Rutgers simply ran out of time at the end of the fourth quarter vs. Cincinnati. After being awful on offense in the first half, the team was able to eek out 10 points in the second, while only surrendering 3. Unfortunately, it was not enough to get out of the hole they had dug.
What offense can't score three lousy points in one quarter? An offense where the line decides to take a quarter off, and one where Mike Teel and Tiquan Underwood are having miserable years. Cincy DL's looked great today, and their star CB Mike Mickens was very solid working against Kenny Britt. The numbers may not show it because of one half of terrible line play, but Kordell Young actually did look quite good today.
It was the second good defensive effort by Rutgers in a row. The pass rush, which had been neutralized by two straight games against option teams, was back in full force, although they were no doubt helped by the inexperience of Cincinnati QB Chazz Anderson. Bright spots on special teams included San San Te and Teddy Dellaganna (the ball looked like it was carrying today, although Cincinnati benefitted far more), and Tim Brown looks like he should get more opportunities returning kicks. The overall unit still played poorly.
Rutgers still has only one win, and in many aspects, they deserve to only have one win. But let's look at the facts. Rutgers absolutely dominated Navy, and that loss by 2 points was mostly on Teel's shoulders. I think WVU pushed them around in Morgantown, but Bill Stewart almost gave away the game. Today was the tale of two halves, and Rutgers actually showed signs of life before falling again at Nippert Stadium.
How good is UConn? Donald Brown is an absolute stud, and they are very, very good on defense and special teams. Good enough to give bad teams enough rope, and unfortunately there are few teams that applies more to than Rutgers. What UConn sorely lacks is playmakers in the passing game. If a team can jump on them early, and they have to play catchup, I don't think they can come back from a big deficit.
It's a winnable game. In fact, it's a game they should win running away. It's time to start looking forward to 2009, and that means phasing out the team's unproductive seniors. As we've all seen on the offensive line, those changes can mean some growing pains, but it will ultimately be for the best.