CFN Take: Rutgers Slammed By Spartans
2014 Rutgers Scarlet Knights ... Head Coach: Kyle Flood
2014 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Nov. 22 at Michigan State 45, Rutgers 3
2014 Schedule |
Aug. 28 at Wash St W 41-38
Sep. 6 Howard W 38-25
Sep. 13 Penn State L 13-10
Sep. 20 at Navy W 31-24
Sep. 27 Tulane W 31-6
Oct. 4 Michigan W 26-24
Oct. 11 OPEN DATE
Oct. 18 at Ohio State L 56-17
Oct. 25 at Nebraska L 42-24
Nov. 1 Wisconsin L 37-0
Nov. 8 OPEN DATE
Nov. 15 Indiana W 45-23
Nov. 22 at Michigan St L 45-3
Nov. 29 at Maryland
And You Care Because … Michigan State dominated from the start, getting up 35-0 at halftime on two touchdown runs from Jeremy Langford from 18 and 38 yards out, a one-yard Nick Hill run, and two Connor Cook scoring passes. Rutgers finally got on the board late in the third on a 44-yard Kyle Federico field goal, but Michigan State scored ten unanswered points in the fourth on a 23-yard Michael Geiger field goal and a 16-yard Hill run.
What Else? Total yards: Michigan State 520 – Rutgers 234
- Michigan State RB Jeremy Langford ran 16 times for 126 yards and two scores
- Rutgers QB Gary Nova completed 11-of-26 passes for 108 yards and two scores
- Michigan State QB Connor Cook completed 16-of-24 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns
Game Rating: D
Nov. 15 at Rutgers 45, Indiana 23
And You Care Because … Rutgers overcame a monster day from Tevin Coleman with two touchdown passes to Gary Nova to Leonte Carroo from 34 and 46 yards out in the second half, and Robert Martin ran for scores from two and 47 yards out before putting the game away with a one-yard run in the final minutes. Griffin Oakes kicked three field goals for the Scarlet Knights, but it was Coleman who had the whole IU offense to himself, running for a 67-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Shane Wynn caught a 28-yard touchdown pass to pull IU within eight in the fourth, but Rutgers pulled away on the second Carroo scoring catch.
What Else? Indiana RB Tevin Coleman ran 32 times for 307 yards and a touchdown
- Rutgers WR Leonte Carroo caught five passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns
- Indiana WR Shane Wynn caught 11 passes for 120 yards and a score
- Third down conversions: Rutgers 4-of-14 – Indiana 1-of-15
Game Rating: B-
Nov. 1 Wisconsin 37, at Rutgers 0
And You Care Because … The Badgers never let it get interesting in sloppy conditions as Melvin Gordon and Corey Clement each ran for two touchdowns, and Rafael Gaglianone hit field goals from 32, 27 and 46 yard out. Gordon started the scoring with a 13-yard touchdown run, and Clement came up big next with a 43-yard dash. Gordon started out the third quarter with a 51-yard touchdown run, and Clement closed things out with a 36-yard run.
What Else? Total yards: Wisconsin 385 – Rutgers 139
- Wisconsin RB Corey Clement ran 14 times for 131 yards and two scores, and Melvin Gordon ran 19 times for 128 yards and two touchdowns
- Rutgers QBs combined to completed 7-of-27 passes for 63 yards and a pick
- Wisconsin QB Joel Stave completed 7-of-16 passes for 81 yards
Game Rating: D
Oct. 25 at Nebraska 42, Rutgers 24
And You Care Because … Ameer Abdullah set a school record for all-purpose yards in a game tearing off touchdown runs from 53 and 48 yards out in the second quarter and adding a 23-yard scoring dash in the fourth as Nebraska won in a route. Rutgers tied it in the first on a 71-yard Leonte Caroo touchdown catch, but the O didn’t get back into the end zone until late in the third getting short touchdown runs from Desmon Peoples and Robert Martin after the game was out of reach. Tommy Armstrong Jr. ran for a 16-yard score and threw an eight-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Westerkamp for the Huskers.
What Else? Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah ran 19 times for 225 yards and three touchdowns, caught two passes for 26 yards, and returned two kickoffs for 90 yards
- Rutgers QB Gary Nova completed 8-of-19 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown with a pick
- Nebraska LB Zaire Anderson made 11 tackles with a tackle for loss and a broken up pass
- Third down conversions: Nebraska 8-of-13 – Rutgers 4-of-12
Game Rating: C+
Oct. 18 at Ohio State 56, Rutgers 17
And You Care Because … J.T. Barrett was on fire, running for two touchdowns and throwing for three others as Ohio State rolled by Rutgers. The Buckeyes took a 14-0 first half lead on Barrett’s first touchdown pass and a one-yard Ezekiel Elliott run, but Rutgers stayed in it with a one-yard Desmon Peoples run. OSU scored 42 straight points highlighted by a 33-yard Barrett run in the third and 26-yard pass to Nick Vannett in the second.
