PISCATAWAY, NEW JERSEY - SEPTEMBER 3: Quarterback Gavin Wimsatt #2 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights celebrates his rushing touchdown with tight end Johnny Langan #21 during the first half of a college football game against the Northwestern Wildcats at SHI Stadium on September 3, 2023 in Piscataway, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Rutgers opened up the 2023 season with a total team effort against Big Ten rival Northwestern, dominating the Wildcats to the tune of 24-7 as the Scarlet Knights racked up close to 300 yards of offense, and held the football for 46 minutes.

“It’s body blows. Kinda kept hitting them in the gut. They are good up front, and we knew it would be a challenge to run the ball, but we kept doing it,” Head Coach Greg Schiano said.

Body blows indeed. Rutgers ran the ball 44 times for 122 yards, and it was all via running back by committee on a scorching hot afternoon at SHI Stadium.

Kyle Monangai’s 15-yard run to paydirt cemented a 24-0 lead for Rutgers, all but icing a contest that had been thoroughly dominated by the guys from Jersey.

Of course, a lot of eyes were on quarterback Gavin Wimsatt, who made his first start as the undisputed starting quarterback of this Rutgers team.  Poised, and playing more the role of a steady pocket passer, Wimsatt was 17-of-28 for 163 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions.

“I thought he played a clean game,” Schiano added.  “Relaxed, because of his preparation, so he was very decisive. He let the bad plays die, and that is a sign of maturation.”


Perhaps the play of the day came early in the first quarter when Wimsatt hit Ian Strong in the far corner of the end zone on a back-shoulder fade. Strong came down with the ball and kept one foot in bounds while dragging his back foot for the score.

The touchdown completed an impressive keynote by Rutgers, 16 plays, and 75 yards that ate up nearly seven minutes of clock.

Rutgers answered the bell again, when Wimsatt engineered another lengthy drive, this one eating up eight minutes, and taking 16-plays for 80 yards. The campaign culminated in Wimsatt using his legs when he burst through the seams for a touchdown run some six yards out to make it 14-0.

At this point, Rutgers had all but ended the competitive nature of this contest. They out-gained Northwestern 155-45; and had 32 plays to the Wildcats 10. And, recorded 11 first downs to just two by Northwestern.


While it was the fourth straight season opener that Rutgers has won, it was their first in that stretch against a Big Ten opponent.

Next Week:

The Scarlet Knights host the Temple Owls on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. We will have live coverage on Fox Sports New Jersey beginning at 5:00 with the Rutgers Tailgate Show just outside SHI Stadium.

Rutgers Fan Fest 8.20.23

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