Save for 2006 against UNC, Rutgers' always seems to get off to a slow start under Greg Schiano. Win or lose week one, the team never looks as prepared to play top-flight football until mid-season.
Thursday night was no exception. The Knights found themselves in a battle with FCS football team Norfolk State. At half-time, Rutgers led the Spartans 6-0. Why did that happen?
The Rutgers defense was excellent. They pitched the shut out and gave up only 7 first downs. There was only one blip on the radar screen, a 52-yard catch and run which was the result of the perfect play call by Norfolk State. Rutgers had an aggressive blitz called, and the play was a quick screen. Against a better team, the play may have gone for a touchdown.
He was all over the field. Seven tackles and simply had a "presence" at line-backer. As a fan, you were always aware of where he was and expected him to make a play.
Brandon Bing Celebrates a touchdown
The guy was all over the field. Great in coverage, helped out against the run. He has really grown up as a member of the Rutgers defensive backfield. Hopefully he will be able to maintain this level of play when the competition heats up. He also came up with a huge block of a punt that became a touchdown for the Scarlet Knights.
Silvestro in the backfield
All over the field. Blew up the line, made stops in the run game and rushed the passer effectively. He played with a palpable energy and greatly disrupted any rhythm NSU hoped to establish Thursday night.
The guy is just a warrior. He does whatever is asked of him. It is obvious that the Knights need a better option at tailback to take the next step, but Martinek is refusing to let this job go. He rushed for 109 yards and a TD.
Another TD, and a 2-pt conversion for the talented sophomore. He was the only wide-receiver to consistently get open against the N.S.U. secondary.
Made a phenomenal catch in traffic and is underutilized by Savage and the R.U. offense. The guy can make plays with his size and speed. He is a potential force for the Knights this season.
It's tough to kill a kid who threw for a TD and didn't turn the ball over, but he did not play to his potential Thursday night. He consistently held the ball too long and waited for his receivers to run wide-open. He needs to anticipate more and let his play-makers like Sanu make plays.
Drops, and disappearing acts. Where was Mason Robinson in the passing game? Harrison? Stroud? Deering? Some of the lack of passing stats falls on Savage, but these guys weren't consistently beating their man off-the line or down the field.
3 for 5 on field goals is unimpressive, but the kid did hit every single one of those kicks solid. Hats off to the new Long-snapper Robert Jones and new holder Kyle Sullivan who got all 5 snaps and holds down effectively in their first game at Rutgers.
The great: Tremendous block by Brandon Bing, then a good job by Joe Lefeged to pick it up and score.
the good: Mason Robinson's 28-yard return to set up the pre-halftime field goal.
The problem: Robinson is still very tentative on returns. He routinely let the ball bounce and ran away from it losing a lot of yards in field-position. This has been a problem under Schiano on punt-returns since Tres Moses graduated in 2005.