Rutgers football: No. 20 Minnesota runs over Rutgers; 5 takeaways

Josh Newman
Asbury Park Press

PISCATAWAY - When's basketball start?

That's about where we're at with this Rutgers football season, which saw it overmatched by another opponent on Saturday. This time, unbeaten, 20th-ranked Minnesota certainly didn't look dominant, but it did more than enough to leave SHI Stadium with a 42-7 win over the Scarlet Knights. 

Oct 19, 2019; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights head coach Nunzio Campanile with football team before start of game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers  at SHI Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Let's get to it. 

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1. It might be time to give Cole Snyder a shot: Nunzio Campanile said earlier in the week that "freshmen should not be playing in the Big Ten on developmental teams."

I don't necessarily disagree. This is big-boy, major college football, so very few freshmen quarterbacks are ready to play at a high level here. But, given how anemic Rutgers' passing game has been lately, given how much Johnny Langan is struggling, given Cole Snyder still has three games to play with and still save the year of eligibility, it might be time to see what Snyder has with some real live reps. 

Oct 19, 2019; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights head coach Nunzio Campanile reacts during the first half against the Minnesota Golden Gophers  at SHI Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Langan overthrew a first-quarter pass over the middle for his first interception, then underthrew a second-quarter deep ball for his second interception. Not everything has been Langan's fault, but his struggles have been profound, and he hasn't looked anything like a Big Ten quarterback. 

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Langan threw for one yard on 5-for-13 passing at Indiana. In the first half against the Golden Gophers? You guessed it, one yard, which gave Langan two passing yards over six quarters. The former Bergen Catholic standout finished Saturday 8-for-17 for 41 yards and three interceptions giving him 42 passing yards on 30 attempts over his last eight quarters. 

2. Campanile is right, Rutgers' passing numbers are impossible: The interim head coach said this twice since the Indiana debacle, and he's right. It is impossible to throw for this few yards when you're actively trying to throw the ball. 

Langan opened the game with a 5-yard completion to Eddie Lewis. Early in the second quarter, he hit Bo Melton, but it went for a 4-yard loss, putting Langan back at 1 yard. 

Say this next stat out loud. In the last two games, Rutgers has attempted 30 passes and has 42 yards to show for it. Of those 30 attempts, five have gone for negative plays 

I've never seen anything like this. At some point, I think my brain may have melted watching. 

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3. FUN FACT: Rutgers still has to play Ohio State and Penn State, plus Michigan State, which might be a mess right now, but is still a perennial threat in the Big Ten East. 

I bring this up because, in five Big Ten games, Rutgers has now been shut out four times, and it hasn't even had to deal with the real meat yet. In five games, Iowa, Michigan, Maryland, Indiana and now Minnesota have outscored the Scarlet Knights, 207-14. 

Oct 19, 2019; Piscataway, NJ, USA;  Rutgers Scarlet Knights quarterback Johnny Langan (17) throws an interception after being rushed by Minnesota Golden Gophers linebacker Carter Coughlin (45) during the second half at SHI Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

4. Some general thoughts

  • My parking spot in the Scarlet Lot was embarrassingly good. Furthermore, I can't remember the last time I had any real traffic trouble getting to the stadium. The Penn State game in 2014 comes to mind, I remember 2015 vs. No. 1 Ohio State with a night kickoff being a circus, but that's it. Point is, it's been a long time, which speaks to fan-base apathy lately. 
  • The long-sleeved throwback uniforms Rutgers wore Saturday were sharp. The white helmet, with the old-school red 'R' were especially crisp. Long-sleeved jerseys were once the norm, but that was forever ago. Nice job by Rutgers bringing them back for a day. 
  • The visiting athletic director's suite at SHI Stadium sits in close proximity to the press box. As Illinois downed No. 6 Wisconsin on a last-second field goal Saturday, some cheering could be heard from the visiting suite and with good reason. The Golden Gophers are now the loan unbeaten in the Big Ten West, but hurdles remain in November. Minnesota hosts Penn State Nov. 9, travels to Iowa Nov. 16, and hosts the Badgers to close the regular season on Nov. 30. 
  • Related: How PISSED must FOX be now? Wisconsin is at Ohio State on Saturday in what would have been a national broadcast matchup between unbeaten top-6 teams. The game still carries heavy Big Ten title implications, but certainly loses some juice with the Badgers taking a loss. 
  • The onion dip in the press box continues to be world class. 
  • This was presumably one of the last really nice fall weekends. It was gorgeous in Piscataway Saturday. 
  • The announced attendance of 26,429 is the lowest number I can remember in the six years I've either helped cover Rutgers, or been on the beat. Also, there were not 26,429 fans in the stadium at any point Saturday. This is the lowest announced attendance for a Rutgers home game since 21,717 showed up vs West Virginia on Oct. 8, 2005. 

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Rutgers defensive lineman Tijaun Mason (91), linebacker Olakunle Fatukasi (3), and defensive back Malik Dixon (15) look on as a play is reviewed during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Minnesota Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, in Piscataway, N.J. (AP Photo/Sarah Stier)

5. Vegas is taking a bath because of Rutgers: Imagine for a moment, your entire gambling day was riding on Rutgers. After you finish shuddering over that thought, come back to me. 

On Saturday morning, Patrick Everson, a reporter for, unveiled just that scenario. In a Twitter thread, Everson quoted Scott Shelton, a shift manager at the Mirage sportsbook in Las Vegas, as saying Rutgers-Minnesota was potentially the book's biggest game of the day. More specifically, the Mirage would be a six-figure loser if the Golden Gophers covered. 

I stared at that tweet for a while because I was so amazed by it. The Mirage's day rode on Rutgers covering, which has been a non-starter recently. On Oct. 12 when Rutgers was at Indiana, Darren Rovell reported 17 percent of the total money bet across the more than 100 William Hill sportsbooks was on Rutgers-Indiana. Seventeen percent is an absurdly-high number, especially given the early Saturday slate included Texas-Oklahoma. 

As we all know, the Hoosiers covered -27.5 and -28, which led to intrigue as to how much the Golden Gophers would be favored by. The line opened at -30, and dipped only slightly. Bettors were not deterred by giving such a big number, and why should they be? Rutgers hasn't covered since Aug. 30 against UMass, and has few signs of life in weeks. 

Liberty is going to be favored here on Oct. 26. The only question is, by how much. 

Josh Newman is currently the beat reporter for Rutgers University sports. He's a native of Commack, New York, on the north shore of Long Island, and is almost entirely free of his New York accent. Contact him at