on our campuses, in our communities and across the country to gain control of a virus that continues to spread at an alarming rate,” The Big Ten said in a Wednesday statement. “While the Conference remains hopeful for a September 2020 start in all fall sports, including football, issuing a schedule does not guarantee that competition will occur.”

“While our strategy is to continue planning for all fall sports, if the virus continues to spread among our students despite our many preventative measures, including testing and quarantine protocols, we are also prepared to delay or cancel competition pursuant to local and state public health orders or the recommendations of our medical experts.”

Rutgers is seeking a reversal in fortune after extending their postseason drought to a fifth season last year with a 2-10 mark that cost head coach Chris Ash his job after four games. The Scarlet Knights welcomed back Greg Schiano to the head coaching spot as the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers boss returns to Piscataway for the first time since 2011. Schiano oversaw the most recent glory days in Rutgers history, guiding them to a program-best 11 wins and their first-ever postseason victory (the Texas Bowl over Kansas State). Rutgers would go on to win five bowl games over the next six season after that historic 2006 campaign before Schiano began his NFL endeavor.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Penn State upsets Michigan, Illinois continues strong play: Big Ten Week in Review (2/12-2/17)

This week in Big Ten basketball, Penn State finally pieced it altogether and pulled off a major upset at home over Michigan, and Illinois has now won five of their last six, including wins over two ranked opponents. Joe Wisekamp also hit a huge buzzer-beater to lift Iowa over Rutgers. Let’s get into the games!

Game Scores & Mini-recaps:

6 Michigan vs. Penn State: Penn State 75, Michigan 69

Penn State built a 13 point halftime lead and fought off a late rally in an upset win over Michigan. Michigan shot 5 percent better than Penn State from the field, but Penn State drew 21 total fouls. Lamar Stevens led Penn State with 26 points and 12 rebounds. Charles Matthews had 24 for the Wolverines.

11 Michigan State vs. 20 Wisconsin: Michigan State 67, Wisconsin 59

Michigan State shot 41 percent from three and picked up another solid conference win over Wisconsin. Cassius Winston had 23 points, six rebounds, and six assists. Kenny Goins and Nick Ward were also in double-figures, and Ethan Happ led Wisconsin with 20 points and 12 rebounds.

12 Purdue vs. 24 Maryland: Maryland 70, Purdue 56

Maryland held the number 12 team in the nation to just 56 points as they picked up another big win. Purdue got 24 points from Carsen Edwards in the loss, but shot a poor 8-of-27. Five Terrapins were in double figures, including Bruno Fernando who had a 12 point, 12 rebound double-double.

Rutgers vs. Northwestern: Rutgers 59, Northwestern 56

Geo Baker and Montez Mathis each had 12 points to lead Rutgers to a home win over Northwestern. Eugene Omoruyi added 11 points and seven rebounds. Vic Law had 17 points, and A.J. Turner had 11 points for Northwestern.

Minnesota vs. Nebraska: Nebraska 62, Minnesota 61

James Palmer Jr. hit two free-throws with a second left as Nebraska survived at home against Minnesota. Palmer Jr. had 24 points on the night, and Glynn Watson Jr. had 19 points. Jordan Murphy led Minnesota with 19 points and 13 rebounds, and Daniel Oturu had 16.

Illinois vs. Ohio State: Illinois 63, Ohio State 56

Ohio State was held to just 36 percent shooting at home as Illinois came into town to stun the Buckeyes and continue their strong play. Trent Frazier and Ayo Dosunmu each had 15 points, and Giorgi Bezhanishvilli had 13 points and seven rebounds. C.J. Jackson had 17 points for Ohio State, and the Wessons combined for 21 points and 10 rebounds.

24 Maryland vs. 6 Michigan: Michigan 65, Maryland 52

Despite Cassius Winston being out, Michigan still played well and got a win over a ranked Maryland team at home. Ignas Brazdeikas, Charles Matthews, and Zavier Simpson all were in double-figures for the Wolverines. Aaron Wiggins led Maryland with 15 points and six boards off of the bench.

