Rutgers coach Ash yet to find any success vs. OSU

Bill Rabinowitz
brabinow@dispatch.com
Ohio State running back Demario McCall gets stopped by Rutgers place kicker Justin Davidovicz on a kickoff return during the third quarter. [Jonathan Quilter/Dispatch]

Chris Ash’s fond memories of Ohio State are probably receding.

Ash was instrumental in the Buckeyes’ defensive success as an assistant coach in 2014 and 2015. As Rutgers' coach, he is finding that Ohio State is a measuring stick his team hasn’t come close to meeting.

At least Rutgers scored Saturday; it was the first time in his three games against Ohio State as coach that has happened. But kicking a field goal in a 52-3 loss is little cause for consolation.

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“Obviously, we ran into a really good football team today,” Ash said. “When you play teams like this, especially on the road, the margin for error is very, very small. We made a lot of mistakes, and you just can’t do that against good teams. It was disappointing. We were hoping we could come and play a better football game, but we didn’t.”

Rutgers is expected to be improved this season and signed a blue-chip quarterback in the spring. But Artur Sitkowski was knocked out of the game on the last play of the second quarter on a sack by Nick Bosa.

Ash took the blame for that.

"I wish I would’ve taken a timeout,” he said. “We didn’t. We had a quick pass called. We had to protect, and unfortunately it didn’t work out. But I should’ve taken a timeout.'

Sitkowski was taken to the Rutgers bench for a couple of minutes for evaluation before going to the locker room.

“From what he says, he’s fine,” Ash said. “But we have to get back home, evaluate him tomorrow and find out what exactly happened.''

Rutgers was overmatched from the start. The Scarlet Knights had only one first down in the game’s first 25 minutes and averaged only 2.2 yards per play. On defense, they allowed Buckeye quarterbacks Dwayne Haskins Jr. and Tate Martell to complete 30 of 33 passes for 354 yards and five touchdowns.

“When you can’t generate a pass rush, it’s going to be really hard to play good pass defense, and then when you make some mistakes in coverage on top of that, it makes it even worse,” Ash said.

Despite the thrashing, Ash remained upbeat.

“I love our team,” he said. “It didn’t work out like I had hoped. We have season goals that we set at the beginning of the season. All of those goals are still out there. We need to learn from our mistakes and get better.”

brabinowitz@dispatch.com

@brdispatch

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