What Else? Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett completed 19-of-31 passes for 261 yards and three touchdowns, and ran seven times for 107 yards and two touchdowns
- Rutgers QB Gary Nova completed 17-of-28 passes for 192 yards and an interception
- Ohio State averaged 8.1 yards per carry – Rutgers averaged 3.9
- Rutgers: 3 turnovers, no penalties – Ohio State one turnover, four penalties
Game Rating: C-
Oct. 4 at Rutgers 26, Michigan 24
And You Care Because … Gary Nova threw for 404 yards and three touchdown passes including scoring plays to Andrew Turzilli from 80 and 14 yards out on the way to a 26-17 lead. Michigan stayed in the game on short touchdown runs from Devin Gardner and Derrick Smith, and Gardner ran for another touchdown from 19 yards out midway through the fourth to help the Wolverines pull within two. But they’d get one more chance, and they couldn’t make the most of it as Matt Wile’s 55-yard field goal attempt was blocked.
What Else? Rutgers QB Gary Nova completed 22-of-39 passes for 404 yards and three touchdowns
- Michigan QB Devin Gardner completed 13-of-22 passes for 178 yards and a pick, and ran ten times for 40 yards and two touchdowns
- Third down conversions: Rutgers 8-of-16 – Michigan 4-of-11
- Penalties: Rutgers 9 for 85 yards – Michigan 3 for 30 yards
Game Rating: B
Sept. 27 at Rutgers 31, Tulane 6
And You Care Because … Rutgers got up 21-0 and coasted with Gary Nova throwing three touchdown passes early on with two to Leonte Carroo from three and 25 yards out and highlighted by a 93-yard play to Andrew Turzilli. Tulane answered the fireworks with an 86-yard Sherman Badie touchdown dash, but Rutgers responded in the second half with a tight defense and a third Carroo scoring grab.
What Else? Rutgers WR Leonte Carroo caught seven passes for 140 yards and three scores.
- Tulane offense: 152 rushing yards, 152 passing yards. Sherman Badie ran 12 times for 108 yards and a score, but 86 came on the one touchdown play.
- With no Paul James – who’s out for the year with a torn ACL – Rutgers got 83 rushing yards from Desmon Peoples on 21 carries and 83 yards on 12 carries from Justin Goodwin.
- Yards per pass: Rutgers 13.9 – Tulane 5.2
Game Rating: C-
Sept. 20 Rutgers 31, at Navy 24
And You Care Because … After nearly letting a double-digit lead slip away, Rutgers used a goal-line stand in the waning moments to hold off Navy in Annapolis. The Scarlet Knights overcame an injury to leading rusher Paul James by getting 186 combined rushing yards from Justin Goodwin and Desmon Peoples. The Midshipmen twice pulled to within a touchdown in the second half, but a couple of key sacks of Keenan Reynolds preserved the win for Rutgers.
What Else? Goodwin ran for a workmanlike 104 yards and a score on 26 carries. Even more impressive, though, was the fact that he was one of the Rutgers’ starting cornerbacks in the opener.
- In a rarity, Navy QB Keenan Reynolds was more effective as a passer than a runner. He was 12-of-22 for an uncharacteristic 231 yards and a touchdown to Brendan Dudeck.
- It’s not often that an opponent outgains Navy on the ground, but that’s what Rutgers accomplished Saturday. The Knights outgained the Mids, 284-171, while keeping Reynolds in check.
- Rutgers got a huge day from its defense, including nine tackles for loss, four sacks and three forced fumbles. DE David Milewski got in on two of those sacks and one of the forced fumbles.
Game Rating: B
Sept. 13 Penn State 13, at Rutgers 10
And You Care Because … Christian Hackenberg and Geno Lewis led the way on a late 80-yard drive finished off with a five-yard Bill Belton touchdown run to give Penn State the win and Rutgers its first loss in the Big Ten. The Scarlet Knights took a 10-0 lead in the second on a 14-yard Gary Nova scoring run and a 32-yard Kyle Federico field goal, but it was all Penn State in the second half with two Sam Ficken field goals to cap off two long drives. Rutgers’ final drive ended with a pick.
What Else? Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg completed 25-of-44 passes for 309 yards and a pick. Geno Lewis caught six passes for 109 yards and DaeSean Hamilton caught eight passes for 103 yards.
- Rutgers RB Paul James ran six times for 51 yards.
- Rutgers came up with five sacks and eight tackles for loss, and QB Gary Nova completed 14-of-30 passes for 192 yards and five picks.
- Penn State CB Trevor Williams was second on the team with five tackles and two picks.