Penn State vs. 12 Purdue: Purdue 76, Penn State 64

Purdue bounced back from their poor shooting night last game to shoot 52 percent and get a win over Penn State. Carsen Edwards had 21 points to pace Purdue, and Matt Haarms had 18 points and six rebounds. Lamar Stevens had 18 points and Rasir Bolton had 17 points for the Nittany Lions.

21 Iowa vs. Rutgers: Iowa 71, Rutgers 69

Joe Wisekamp hit an improbable baseline three-pointer off of the glass at the buzzer as Iowa stunned Rutgers in New Jersey. Jordan Bohannon led Iowa with 18 points and five assists, Isaiah Moss had 17, and Tyler Cook had 12 points and seven rebounds. Ron Harper Jr. had 16 for Rutgers, and Eugene Omoruyi had 10 points and 11 boards.

Indiana vs. Minnesota: Minnesota 84, Indiana 63

Jordan Murphy had a huge 23 point, 11 rebound double-double as Minnesota blew out Indiana at home. Gabe Kalscheur also had 20 points, While Aaron Coffey had 18 points, seven assists, and six rebounds. Juwan Morgan led Indiana with 14 points and eight rebounds.

Northwestern vs. Nebraska: Nebraska 59, Northwestern 50

Isaiah Roby had 19 points and 16 rebounds, along with five blocks to pace Nebraska in a win over Nebraska. James Palmer Jr. and Glynn Watson Jr. were also in double figures for the winners. Vic Law had 15 points and Derek Pardon had 13 points and 12 rebounds.

Ohio State vs. 11 Michigan State: Michigan State 62, Ohio State 54

Ohio State was held to just 32 percent shooting on the road as they were blown out by Michigan State. Matt McQuaid had 14 points, and Cassius Winston had 13 points and eight assists for the Spartans. Kaleb Wesson led the Buckeyes with 12 points and nine rebounds.

Standings & Rankings:

7 Michigan, 23-3 (12-3)

10 Michigan State, 21-5 (12-3)

15 Purdue, 18-7 (11-3)

24 Maryland, 19-7 (10-5)

21 Iowa, 20-5 (9-5)

22 Wisconsin, 17-8 (9-5)

Minnesota, 17-9 (7-8)

Ohio State, 16-9 (6-8)

Illinois, 10-15 (6-8)

Nebraska, 15-11 (5-10)

Rutgers, 12-13 (5-10)

Indiana, 13-12 (4-10)

Northwestern, 12-13 (3-11)

Penn State, 9-16 (2-12)

 

 

 

 

Illinois upsets Michigan State: Big Ten week in review (2/4-2/10)

Illinois pulled off a crazy upset over Michigan St. this week, and Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon hit a crazy buzzer-beater in a win over Northwestern to lead the story-lines of the week. Let’s get into the games!

Scores & Mini-recaps

Penn State vs. Northwestern: Penn State 59, Northwestern 52

Penn State’s 18 points from Lamar Stevens and 14 points from Rasir Bolton off the bench was enough for Penn State to pick up their first conference win. Penn State shot just 38 percent, but limited Northwestern to just 32 percent. Derek Pardon had 18 points and 10 rebounds and Vic Law had 10 points and 10 rebounds for Northwestern.

7 Michigan vs. Rutgers: Michigan 77, Rutgers 65

Ignas Brazdeikis led Michigan with 23 points as the Wolverines were able to pick up a road win at Rutgers. Jon Teske and Jordan Poole combined for 22 points but shot a poor 8-for-23 together. Eugene Omoruyi had 21 points and Montez Mathis had 12 points for Rutgers.

9 Michigan St. vs. Illinois: Illinois 79, Michigan St. 74

Illinois pulled the upset of the week with a big home win over Michigan State. Ayo Dosunmu had 24 points, Giorgi Bezhanishvilli had 16, and Trent Frazier had 15 for the winners. Cassius Winston had another big night for Michigan St., finishing with 21 points and nine assists.

