Saturday Spells Doom for Scarlet
By Matthew Salvatore
Hopes for the Rutgers football season turned bleak on Saturday, Sept. 12, after a disappointing game performance and an incident that resulted in the removal of a star player.
On a cool afternoon at High Point Solutions Stadium, the smell of tailgate food and light rain filled the air above the 46,653 fans in attendance. The Rutgers Scarlet Knights were all set to square off against the Washington State Cougars.
Things started off grim for the Knights, as the Cougars drove down the field, mainly via the arm of quarterback Luke Falk. Washington State tore apart the Rutgers defense on a rather quick drive. With 68 yards through the air and a passing touchdown, the Cougars took the lead 7-0 over Rutgers.
On their next drive, Washington State got the ball on an interception thrown by Chris Laviano. They worked the ball up field and went up to a score of 10-0 by way of a field goal kicked by Eric Powell.
The game looked lopsided with an inept offense, and beatable defense for Rutgers. Then a trade-off of field goals, two for Rutgers and one for Washington State, pushed the score to 13-6 in favor of the Cougars just before halftime.
Out of the gate in the second half, Laviano made his second critical mistake of fumbling the ball while attempting a pump-fake during a scramble outside the pocket.
The Washington State offense capitalized on that mistake and went down the field racking up 57 yards off the arm of Luke Falk and pushing the score to 20-6. This made the next drive for Rutgers a pivotal moment in the game.
With pressure on, Rutgers’ running back Josh Hicks answered the bell and bulldozed his way to 15-yard touchdown run. Rutgers had their extra point kick blocked by Washington State making the score 20-12 for the visiting Cougars.
Rutgers furthered the comeback effort by stopping Washington State on four downs. The Scarlet Knights capitalized on the opportunity when Laviano fired a touchdown pass to Matt Flanagan, and scored on the two-point conversion with a pass to Leonte Carroo tying up the game at 20.
After Powell connected on yet another field goal for the Cougars, Janarion Grant was back deep to return the kick-off for Rutgers. The kick came, and Grant took it 100 yards to the end zone, giving Rutgers the lead, and seemingly the momentum they needed at 27-23.
Coming up big for the Cougars once again was Falk, generating 64 yards and another passing touchdown. The Cougars threw their way back to the top, leading 30-27 over Rutgers.
After a few stalled drives back and forth between the two teams, Janarion Grant was back on the punt return for Rutgers. On the punt, Grant caught the ball at about the 45 yard line, and after spinning off a tackler took it 55 yards all the way to the goal for the Knights.
Rutgers held the lead 34-30 over Washington State and had to make one more stop. The Cougars needed a touchdown to win the game.
On the final play from scrimmage, with just under 20 seconds left, Falk and his wide receiver River Cracraft connected in the back of the end-zone for a touchdown. This broke the hearts of all Rutgers fans in attendance, and locked up the win the Cougars, by a score of 37-30.
The game was not the only thing Rutgers lost this weekend. Sunday morning at a press conference, Kyle Flood announced that top- notch wide receiver, Leonte Carroo, had been suspended indefinitely from the Rutgers program due to an altercation after Saturday’s game.
Flood refused to comment on the situation and referenced all questions to the detective’s bureau as it is an active investigation. Carroo was reportedly charged with simple assault under domestic violence, and released on $1,000 bail. The Rutgers star player is set to go to court on Oct. 1st, and will likely be suspended until the investigation is through.
Meanwhile, Flood has been suspended for the next three games of the season, in regards to the email controversy involving a former Rutgers player Nadir Barnwell, and his grades. The coach was also fined an additional $50,000, all in relation to the impermissible contact with his player’s professor.