Game Rating: B-
Sept. 6 at Rutgers 38, Howard 25
And You Care Because … Rutgers rolled up a 31-7 first half lead and finished with four Gary Nova touchdown passes on the way to a rout. Paul James scored three times on pass plays from 69 and 31 yards away and a seven-yard scoring run. Howard scored 12 fourth quarter points, but the game was well out of reach.
What Else? Gary Nova took target practice, completing 15-of-19 passes for 282 yards and four touchdowns.
- There was a chance late of the game being called because of lightning, but it finished.
- Paul James ran 13 times for 43 yards and a score, and caught two passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns.
- Rutgers allowed 6.4 yards per carry. Howard ran 42 times for 269 yards and four touchdowns.
Game Rating: D
Aug. 28 Rutgers 41, Washington State 38
And You Care Because … Rutgers’ power overcame the Washington State flash as Paul James ran for three touchdowns including a three-yard score with just over three minutes to play to cap off a 17-point fourth quarter, and then it was up to the defense to come up with one final stop – it did. Rutgers started off the season with a 78-yard touchdown catch from Leonte Carroo on the first play from scrimmage, but Connor Halliday and Wazzu bombed away for 532 yards and five touchdown passes. The Cougars had control of the game, but a fumbled punt gave Rutgers new life late leading to the final James score from three yards out.
What Else? Connor Halliday was terrific, completing 40-of-56 passes for 532 yards and five touchdowns with a pick, and Vince Mayle caught 12 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown, but Rutgers applied pressure in key spots. Halliday was only sacked three times, but he was beaten up.
- The Scarlet Knight combination of Kemoko Turay and Steve Longa were all over the place and popped Halliday time and again. Turay came up with two sacks.
- Rushing yards: Rutgers 215, Washington State 6. Paul James ran for 173 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries.
- This was a great moment for the Big Ten. Rutgers few to the opposite side of the country and powered its way to a win that’ll be a decent feature in its new conference’s cap. It was a gut-check game needing to come up with some key plays late, and it did.
Game Rating: A
To be kind, the Rutgers athletic department could use something positive to focus on.
It’s been a rough run for Scarlet Knight athletics, known more for the Mike Rice fiasco than for anything that has happened on the field or court, but with the big, giant, huge move to the Big Ten, suddenly the narrative should change. At the very least, the football program has a chance to make a national name for itself if it’s able to rise up and make some noise in the new league.
The fit seemed like a natural ever since Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany started throwing out the idea of expansion and realignment. The Big Ten has a network it wants to sell advertising for, Rutgers has one of the few programs that has anything to do with the New York City market, and from academics to school size to alumni base, it all works out from a business perspective for the league, and it obviously ups the football profile in a huge way for Rutgers.
Now it’s up to the team to be more than just a speed bump in the nasty Big Ten East.
Flying slightly under the radar in recent years with nine-win seasons in 2011 and 2012 before a rocky 6-7 campaign last season, it took a little bit of rebuilding, but this could be a really, really deep sleeper to do big things in its inaugural year.
The run defense was a killer last season – okay, partly because everyone was having too much fun bombing away on the beleaguered secondary – and it should be dominant up front. Nine starters return to an offense that was inconsistent, but showed enough life to potentially shine on the ground with a loaded backfield to work around.
But after sputtering through the American Athletic Conference, and previously beating up on mediocre Big East teams, can Rutgers avoid the flake factor?
The Scarlet Knights lost in a wild 52-51 shootout with Fresno State to start the season, and was able to come back to beat Arkansas, but they were obliterated by Houston, Cincinnati and UCF, and lost to a horrible UConn team. Two years ago, they were strong enough to beat a good Cincinnati squad and gave a great Louisville team all if could handle, but it lost to Kent State and dropped their final three games of the season.
There aren’t any real layups in the Big Ten schedule, but Rutgers won’t be the automatic win that several big boys might think it’ll be. It’ll be head coach Kyle Flood’s job to provide the right attitude, and the pieces might really be in place for this to be a fun campaign.
What to watch for on offense: The offense that couldn’t seem to find its identity and couldn’t come up with anything it could reliably count on should be far more explosive and far more dangerous with new offensive coordinator Ralph Friedgen – the former Maryland head coach – taking over. The big key will be to take control of games early on, and the Scarlet Knights might be able to do it with a very deep, very quick, very talented backfield working behind a line that gets all five starters back. Time of possession was an issue throughout last season, and too often the passing game had to start bombing away to keep up the pace after the secondary got torched on a regular basis, but if a backfield with Paul James, Justin Goodwin, Savon Huggins, Desmon Peoples and Devan Carter can shine, all of a sudden, the tone of games will change.