19 Wisconsin vs. Minnesota: Wisconsin 56, Minnesota 51

Ethan Happ had a 15 point, 13 rebound double-double to lead Wisconsin to a road victory over Minnesota. Brad Davidson added 10 points, and Nate Reuvers had nine rebounds and seven blocks for Wisconsin. Jordan Murphy had a huge 16 point, 19 rebound performance for the losers.

24 Maryland vs. Nebraska: Maryland 60, Nebraska 45

Jalen Smith and Bruno Fernando both had double-doubles to power Maryland past Nebraska. Maryland shot the ball 38 percent, but held Nebraska to an extremely poor 21 percent, including 0-for-10 shooting from Glynn Watson Jr. for Nebraska. Isaiah Roby 20 points and 1 rebounds to lead the Cornhuskers.

20 Iowa vs. Indiana: Iowa 77, Indiana 72

Jordan Bohannon and Tyler Cook combined for 46 points for Iowa in their win over Indiana. Iowa made 10 threes and 13 free-throws on the night. Romeo Langford had 22 points and five rebounds for Indiana, and Juwan Morgan added 17.

Penn State vs. Ohio State: Ohio State 74, Penn State 70

Ohio State’s 50 percent shooting helped power them to a win over the feisty Penn State Nittany Lions. Luther Muhammad had 20 points, and Andre Wesson had 15 points and 10 boards for the Buckeyes. Lamar Stevens and Josh Reaves each had 20 for Penn State,.

19 Wisconsin vs. 7 Michigan: Michigan 61, Wisconsin 52

Charles Matthews had 18 points, and Jon Teske had 17 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Wolverines over the Badgers. Michigan shot 45 percent while limiting themselves to just five turnovers.  Ethan Happ had 18 points and 11 rebounds to pace Wisconsin.

Minnesota vs. 9 Michigan State: Michigan St. 79, Minnesota 55

Michigan State finally broke out of their three game losing streak with a blowout win over the sliding Minnesota Golden Gophers. nick Ward had 22 points and nine rebounds and Cassius Winston had 11 points and nine assists. Matt McQuaid added 18 points, and eight more assists, as Michigan State thrives off the catch-and-shoot. Gabe Kalscheur had 17 points for Minnesota.

Nebraska vs. 15 Purdue: Purdue 81, Nebraska 62

Carsen Edwards dropped 27 points as Purdue blew out Nebraska at home. Grady Eifert had 16 points, and Nojel Eastern had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Thomas Allen led Nebraska with 18 points off the bench, and Nebraska shot just 38 percent on the night.

Rutgers vs. Illinois: Illinois 99, Rutgers 94 (OT)

Giorgi Bezhanishvilli exploded for 35 points, as Illinois took down Rutgers at home in overtime. Four total players would reach double figures for Illinois, who shot the ball 50 percent. Caleb McConnell had a big night for Rutgers with 25 points and nine rebounds off the bench.

Northwestern vs. 20 Iowa: Iowa 80, Northwestern 79

Iowa was down 15 points with 4:30 left, but Iowa fought back and won the game thanks to a Jordan Bohannon buzzer-beater. He had 15 points, but Joe Wieskamp led with 21 points while Tyler cook had 19 points and 11 rebounds. Vic Law led Northwestern with 24 points and 10 boards.

Ohio State vs. Indiana: Ohio State 55, Indiana 52

Indiana couldn’t convert in the final seconds to send the game into overtime, as Ohio State snuck away from Bloomington with a 55-52 win. The Wesson brothers combined for 25 of Ohio State’s 55 points, as the team shot 44 percent. Romeo Langford had 15 points for Indiana, while Juwan Morgan was held in-check with just three points, but still managed to haul-in 14 boards.

