Just as the passing game was starting to look good again, Nova gets injured in the first quarter and never returns for the entire game. Chas Dodd filled in admirably, yet the offense never found a consistent rhythm without its entrenched starter. How serious is the injury? Can't say yet. The school is keeping mum on the matter, so we'll have to wait for Flood's press conference. In the meantime, here are some key points to take away from the game:
- Paul James. 3 more touchdowns. That is all.
- Quron Pratt had an amazing day on special teams. The senior wideout broke open a kickoff return for a touchdown, as well as had a few other great returns. He came pretty close to a blocked punt as well.
- Brandon Coleman continues to have his weekly quintessential drop-that-shouldn't-have-been. Looking at some early mock drafts, Coleman isn't even listed in the top 5 for wide receivers, and his hands could be the reason. He has all the measurables, but he'll have to make those tough catches to be a lock for the first round. Chas Dodd threw a good-looking ball to him in the second half, dropping it right over his shoulder. The defender made a good play, but that was a very catchable ball.
- Speaking of Dodd, the offense just doesn't move as well with him under center. It's most likely due to Nova getting all of the first-team reps, but unfortunately you can't split those reps between two quarterbacks. Nova was moving the ball really well on his only drive, hitting all of his receivers on the money. Dodd definitely struggled with some placement, and even had a ball batted down at the line (only because he stared down his receiver on the throw, not due to his height).
- The defense hasn't made the progress you wanted to see from the first game, getting gashed through the air by EMU quarterback Tyler Benz. Benz threw for 355 yards on 24 or 40 passing. Not exactly the numbers you want to see from a mediocre MAC QB. Outside of a trick play, the EMU offense consisted mostly of short range passes to the outside. Honestly, without Tyreese Russell, the Eagles would have been in serious trouble. Unfortunately, RU had no answer for him in this game.
- Tackling is a serious issue. They really need to go back to the fundamentals of the wrap, considering how many times Benz was able to escape the initial tackle for loss.
- In other injury news, Dallas Hendrikson did a sufficient job filling in for Betim Bujari. Jeremy Deering played for a couple of series, but Tejay Johnson played virtually the entire game for him. Jamil Merrell also got some fourth quarter reps.
Finally, you can't say enough about the class of the Rutgers football program with the way they handled the number retirement for Eric LeGrand. Kyle Flood waited to enter the locker room at the half to give a very poignant speech, and Eric was once again very inspirational as the new spokesperson for Team LeGrand, a new division of the Reeves Foundation. I'll post a video and some pictures of the ceremony later.
Look for the full recap tomorrow, and don't forget to leave a comment with your thoughts about the game.
Edit: I also wanted to apologize for the lack of tweeting from the OTB twitter account. HPS Stadium needs WiFi or something because my data never works there.