By: Eric Finelli
Rutgers 24 – Tulane 12
Well, I can’t say the game played out the way I had hoped, but in the end a win is a win. It seems like the coaching change had no impact on the Scarlet Knights, because it was the same old story: The offense was awful and the defense was spectacular. The defensive unit made crucial stops, and only allowed a late fourth quarter touchdown. Want a stat that shows just how dominant the defense played? Tulane was held to eight rushing yards the entire game. Eight rushing yards. That’s impressive no matter who you’re playing. Tulane’s two running backs were held to 10 yards apiece on 11 carries. The pass rush also made its presence felt, sacking the quarterback three times and providing pressure on almost every drop back. An interception returned for a touchdown and a blocked PAT capped off a remarkable performance for the Rutgers defense. One thing I was looking for this weekend was how the defense played in the absence of Schiano, and they did not disappoint. The offense was a whole other story.
Gary Nova looked lost out there on the field for a solid three quarters, and then only slightly less lost in the fourth. He looked timid, nervous, and missed quite a few throws that a college quarterback should be expected to make. An overthrow of Brandon Coleman who was open in the end zone almost inspired me to pull my hair out. Nova also left a couple balls out to dry that could’ve easily been picked off. You’d think that because he stares down the receiver for so long he’d at least be able to make an accurate throw. The ground game wasn’t spectacular, either. Apart from Jawan Jamison’s breakout TD run, Rutgers wasn’t finding much room to work with on the ground.
Kyle Flood really has his work cut out for him to improve this offense, and not much time to do it; Rutgers opens Big East play when they face USF on September 13th. I was really hoping to see the Scarlet Knights dominate this game and outplay their opponents, but what I saw instead was a lackluster effort on the part of the offense. The D played as well as anyone could expect, but the guys on the other side of the ball have some catching up to do.
P.S., Those chrome Rutgers helmets are awesome