Standings & Rankings

6 Michigan, 22-2 (11-2)

12 Purdue, 17-6 (10-2)

11 Michigan St., 19-5 (10-3)

20 Wisconsin, 17-7 (9-4)

24 Maryland, 18-6 (9-4)

21 Iowa, 19-5 (8-5)

Ohio State, 16-7 (6-6)

Minnesota, 16-8 (6-7)

Illinois, 9-15 (5-8)

Indiana, 13-11 (4-9)

Rutgers, 11-12 (4-9)

Northwestern, 12-11 (3-9)

Nebraska, 13-11 (3-10)

Penn State, 8-15 (1-11)

 

Iowa and Indiana pull major upsets: Big Ten basketball week in review (1/29-2/3)

Another fun week of Big Ten hoops is led by Iowa dominating Michigan, Indiana upsetting Michigan St., and Wisconsin with two big wins. Six teams hit the Top 25 this week! There were 12 games, so let’s dive into it!

Results & Mini-Recaps

Ohio St. vs. 5 Michigan: Michigan 65, Ohio State 49

Zavier Simpson’s triple-double with 11 points, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds helped Michigan cruise past Ohio State. Four different Michigan players got into double-figures, including 12 points off the bench for sophomore Isaiah Livers. Kaleb Wesson led Ohio State with 12 points, seven rebounds, and three blocks.

Northwestern vs. 21 Maryland: Maryland 70, Northwestern 52

Bruno Fernando’s 22 points and 10 rebounds helped lead Maryland to a convincing win over Northwestern. Maryland held Northwestern to just 31 percent from the field. Jalen Smith had 14 points and nine rebounds to support Fernando. Anthony Gaines had 18 points and seven rebounds to lead Northwestern.

24 Wisconsin vs. Nebraska: Wisconsin 62, Nebraska 51

Wisconsin held Nebraska to just 28 percent from the field to beat Nebraska, despite being out-rebounded. Three Wisconsin Badgers were in double figures, including Ethan Happ who also had nine rebounds. Isaiah Roby had 18 points and nine rebounds to lead Nebraska.

Indiana vs. Rutgers: Rutgers 66, Indiana 58

Rutgers strong effort on the boards helped them beat the struggling Indiana Hoosiers. Three Scarlet Knights were in double-figures, and they held Indiana to just 35 percent shooting. Romeo Langford led Indiana with 20 points and six rebounds in the loss.

Illinois vs. Minnesota: Minnesota 86, Illinois 75

Five Minnesota players were in double-figures as they beat Illinois by 11. Minnesota shot a strong 50 percent in the win, compared to 45 percent from Illinois. Trent Frazier had a huge 30 point performance for Illinois in the loss, and two Fighting Illini were in double-figures off of the bench.

17 Purdue vs. Penn St.: Purdue 99, Penn St. 90 (OT)

Purdue shot the lights out at 55 percent, and survived the last-place Penn State in overtime. Conference scoring leader Carsen Edwards exploded for 38 points, and teammate Ryan Cline added 20. Lamar Stevens had 24 points for Penn State, and the Nittany Lions hit 30 free-throws to counter their poor 39 percent shooting.

5 Michigan vs. Iowa: Iowa 74, Michigan 59

Iowa jumped out to a 13 point halftime lead on their home floor and used that to knock off the number five team in the country. Luke Garza and Joe Wieskamp had 19 and 16 points, respectively for the winners. Iowa held Michigan to just 32 percent from the field. Three Wolverines made it into double-figures.

21 Maryland vs. 24 Wisconsin: Wisconsin 69, Maryland 61

Wisconsin used a dominating second half after trailing at halftime to beat Maryland at home. Brad Davidson had 21 points for Wisconsin, and Ethan Happ had an 18 point, 11 rebound double-double as well. Bruno Fernando had a double-double to lead the Terrapins.

Indiana vs. 6 Michigan St.: Indiana 79. Michigan St. 75 (OT)

Despite losing Juwan Morgan in the first half to a shoulder injury, Indiana ended their skid with a huge road upset over Michigan St. Romeo Langford led the winners with 19 points, and Justin Smith had 13 points and 10 rebounds with the game-sealing block. Cassius Winston had a huge night for the Spartans with 26 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists.

