Artur Sitkowski, just the third Rutgers true freshman since 1945 to start a season opener at quarterback, led the Scarlet Knights to a 35-7 win over the visiting Texas State Bobcats on Saturday at Piscataway, N.J.
Sitkowski, who initially committed to the Miami Hurricanes before signing with Rutgers (1-0), completed 20 of 29 passes for 205 yards and one touchdown. However, he suffered three interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown.
Ironically, Texas State (0-1) did not have an interception all last season.
Rutgers was also led by sophomore running back Raheem Blackshear and senior running back Jonathan Hilliman, each of whom scored two touchdowns.
Blackshear rushed 12 times for 62 yards and caught seven passes for 56 yards.
Hilliman, a graduate transfer from Boston College, rushed 15 times for 60 yards. He now has 30 collegiate touchdowns.
Rutgers opened the scoring on Blackshear’s 9-yard touchdown run with 9:41 left in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Hilliman scored on a 3-yard run up the middle and through traffic, dragging would-be tacklers as the play resembled a rugby scrum.
Sitkowski then gave Rutgers a 21-0 halftime lead by hitting Blackshear with a 9-yard pass along the left flank. It was Sitkowski’s first career touchdown pass, and it came after he engineered a play-action fake.
Texas State got on the board with 7:17 left in the third quarter. Sophomore cornerback Kordell Rodgers stepped in front of a Sitkowski pass for an interception and raced 51 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown.
But Rutgers answered with Hilliman’s 8-yard touchdown run to give the Knights a 28-7 lead with 1:23 left in the third quarter.
Rutgers put the game away when sophomore linebacker Olakunle Fatukasi pounced on a fumble in the end zone with 9:17 left in the fourth quarter. The fumble occurred when a shotgun snap went through the hands of freshman backup quarterback Tyler Vitt.
—Field Level Media