Rutgers had a huge setback last week, but the season is far from over.
The Scarlets Knights lost 35-23 at home to Kent State in a game that derailed their perfect season. Fortunately, the team is still in good position to reach a BCS bowl by winning the Big East title.
With a 4-0 conference record, the team is currently tied with Louisville on top of the Big East. Rutgers controls its own destiny, but it will need to follow these keys in order to keep putting marks in the win column.
It is almost impossible to win when you turn the ball over seven times in a game. That is exactly what happened when Rutgers suffered its first loss of the season to Kent State.
The normally accurate Gary Nova threw six interceptions, and it gave his team no chance to win the game.
Nova had only thrown three picks heading into the game, so this is not something that should be a concern going forward. However, it showed a blueprint of what it takes to beat this team.
Louisville and Cincinnati are both good at forcing turnovers, so the Scarlet Knights have to be very careful with the football in order to keep winning.
Get the Ball to Jawan Jamison
Jamison broke out at the end of last season with 131 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the Pinstripe Bowl. Since then, the running back has been on a tear, with six 100-yard games out of eight this season.
In the two games that the junior finished with less than 100 yards, Rutgers had its only loss and its closest win of the year over Syracuse.
Nova is a solid quarterback, but the offense is much more effective when it goes through the running game. The Scarlet Knights must continue to get the ball to its best player in order to control the clock and score points.
Stop Getting Penalties
Although the team has gotten better in recent weeks, penalties have been a killer to the Scarlet Knights this season.
They are currently ranked No. 114 in nation with 8.38 penalties per game, costing them an average of 67.38 yards.
With an elite defense, the penalties are rarely a problem. However, the offense is not good enough to afford the type of mistakes that it has suffered.
The schedule gets more difficult in the coming weeks, so the team cannot beat themselves with penalties.