Rutgers vs. Ohio State: Ohio State 76, Rutgers 62

Ohio State shot the ball 53 percent to lead to a victory over Rutgers. Kaleb Wesson had 27 points and five assists, and C.J. Jackson had 20 points and seven rebounds. Despite the win, they trailed -11 in the rebound margin.  Eugene Omoruyi had 19 points, eight rebounds, and six rebounds for Rutgers in the loss.

Nebraska vs. Illinois: Illinois 71, Nebraska 64

Illinois balanced scoring and strong defense led them to a win over Nebraska. Kipper Nichols had 18 points off the bench, while Illinois held Nebraska to just 36 percent from the field. James Palmer Jr. had 22 points and eight rebounds for Nebraska, and Tanner Borchardt had 12 points and 18 rebounds.

Minnesota vs. 17 Purdue: Purdue 73, Minnesota 63

Purdue had five players in double-figures and shot the ball 48 percent in a win over Minnesota. Carsen Edwards led Purdue with 17 points, five rebounds, and five assists, and Nojel Eastern had 11 points, six rebounds, four assists, and two steals in an all-around effort. Amir Coffey had 22 points for Minnesota, and Daniel Oturu had 19 points and nine rebounds off of the bench.

Standings & Rankings

7 Michigan, 20-2 (9-2 )

9 Michigan St., 18-4 (9-2)

15 Purdue, 16-6 (9-2)

19 Wisconsin, 16-6 (8-3)

24 Maryland, 17-6 (8-4)

20 Iowa, 17-5 (6-5)

Minnesota, 16-6 (6-5)

Ohio State, 14-7 (4-6)

Rutgers, 11-10 (4-7)

Indiana, 13-9 (4-7)

Northwestern, 12-9 (3-7)

Nebraska, 13-9 (3-8)

Illinois, 7-15 (3-8)

Penn St., 7-14 (0-10)

Big Ten Football Preview & Viewing Guide For Week Five

It seems like the season just started, but we’re already five weeks into college football. This week doesn’t have as many marquee matchups, but it does have some games worth watching and Saturday evening will be capped off by one of the biggest games of the year, both in the Big Ten Conference and nationally. All of the Big Ten teams that are playing this week will have their games today, with no early midweek games this time around.

What games can fans check out?

Rutgers vs Indiana, 12:00 PM on BTN

The Big Ten Network is televising one of the first games of the day, with a noon kickoff. This isn’t one that’s going to draw in neutral fans, however, because it’s between Rutgers and Indiana. The Scarlet Knights are looking for a better showing in front of their home fans after MAC contenders Buffalo came into their house and beat them 42-13 last Saturday.

It wasn’t a pretty showing for Rutgers. They gave up two touchdowns to both the top quarterback and top running back for the Bulls, and while UB is 4-0, it’s still not a good loss considering the lower conference that Buffalo plays in. Also, losing 42-13 at home to MAC opponents isn’t a good way to keep fans in the seats for the rest of the season.

Indiana is in a better place and has three wins so far, their only loss to nationally ranked Michigan State. Based on momentum, an Indiana blowout win isn’t out of the question.

#21 Michigan State vs Central Michigan, 12:00 on Fox Sports 1

This one is the first Big Ten game of the day that features a ranked team. That ranked team is Michigan State, which should come out guns blazing and look to bounce back from the decent performance but overall loss against Arizona State, in a game where a good amount of people penciled them in as the winner. The Spartans have had a long break since that game, which was on September 8.

All of that doesn’t help Central Michigan, a team that’s 1-3 and coming off of their sole win… Which was against FCS opponent Maine. They lost all three of their opening games, but to their credit, they did face SEC opposition Kentucky as well as the Big 12’s Kansas. While neither of those schools are powerhouses, they have much more in the way of resources than the Chippewas do.

Their passing defense is actually decent, they haven’t allowed an opposing QB to throw for more than 200 yards this season after all, but they gave up almost 300 yards on the ground to Kentucky and will likely give up a lot to the Michigan State running attack led by L.J. Scott.

You can watch this game on Fox Sports 1 if you want, but don’t put too much faith in CMU to pull an upset here. Not with MSU having extra time to prepare to bounce back after their loss to ASU.

