Rutgers ran all over the Army Black Knights in a beautiful scene at Michie Stadium on Saturday.
The fact of the matter is that Rutgers tried to keep Army in the game as long as possible. Chris Carter, Army's 3rd string QB, got the start and set the Army season high for passing yards. He also added over 100 yards rushing on the day.
The Rutgers offense was just about average against an inferior Army defense. They failed to amass 400 total yards, which should be an easy task against an Army defense. Chris Laviano was unimpressive, as he completed 13 of 21 pass attempts for only 105 yards (5.0 avg). He had no touchdowns or interceptions and it was very clear that the coaching staff did not want to use him as a weapon to defeat army. Many of his completions were intermediate throws and bubble screens.
Quite frankly, it was not a great game to watch, as neither team was impressive. Rutgers was irked by the injury bug, as Leonte Carroo, Kevin Wilkins, Kiy Hester, Kaiwan Lewis, and Deonte Roberts were all injured in the game. Hester, Lewis, and Carroo did not return and their availability is up in the air for the season finale against Maryland.
The difference in this game was the Rutgers offensive line, who all helped pave the way for 256 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns. Robert Martin III had 1 TD and 99 yards while RS senior Paul James had 116 yards and 3 scores.
The game was over when...
Josh Hicks, yes Josh Hicks, who has over 600 yards rushing this year, intercepted a Chris Carter pass in the endzone. This led to Rutgers running out the clock on the ensuing drive. Hicks eyed down the QB and baited him into making a bad throw over the middle which he jumped up and grabbed out of the air.
The senior had his best game of the year as he scored 3 touchdowns against the Black Knights. He was constantly falling foward and gaining the tough yards. It was great to see the senior walk-on have a great day in one of his last games as a Scarlet Knight.
The offensive line finally got theirs as they were able to dominate Army's small D-Line. The Rutgers backs were not getting touched until they were well into the hole. Chris Laviano was not pressured immensely either. It was a good day, especially since 3 guys were starting in new positions. Marcus Applefield and Zach Heeman made their first career stars at both guard spots while Chris Muller moved from guard to start at center.
Hicks moved from offense to defense and started at safety for the Scarlet Knights. He recovered a huge fumble in the first half and made the game-sealing interception in the 4th quarter. Could Hicks make a permanent move to defense?
Laviano was Laviano today, which isn't good. He still hasn't thrown a TD since the game against Indiana over a month ago. I just don't see how he gives Rutgers a better chance to win than Hayden Rettig.
Simply put, there is no excuse for giving up so many long drives to a clearly inferior team such as Army. He can't be a Power-5 defensive coordinator if he lets service academies throw the ball all over him.
Not only did Carroo get injured and not return, but he was not playing a great game. he had one nice catch on a bad throw by Chris Laviano, but was relatively quiet the rest of the game. His worst moment was when he dropped an easy touchdown pass that was a perfect throw.
- Josh Hicks made his first career start at safety
- Kevin Wilkins blocked a kick
- Joey Roth averaged 45.3 yards per punt
- No one can kick the ball off on this team, still
- Army did not kick the ball in the direction of Janarion Grant
- There were a lot of Rutgers fans at the game, which surprised me
- Edgar Allan Poe was as good as advertised, but I don't have any good puns
- Vance Matthews had 3 catches, a career high in his first career start
- No tight ends registered a statistic
- Rutgers moves to 4-7, and could be in bowl contention if they beat Maryland next week