What classic Rutgers moments were missing in this game?
- A blocked kick (!!!!) by Rutgers
- The Rutgers defense giving up a 4th and long
- The corner seats in the student area and upper decks near-empty
- Late-arriving fans (we've got to lead the country in that stat)
- The burning of all second half timeouts wayyyyy too early
- The defense surrendering a late 4th quarter touchdown
- Crappy punting
- A staple of the Rutgers offense: 3-yard pass on 3rd and 8
- With 43 seconds, 65 yards to go, and no timeouts left, our QB was throwing 5-yard routes over the middle to the tight ends
- Regardless of who took responsibility, the ball was spiked on 4th and 21. You read that right.
The Final Drive
I feel like I need to address the final Rutgers drive with 43 seconds left.
The first play was a 5-yard out route to a tight end. The yards aren't worth the time in that situation. That was followed up by a 5-yard attempt over the middle. Finally, someone realized that there were no timeouts and the team needed a touchdown. Laviano made a great throw over the middle to get Rutgers to the Michigan State 40 with 27 seconds left. There were two bad incompletions (one of them over the middle) followed by Chris Laviano taking a sack.That made it 4th and 21 at midfield with the ball being snapped with 4 seconds left. I won't talk about what happened next. I will talk about the awful play calling, though. Leonte Carroo was being pressed in mainly single coverage. The Spartans could not cover Carroo for the previous 59+ minutes of the game. Instead of throwing the ball down the field to the best player on the field, whoever was calling the plays felt it was appropriate to have him run slants and inside routes. The was possibly the worst play calling of the evening.
You are all aware I am #TeamRettig but I actually feel pretty sorry for Chris Laviano. He played the game of his life and will get shredded by the media for one play that his head coach took responsibility for. For the previous 59+ minutes, Laviano made every big throw he was asked to make and each throw he made seemed to outdo the previous as his best of the season. His 3rd TD to Carroo was absolutely beautiful on both ends. I was seeing shades of Gary Nova against UNC in Laviano in this game.
Player of the game: Offense
This one was too easy. Carroo was easily the best player on the field. On his first touchdown, he put the DB on skates and proceeded to burn him across the back of the end zone. On his second score, he simply ran right by the cornerback and then came back and made a great aggressive catch on a slightly under-thrown pass. His third score was the combination of a beautiful route and thrown. It may seem like Carroo had to come back and catch another under-thrown pass, but it was a perfect ball. Laviano put it in the perfect spot where the DBs couldn't catch it and it wouldn't lead Carroo out of bounds. Carroo gave himself plenty of separation to make that play.
Player of the game: Defense
As per usual, Gause was flying all over the field. He had 2 TFLs and was instrumental in the front seven's dominating performance. He was consantly matched up in coverage as well and did a good job holding his own. He is the true leader of this defense and had his boys fired up and intense.
Where it went wrong
Rutgers' DBs are all 6-foot+ and were constantly getting mossed by MSU players. The worst of all came on a 3rd and long on Michigan State's final drive. As he did at lease 5 times before, Connor Cook lofted it up to the sidelines. His receiver went up and made a great leaping grab with a defender all over him. This was the play where Rutgers could've gotten the ball back and tried to win. As some would put it, that play was an absolute drive-killer.
Final Notes and Thoughts
- The crowd was embarrassing and did not have a "big-game" feel.
- Joe Nolan, the PA announcer has officially lost it. Of anyone in the stadium, he made the most mistakes and it wasn't even close. Comical, actually. He had not idea what was going on.
- The marching band has great potential, but need to be a lot louder during their halftime show.
- The students were loud as always, but were also late arrivers.
- Norries Wilson changed shirts or something at halftime. Not sure why.
- Why was Leonte Carroo not thrown the ball 20 times?
- Kiy Hester made a bad play when he got injured. He was late to the play and did not play the ball and as a result, got hurt.
- Where the hell was this team against Washington State and Penn State?
- This season is still not over
- See you next week, Indiana!