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Battle of the Knights: Week 12 News & Notes

Everything you need to know as Rutgers gets ready to face Army at West Point on Saturday.

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, Rutgers (3-7) heads to West Point for the first time since 2009 as they take on Army (2-8). With just two games left on the schedule, reaching six wins this regular season won't be possible. However, as I wrote last week, a bowl berth at five wins is a possibility. Here's everything you need to know as the Scarlet Knights look to keep their dwindling bowl hopes alive.

Injury Report

I wrote about this week's lengthy injury report in full yesterday, which you can check out right here.

After his scary helmet-to-helmet collision that caused him to be stretchered out on Saturday, good news has emerged about C Derrick Nelson, who left the hospital and is back with the team. Somewhat incredibly, Nelson might play on Saturday. He is questionable with an upper body injury.

It's possible Rutgers' already-thin secondary may be without both starting safeties on Saturday, as SS Davon Jacobs (upper body) has been ruled out, and FS Anthony Cioffi is questionable with an upper body injury.

Some good news: WR Leonte Carroo (lower body) is probable after making his return against Nebraska, as is RB Paul James. While James has been active for the past two games, he has not seen the field as he has dealt with a lower body injury. However, his probable designation for this week suggests he'll see game action against Army.

Here are some of the big names that popped up on this week's injury report.


* SS Davon Jacobs (upper body)

* RB Desmon Peoples (upper body)

* WR John Tsimis (lower body)


* FS Anthony Cioffi (upper body)

* C Derrick Nelson (upper body)

* LG Dorian Miller (upper body)

* LG Tariq Cole (upper body)

* WR Andre Patton (upper body)


* WR Leonte Carroo (lower body)

* RB Paul James (lower body)

* LT Keith Lumpkin (upper body)

* RG Chris Muller (lower body)

* WR Janarion Grant (lower body)

* MLB Kaiwan Lewis (upper body)

* WLB Steve Longa (lower body)

Flood Speaks

Kyle Flood met with the media on Monday to discuss Saturday's visit to Michie Stadium. Here are the highlights.

* Flood opens by saying preparing for Army's triple option is "one of the great challenges in all of college football," and says they are looking forward to it.

* A reporter asks if it is difficult to face Army this late in the season without a bye, and Flood acknowledges it is. However he says the team has been preparing since the beginning of the season, so this week is not the first time they've addressed preparing for the triple option.

* Addressing the injuries on the offensive line, Flood says the first priority is finding the starting center in case Nelson and Miller don't play. Once they put the right guy at center, they'll figure out who will start at guard and tackle.

* When asked what playing Army means in light of the recent attacks in Paris, Flood says he likes to play the academies not only because of the regional football aspect, but because it gives his team a chance to pay respect to the players on their teams. He tells a story about an Army football employee who once told him that going to practice is the easiest part of the players' days, which Flood says really puts things into perspective.

* Flood says the key to defending the triple option is remembering that they will challenge the defense on each play in three phases: the dive, the quarterback and the pitch. Flood notes that is important to address all three phases on every play.

* Flood points out that Army's offensive attack is similar to the Navy offense Rutgers faced last year. He adds that when Rutgers plays Army or Navy early in the season, they'll install this defense during spring practices, but since this game is so late in the season, they did not install it this past spring.

* A reporter asks who will take on Cioffi's role if he can't play this weekend. Flood replies that a lot of guys will have to pick up the slack, and given they will face the triple option, the defense will likely have a different look anyway.

* Flood is asked if going up against the triple option allows his young secondary a bit of a break against the pass. Flood points out that Army's receivers are averaging over 17 yards per catch, and while they might not throw it as much as some teams Rutgers has faced this year, when Army throws the ball, they get chunk yardage, so Rutgers will need to be prepared for that.

* Flood says Army's defense is a little more conventional, and very similar to what Navy does on defense. He says Army probably gets more pressure than Navy does.

* Flood says he thinks James is ready to return this week, and thinks he's ready to make explosive plays again.

* Flood is asked if the injuries will give him an opportunity to look at some of the younger players. He singles out DE Jon Bateky, who got a good amount of playing time against Nebraska. He calls Bateky "an exciting guy", but doesn't anticipate going out of their normal rotations to get him extra playing time.

Knight Knotes

* Saturday will the 40th meeting between Rutgers and Army, dating all the way back to 1891. Rutgers leads the all-time series 21-18.

* This is the first matchup between the two since 2012, when the Scarlet Knights won 28-7 at High Point Solutions Stadium.

* Rutgers is 9-0 against the Black Knights since 1998.

* Army's only two wins have come against Eastern Michigan and Bucknell, but they have played close games against some bigger name teams. In September, they lost to UConn by five and Wake Forest by three. In October, they fell just short of upsetting Penn State in Happy Valley, with the Nittany Lions escaping with a 20-14 loss. Last week, they were edged out by Tulane 34-31.

What do you think? Will Rutgers be able to get by, even with the offensive line in shambles? How will the defense hold up against the triple option? Is Army better than their 2-8 record suggests? Sound off in the comments below!