Nebraska vs Purdue, 3:30 PM on BTN

This one is interesting for the wrong reasons. Well, more specifically, it’s interesting because everyone wants to see if Scott Frost is going to pick up another loss in his rookie season as the head coach of the Huskers. It would be hard to imagine things starting this way before the season, but Nebraska’s most recent result was a blowout loss at the Big House where their defense gave up 56 points and looked like it was closer to a FCS level.

Purdue, on the other hand, has had good form in the past couple of games. A win over Boston College, a very close loss to Missouri that featured an important bad call from the referee. They were upset by Eastern Michigan before that, but it was by one point. Purdue has played everyone close this year and should come in as the favorite. Form matters, and Nebraska’s form is historically bad while Purdue has stayed in every game.

This one won’t be televised on Fox Sports, though, and you’ll have to tune into the Big Ten Network if you want to watch it at 3:30.

Northwestern vs #14 Michigan, 4:30 PM on FOX

The first of the two Big Ten games that feature top fifteen teams is Northwestern versus Michigan. The Wolverines have to go on the road for this one, and it shouldn’t be too hard of a task for them. Northwestern is struggling this season and has a couple of bad losses already after winning their season opener and looking decent in it.

Back to back home losses followed that win, against Duke and Akron. This is the last game of that home stand before Northwestern has to head back on the road to face the other major team in Michigan, the Spartans. But it doesn’t seem like they’ll get a win in front of their home crowd.

Michigan rushed for 285 yards against Nebraska while only allowing 39 yards on 30 attempts. Realistically, it’s a good result for Nebraska to make this a competitive game and not fall victim to the same fate as Michigan’s last opponent, a blowout loss where everyone couldn’t wait for it to be over by the time the fourth quarter arrived.

This game is being broadcast nationally on FOX, meaning neutrals will hope for it to be a close result.

#9 Penn State vs #4 Ohio State, 7:30 PM on ABC

It doesn’t take much explaining why this is the best game of the week. The circumstances around the meeting between these two budding rivals means that the division title may be on the line, and in turn, a trip to the Conference Championship Game and potentially a trip to the College Football Playoff. If neither team slips up for the rest of the season, it will mean that this was the game that decided the Big Ten East.

Penn State is ranked lower, but you can through rankings out the window. They’re going to change after this game no matter what the result is, anyway. Penn State can make a large gain by winning, but the loser will almost certainly fall significantly after taking their first loss. Not only that, but two Heisman contenders are battling at the quarterback position in Dwayne Haskins Jr. and Trace McSorley.

The game is a White Out, something that Penn State has mastered. You can be sure that the atmosphere will help, and it makes the result even harder to predict. If you care about the Big Ten at all, or just want excitement, this is the game to watch tonight. With it starting at 7:30, the rest of the Big Ten will have played already by the time this one kicks off.

Rutgers Football: Scarlet Knights Lose Linebacker To Credit Fraud Investigation

Training camp has started for the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, but all of the news out of New Brunswick isn’t the good kind. It’s hard to have a controversy free offseason, and the Rutgers team isn’t free from controversy after six players were left out of training camp because of an investigation into credit card fraud.

Diving into the details of the Rutgers’ linebacker Investigation:

Two Rutgers players, K.J. Gray and Brandon DeVera, were dismissed last month for a violation of team rules. While the specific violation isn’t known, it may be related to the investigation, which is being conducted by the university police department. Both players have the intention to transfer and continue their football careers elsewhere.

They aren’t the only ones leaving the team. More recently, linebacker Syhiem Simmons announced on Twitter that Rutgers has given him permission to contact other teams, and his plans to transfer elsewhere. An outside linebacker from Atlantic City, New Jersey, Simmons is a redshirt freshman and hasn’t yet received game time with the Scarlet Knights.

“I would like to thank Rutgers University for the opportunity this past year and thank the coaches for helping me progress as an individual on and off the field,” Simmons said in his post. “But at this point in time, I am re-opening my recruitment so that I can keep growing as an individual on and off the field to progress my skills and knowledge with the sport of football.”

