Rutgers looks to bounce back at Kansas, Sitkowski better

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              Rutgers quarterback Artur Sitkowski drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
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PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) — Rutgers freshman quarterback Art Sitkowski is feeling better and coach Chris Ash expects him to play this weekend against Kansas.

Sitkowski hurt his right shoulder in Saturday’s 52-3 loss at No. 4 Ohio State when sacked by Nick Bosa in the waning seconds of the first half with the Scarlet Knights trailing 35-0.

“He feels great,” Ash said Monday. “Obviously, Saturday didn’t feel real good, but he was here this morning, feels way, way better compared to where he was on Saturday. Felt better yesterday, felt a lot better today. Right now he’ll be practicing. He’ll be limited for a little bit, but it really is just going to be about him dealing with the little bit of pain. But we don’t anticipate him not playing next Saturday.”

It is uncertain how much Sitkowski will practice this week as Rutgers (1-1) prepares for Saturday’s game at Kansas (1-1).

“I really trust the guy. I think he’s a smart guy, but anytime you don’t practice I think you’re worried,” offensive coordinator John McNulty said.

Senior Gio Rescigno replaced Sitkowski against the Buckeyes.

Defensively, the Scarlet Knights may once again be without star cornerback Bless Austin.

Austin, who tore his ACL last season, injured his knee while making a leaping interception in the first half of the season opener vs. Texas State. He did not play against Ohio State.

“He’s still a wait-and-see, still going to be a week-to-week,” Ash said. “He’s not necessarily day-to-day, he’s week-to-week. Still gathering some more medical information for him to make a decision about his knee. He feels great, but he’s got a future (in the NFL) that he’s worried about, also. So we’re just trying to get him as much medical information as we can from a lot of different doctors. He’s going to see another one tomorrow. He’s seen a few already.”

Ash said cornerback Tre Avery’s health is improving and he hopes he return to the secondary this weekend. Ash also expects safety Kiy Hester to be able to play.

While Kansas appears to be a more accurate litmus test for Rutgers than Big Ten power Ohio State, Ash doesn’t necessarily see it that way.

“I don’t look at it as a measuring stick,” Ash said. “I look at it as a game that we need to go out and play better and we need to go out and try to win. One of our goals this season is to try to win our non-conference games. We do think that that’s really important. We play in a tough league. We play in a tough division, and we need to win our non-conference games, and this is a non-conference game that we need to go out and win.”