The Rutgers defense came out firing on Sunday and held the Northwestern offense to just five plays on their first drive. From there, the Scarlet Knight defense stonewalled the Northwestern offense and kept them scoreless until 19 seconds left in the fourth quarter. This was the only time they advanced into the redzone the whole game. This effort allowed the Knights to easily cleanup the Wildcats 24-7 at home.
The Rutgers defense showed no issue getting off the field as it held the Wildcats to just 4 conversions on 14 third downs and 1-for-3 fourth downs. They had also forced two interceptions, one caught by defensive back Robert Longerbeam and the other caught by Max Melton. This helped Rutgers dominate time of possession by nearly 15 minutes.
The Rutgers pass rush was not going to let the coverage have all the fun as five different rushers sacked the Wildcat quarterback five times for a total loss of 37 yards, including two that caused forced fumbles recovered by Northwestern.
The run defense also had itself a great day and forced the offense to be one dimensional by only giving up a net total of 12 yards on 22 attempts. That’s only half a yard per attempt!
If the Rutgers defense can keep up this type of production not only will it most likely see itself ranked as a Top 25 defense, it will also help the offense immensely. Finding ways to get off the field quickly and create turnovers will give the offense better opportunities to score and tire out opposing defenses. In addition, a good defense will help take pressure off of the Rutgers offense, which has shown improvement but still needs work. If the defense can keep this up, their is reason to believe that the Knights can punch above their weight class sometime this season.