Five other players are under investigation right now, but Simmons is the only one to be suspended. The players that will be suspended for training camp because of the investigation are secondary members Malik Dixon, Kobe Marfo, Edwin Lopez, and Naijee Jones, as well as defensive end C.J. Onyechi.

According to NJ Advanced Media, head coach Chris Ash can’t comment on the ongoing investigation and the training camp absence of the investigated players. It wouldn’t be a stretch, however, to predict that all or most of the players may end up leaving the program because of the incident. After all, Simmons is the third player to announce his intention to transfer since the investigation began.

Rutgers Enters The Season With Options At Quarterback – Giovanni Rescigno?

It’s going to be a tough year for Rutgers football. It’s not anyone in specific’s fault, but Rutgers is still in a long rebuilding phase, and after going 3-6 in the conference, they have some ways to go in that process. Head coach Chris Ash managed to double the team’s wins last year by reaching a total of four, but even if it’s an improvement, four wins is four wins.

And the quarterback position reflects the overall status of the team. Rutgers didn’t have an ace QB last year. The player that put up the most yards at the position was Kyle Bolin, who only managed 711 yards and 3 touchdowns. Bolin is no longer on the team after graduating, and the most experienced player returning for 2018 is Giovanni Rescigno, the QB that replaced Bolin last season following a bad start.

How did Giovanni Rescigno perform in 2018?

Rescigno didn’t have the most impressive numbers and threw for 517 yards with two touchdowns. His best game of the season was at Maryland, where he finished with 107 yards, two overall touchdowns, and a 47% completion percentage on 17 attempts. One of those touchdowns was through the air, and the other one came on the ground as Rescigno kept the ball on an option run and made a mad dash around the edge.

With a full season to work with, Rescigno would certainly put up better numbers. Additionally, the returning QB has the entire offseason to work on getting better, something that Rescigno acknowledged earlier this year. “I have a good amount of film to watch of myself and just how I need to progress whether it’s fundamentally or where my eyes are on certain plays. All that stuff you can always get better at. That’s what film is for.”

But Rescigno isn’t the only quarterback that Rutgers can use this season. Jonathan Lewis was only given 38 passing attempts but had the same amount of touchdowns through the air as Rescigno, with two. On the ground, Lewis showed flashes of potential. He rushed for four touchdowns against Morgan State, and against Indiana, he rushed six times with an average of six yards per rush.

Against Michigan State, Lewis threw for the only touchdown that the Scarlet Knights recorded in the 40-7 loss. The 42 yard TD was a good play, but possibly overshadowed by the two interceptions that Lewis threw in that game. The first of those interceptions was quite the ugly one, with Lewis throwing off of his back foot and into an area that was covered by three Michigan State players.

Despite getting the touchdown, Lewis didn’t look that good against MSU. And that’s understandable, given the Spartans’ defense. However, it shows some of the things that he needs to work on. Decision making with the ball and accuracy are two of them, with the former being especially important.

There’s another player in the competition, though, and that’s one that wasn’t here last season. Despite his freshman status, Artur Sitkowski is in the running to start after having a good spring, and media outlets that follow the Scarlet Knigths have picked Sitkowski to be the number one QB come the season opener.

His three touchdown passes in the Rutgers spring game helped to confirm that even though he’s a freshman, Sitkowski’s talent is for real. He’s not the typical recruit that you expect Rutgers to pull in, either. Sitkowski flipped from Miami during his recruitment, and the fact that he was ever committed to Miami means that a more talented and successful program had enough interest in him to give him the offer.

So who will be the starter? It’s hard to tell until there’s more practices and more information about the performances of the quarterback group reaches the press. But from the looks of things, Sitkowski is either going to be the starter or will be waiting in the wings as an option to receive playing time if the more experienced Rescigno slips up when the season gets here.

You can’t quite pencil in Sitkowski as the immediate starter right now. He just doesn’t have the experience, but that doesn’t mean he won’t end up on the field by one way or another.