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Rutgers stays above the fray, silences UConn 19-3

Rich Schultz - Getty Images

There's this bit of advice/a realization that typically at some point is passed down to the vast majority of successful, well-adjusted adults. "It's not worth it." Regardless of any perceived slight, legitimate or not, by letting your anger consume you, and subsume you, one basically gives themselves over in whole to their supposed tormentor. This kind of single-minded fixation is a denial of one's own agency, and capacity for self-realization. It's an acknowledgement that one's own time lacks value, because obviously you are choosing to spend all of your time thinking about someone else. You have to live for yourself and what's important to you. Internalizing this mantra is the key to maturity, and it is apparently a notion that no one involved with the UConn football program has taken to heart. As a result, they justly barely scored any more points than Jim Calhoun's team GPA.

Irony was abound with the notion that UConn somehow was a substantive program compared to a Rutgers football team built solely on flash and glamour. After a week of endless trash talking, and frankly, obsession from the Huskies, it was time to let the players do their talking on the find. Oh, Rutgers talked alright, but it was through their actions. They talked UConn all the way back to their sleepy cow college in Storrs, refusing to get riled up by and lower themselves down to the level of a bunch of classless losers facing a dying season, so desperate for a win that they suited up their star running back in the face of recent charges over an alleged domestic violence incident (which, in fairness, Husky fans are rightly furious about.) There have been better games, but very few times have I been happier to be associated with Rutgers than yesterday in shutting up these blustering idiots. Just like always, the Scarlet Knights kept their head down and executed.

It was by no means a pretty game, reminiscent of Pitt in 2011 in that Rutgers was always in control, but didn't really pull ahead for good until the second half. The play calling was conservative to a fault, mirroring the Tulane and Howard games in style but improving in execution. You can garner why the staff did that. USF and Arkansas are reckless teams that play a hurry-up style and don't give a hoot about time of possession. In theory, UConn is built to play disciplined football, waiting for the other team to make mistakes, and playing with a lead. Rutgers didn't want to fall into that trap, and thus was instead content to shoot itself in the foot. Still, mistakes were abound on the Rutgers side too, which unfortunately prevented this game from turning into the thirty-point blowout warranted by the vast and overwhelming talent disparity on the field. Never mind the pathetic play calling and game management coming from the combination of Paul Pasqualoni and George DeLeone.

UConn probably only has two players on offense (Lyle McCombs and Geremy Davis) who could even earn a scholarship at another BCS conference program. Their defense is better of course, but was lit up the past two weeks by MAC programs. Rutgers could have done that too if they wanted, but eschewed a shootout by choice in favor of winning with ball control and defense. Gary Nova was as efficient as ever, but lacked his trademark aggressive, gun=slinging nature that we saw the past two weeks. It's nitpicking in a win, but I wanted to see more strikes to Tim Wright, who's been sensational as of late. Still, it was pretty much your textbook Rutgers game on offense. Jawan Jamison looked very good. Mark Harrison and Brandon Coleman made plays here and there. D.C. Jefferson did as well while contributing his customary, requisite inexplicable stupid penalties. The interior line struggled a bit early before settling in during the second half, and Betim Bujari had issues snapping the ball all day. We've been spoiled on that front by his excellent start.

The defense was about what you'd expect from playing a complete train wreck. Chandler Whitmer was better than Johnny McEntee, but that's about it; he's very much a QB who couldn't see the field at Illinois. Awful OL play didn't help, with his throws getting rushed all day, and very little room to run all around for McCombs. They have a bit of a dilemma in the sense that they have to run up the middle to keep defenses honest, but McCombs is a burner with no power, so those are basically wasted plays. Jamal Merrell turned in another strong performance at LB along with Khaseem Greene. Scott Vallone was the normal wrecking ball at nose tackle, but has to take on more of a run stuffing role with subbing in Jamil Merrell for Isaac Holmes. Special teams were a bit of a mess between Jeremy Deering's fumble after a big return, a blocked field goal (that should have never been attempted, and a missed extra point (from the backup kicker after Kyle Federico was hurt.) Justin Doerner badly struggled with punts all day. They did down one punt at the 1 though.

Other notes:

  • No, Rutgers fans will never arrive until the second quarter, or get the RU chant right. Best to just learn to accept it and move on.
  • Man, for a school so close by, UConn NEVER travels here, do they? Just a pitiful showing. A lot of the empty seats in the upper section were tickets they returned.
  • It wasn't the greatest spotlight in the world to see the black uniforms missing a period at the end of "F.A.M.I.L.Y" on national television.