Rutgers, aiming for program turnaround, faces Syracuse

NCAA Football

Since its most recent 2-0 start, Rutgers has experienced a significant amount of losing and has turned to a familiar face in hopes of a program turnaround.

The Scarlet Knights (1-0) began the second season of coach Greg Schiano’s return with a blowout win. On Saturday, they will seek their first 2-0 start since 2014 when they visit Syracuse.

Rutgers opened 2-0 in 2014 by beating Washington State and Howard en route to an 8-5 season and the team’s mst recent bowl appearance. The 2014 campaign also is the Scarlet Knights’ most recent winning season; after that they went 13-47 before Schiano returned last season for a 3-6 season that saw them get road wins vs. Michigan State, Maryland and Purdue.

Schiano also coached Rutgers from 2001-11.

Rutgers is heading to Syracuse after opening the season with a 61-14 rout of Temple last Saturday in a game in which the Scarlet Knights scored the first 26 points. Aron Cruickshank had a career-high 206 all-purpose yards while Noah Vedral completed 15-of-27 passes for 138 yards and directed eight scoring drives that featured six rushing touchdowns.

“We have a lot of work to do,” Schiano said after his defense forced five turnovers. “It was nice to be able to win the game convincingly in the second half and be able to learn from all the mistakes we had from a good victory. But we’ve really got to get better here between now and next Saturday going up to Syracuse.”

Syracuse is playing at home in front of fans for the first time since 33,719 watched its 39-30 overtime victory over Wake Forest on Nov. 30, 2019.

The Orange lost their last five home games last season while going 1-10.

Syracuse (1-0) returns home after opening this season with a 29-9 win at Ohio on Saturday.

Sean Tucker finished with a career-high 181 rushing yards, including a 47-yard gain on the Orange’s second play.

Quarterback Tommy DeVito completed 11-of-17 passes for only 92 yards in his first game since suffering a leg injury against Duke on Oct. 10.

“It feels good to start off on the right foot,” DeVito said. “It definitely helps get that bitter taste out of your mouth that we’ve been holding on to for a long time now. But we have another opponent coming up next week, and we have to focus on them.”

–Field Level Media

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