What to watch for on defense: With all due respect to Ohio State’s phenomenal front and Michigan State’s tough line, Rutgers has the potential to crank out one of the best front fours in the Big Ten starting with a pair of undersized but ultra-athletic tackles who can get into the backfield and are extremely active against the run. In a perfect Big Ten world, you’d like to have a couple of 310-pound monsters in the middle to gum things up, but that’s not how the Scarlet Knight defense works. This might not be the most physical group, but it’s able to swarm around the ball and it’s great against the speed teams, allowing over 200 rushing yards just once last season after reloading from a fantastic 2012 season when the front seven gave up just 1,263 rushing yards and six scores.
The team will be far better if… the secondary can start coming up with more stops. The pass rush helped the cause with 32 sacks and consistent pressure, but that didn’t seem to matter to a secondary that got ripped apart for 236 yards per game and allowed 300 yards or more a whopping nine times. Everyone got fat on the Scarlet Knight secondary with Fresno State’s Derek Carr rolling for 456 yards and five scores, SMU’s Garrett Gilbert throwing for 484 yards and five touchdowns, and Cincinnati quarterbacks combining for 507 yards and six touchdowns. Not surprisingly, Rutgers gave up 300 passing yards or more in all seven losses, and only managed to get past Eastern Michigan and SMU in wild shootouts. With Washington State coming up in the opener, and with Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg, Michigan’s Devin Gardner, Ohio State’s Braxton Miller, and the Indiana passing game to deal with, the secondary has to be night-and-day tighter.
The Schedule: The Scarlet Knights need as many breathers as they can get, and starting out the season against Washington State in Seattle isn’t a way to do it. Four of the next five games are at home, with relatively easy non-conference dates against Howard and Tulane, with the one road game at Navy. Penn State starts out life in the Big Ten, and Michigan comes to Piscataway on October 4th.
The schedule the following weeks couldn’t be more brutal after playing Michigan, but at least there’s a week off before going to Ohio State, going to Nebraska and hosting Wisconsin. The team deserves another week off after that, and there aren’t any major breaks with the Indiana game the final home date of the year before closing out at Michigan State and at Maryland.
Best offensive player: Junior RB Paul James, but watch out for sophomore RB Desmon Peoples, one of the stars of spring ball, and fellow backs Savon Huggins and Justin Goodwin. It’s been a long, long time since Ray Rice was dominating the Rutgers running game, helping the team average 4.78 yards per carry with a 2,012-yard season in 2007, but the combination of backs should help the offense roll against most Big Ten defenses. James is a good-sized, tough back who can move the chains and come up with big runs now and then, and he should be rested with all the other options to keep him fresh.
Best defensive player: Sophomore LB Steve Longa. Defensive tackle Darius Hamilton could turn out to be the most important and most disruptive defender, but it’s Longa who held things together against the run last season with a team-leading 123 tackles
at middle linebacker. The Scarlet Knights play around with several different formations, and go to a 4-2-5 more often than not, but it’s Longa who has to clean up most of the messes making double digit stops in eight games. Consider it a shock if he isn’t one of the Big Ten’s leading tacklers.
Key players to a successful season: Senior CB Gareef Glashen and sophomore CB Anthony Cioffi. The pass rush will shine, but unless the pass defense is far better, the team isn’t going to improve. That means the corners have to shine and be positive factors. The Scarlet Knights came up with just eight picks last year and linebacker Jamal Merrell led the team with two. The corners didn’t just struggle to come up with big plays; they struggled to make plays, period. Glashen was a spot starter who was okay, but allowed too many bombs, and Cioffi took over late and got his feet wet.
The season will be a success if ... the Scarlet Knights win seven regular games and get to a bowl game. Expect many to predict doom and gloom against a schedule that sees Michigan, at Ohio State, at Nebraska, Wisconsin and at Michigan State, but Rutgers might be just good enough to win at least one them. Getting by Washington State would be nice, and beating Penn State, Navy, Tulane and Indiana is a must. There could be problems if a 13th game depends on beating Maryland on the road in the final game of the regular season, but if all goes well, the bowl bid should be secured by then.
Key game: Sept. 27th vs. Penn State. Considering the two schools are only around 220 miles apart, and considering their respective roles the college football world in the northeast part of the country, it’s a little bit of a shock that they’ve only met 24 times. The last matchup was in 1995 – a 59-34 Penn State win – and Rutgers is just 2-22 in the series, coming up with a win in the first game in 1918 following the victory over Hoboken Navy. Unfortunately, the momentum didn’t continue, losing the next week to Great Lakes Navy 54-14. This year, it’s the Big Ten opener with Rutgers desperately needing this win with Michigan, at Ohio State, at Nebraska and Wisconsin up next in conference play.
2013 Fun Stats:
- Third Down Conversions: Opponents 82-of-197 (42%) – Rutgers 65-of-184 (35%)
- Rushing Yards Allowed: 100.8 per game – Passing Yards Allowed: 312 per game
- Punt Return Average: Rutgers 11.4 yards – Opponents 6.4 yards
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