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As we get closer to the Russell Athletic bowl, I figured we should have a thread to give some insight on Rutgers tackle football team. Rutgers is 9-3 on the year and was a few plays away from being 10-2 and playing in the Sugar Bowl against Florida. After starting 7-0, they have losses in three of their last five games to Kent State, Pittsburgh, and Louisville. They have wins over two teams playing in bowls, Syracuse and Cincy. They also have a road win against Arkansas.
You will notice that Rutgers looks very similar to VT's 2012 squad.
Rushing Offense - 100
Passing Offense - 83
Total Offense - 100
Scoring Offense - 94
Passing Efficiency - 65
Turnover Margin - 21
Sacks Allowed - 4
Rutgers protects the quarterback very well. Aside from that, this team is wretched offensively. So QB Gary Nova has been very up and down with 22 TD's and 15 INT's on the year. He's erratic at best with a 58% passing completion rate and looks a lot like Logan without the ability to run. Nova had 15 TD's and 3 INT's during the first seven games of the year (Rutgers was 7-0 over that stretch). He threw 8 TD's and 12 INT's over their 2-3 stretch over the past five games including a 6 INT game against Kent State. Six.
Despite being 100th in rushing offense, Rutgers has a 1000 yard rusher in Jawan Jamison. Jamison ran for over 100 yards in six of his first seven games before getting a little dinged up. He's actually a very good back who's very powerful despite being 5'8". Jamison ran for 101 yards in his last three games combined against Cincy, Pitt, and Louisville. He should be healthy for the bowl game and VT must shut them down. They averaged just over 10 points a game offensively over the last three games. Rutgers also has an interesting corps of WR's. Former VT target Brandon Coleman is 6'6", 220 lbs with 10 TD's on the year. He's not a burner by any means, but he can go up and get the football. Rutgers next two leading WR's are Mark Harrison and Timothy Wright who go 6'3", 230 and 6'4", 220, respectively. They have a ton of size, but they really struggle to get open. I don't know a whole lot about Rutgers OL other than they are average to below average. The unit led by first team all Big East OG Antwan Lowery. All in all, this is a unit that is really struggling and I expect VT's defense to play very, very well.
Rushing Defense - 11
Passing Defense - 40
Passing Efficiency Defense - 25
Total Defense - 14
Scoring Defense - 4
Sacks - 73
TFL - 19
Kicks blocked - 1
First and foremost, Rutgers it the best kick blocking unit in the Country. They have blocked eight kicks thus far this year. VT has to be air tight in protecting the punter. A blocked kick in a low scoring game like this could be the difference.
Rutgers is a very, very good defensive unit. They are an undersized unit that excels at getting into the backfield. Their DL goes 240, 275, 275, and 260 from left to right. That is a very small DL, especially in the middle. Thankfully for Rutgers, they have arguably the best LB in the Country in Khaseem Greene. Greene has 125 tackles on the year and is an absolute ballhawk who will be playing on Sundays despite his undersized frame. First team all Big East DT Scott Vallone will likely not be playing on Sundays due to his size, but he's still a very good college player. You really need to attack Rutgers at the point of attack and that's something that VT hasn't done well all year. Rutgers has great quickness, especially in the middle of the defense which should give VT fits up front. Rutgers is not small in the Secondary. Their secondary is led by first team all Big East CB Logan Ryan who could be an early entrant into this year's draft. Ryan is eighth nationally in passes defended and is a very good cover corner. CB Marcus Cooper is 6'2", 185 alongside Ryan and while he's struggled some, he's a very good athlete.
This is a unit that is capable of shutting out Virginia Tech. They have great quickness up front which has been a problem for VT all year. Greene is a future first round draft pick who will be one of the best players VT has seen all year. This guy is a more talented version of Miami's former LB Sean Spence. Rutgers CB's will challenge VT's WR's all game as either CB has the size to run with Davis.
I believe this game will come down to the following keys for VT:
1) Protect the football - VT must win the turnover battle in a game that features two QB's who don't protect the football very well.
2) WR playmakers - This game will feature a lot of 3rd and longs and thus you're going to see a lot of balls thrown way down the football field. Both QB's have really struggled this year with accuracy. Rutgers relies on big plays as they don't have the a unit capable of sustaining long drives; sound similar?
3) Play calling - VT must move the pocked if they have any shot at moving the football. Rutgers is too quick up front for VT's interior OL.
Everyone seems to be predicting a Rutgers win, and if so, the Hokies would end up 0-3 against the Big East.
Rutgers has a better resume than VT and right now they look like the better team on paper IMO.
Im glad everyone is picking Rutgers and they should be the favorite. That is good news for VT. In years past entering bowl games we were the favorite or expected to win and we have struggled.
This post was edited by Crabberhokie757 19 months ago
Agreed - it's odd that most of the media is on Rutgers but Vegas still has VT - 2.5.
I have watched every RU game this year so I have a few points.
First of all, this is a team that is conservative on offense, aggressive on defense, play good special teams (but feature sub par kicking) and are undisciplined (lots of penalties).
A typical bud foster d would shut ru down with easy. The have huge, physical WRs but they drop a lot of balls and have issues with getting open. Their run game is average. Same with the OL. QB is sub par. Play calling is very elementary. I would bring pressure often against this team.
The d is very undersized but they stunt and blitz like crazy. Teams are fooled by the size of their d and run right up the middle, which they shut down. Outside runs are the way to go. Also, passes over the middle are WIDE open because of the constant blitzing.
Don,t be fooled by the record, this is just a mediocre team.
My wife is RU grad and I've watched them all and went to a couple games as well, and I agree with vast majority of your analysis. It would be great to have a TE able to eat up the middle of the field between the blitzing backers and deep coverage.
VT should win. But will they? Logan needs to be the wild card and pound them a bit, and be smart in the passing game. Defense should shut down RU; Nova is as streaky as they come and he could perform well, but when he goes bad, he goes real bad! I see Bud confusing him with blitzes and a few zone blitzes creating INTs.
Rutgers blocks some kicks but their STs are generally mediocre (kicker/punter).
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