The final score at 20-3 does not necessarily indicate a blowout. In terms of the scoreboard, Rutgers did not go up by more than two scores until the fourth quarter. In terms of on-field play however, Rutgers turned in its strongest performance of the year. This was more lopsided than even the Pitt game, which was pretty competitive for three quarters or so. The Scarlet Knights left considerable points on the field, preventing this game from turning into an all-out blowout reminiscent of their 2005 contest. Both certainly shared a breakout performance by a freshman tailback, even if Jawan Jamison has a ways to go before he can draw comparisons with Ray Rice. It's been quite a while since any Rutgers back ran for daylight with a 200 yard performance on the ground.
Clearly, Cincinnati was missing quarterback Zach Collaros, with no Bearcat feeling his loss more than back Isaiah Pead. Rutgers had struggled defending power backs like Darrell Scott earlier in the season, but was able to successfully shut down Pead absent the presence of Collaros. Why couldn't Cincinnati unleash freshman QB Munchie Legaux as USF did with Daniels? Legaux played well against West Virginia, but they don't have a very good defense. Cincy's play calling yesterday was a little confusing though. They stuck with Pead even after going down big. That made sense given how poor Legaux looked as a passer, but why not pull out the B.J. Daniels playbook, and try to get Legaux some momentum on rollouts and such? Part of it was not having to face Collaros, but Greg Schiano's defense turned in a textbook performance. How great was it to see that a week after facing the option?Rutgers has more of an up-tempo, spread look yesterday, which was somewhat masked by the long drives and breakout Jamison performance. RU was able to drive for most of the game yesterday, but had some struggles in the red zone, and those long drives masked a few lucky breaks. The Knights won't always be able to convert 3rd and long plays with big completions, and Chas Dodd was fortunate to avoid turnovers on a few errant throws. Worse still were all of the false starts on offense, which are inexcusable for a home game.
Random notes, as there's not all that much to digest in a blowout victory:
- Mark Harrison didn't play all that much. Brandon Coleman had a nice catch actually on what was a very high throw by Dodd.
- Sanu didn't see the ball much, with a couple near misses on what could have been big plays.
- Losing D.C. Jefferson to an injury could be a problem if he's out for an extended period of time.
- The offensive line was mediocre in pass protection, which was somewhat masked by all of the big runs. Betim Bujari was rotating in here and there for Art Forst.
- Michael Burton continues to spell Joe Martinek a ton at fullback.
- The odds are still in favor of Louisville or West Virginia winning the conference, but it sure was nice to see Rutgers keep its composure with a lot at stake. A lot of the scenarios are out of their control, and all Rutgers can do is not stumble against an inferior UConn opponent.