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Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Rutgers Week ... DaGeek's breakdown of this team and game prediction.
For the last 16 years the Scarlet Knights have tried and failed to find the magic to defeat the Mountaineers. They have fielded some really lousy teams and some pretty talented teams but still and again they have not been successful. This years incarnation of the Knights team is predicated upon a strong and incredibly opportunistic defense. In fact, they lead the nation in turnovers forced at 25. That breaks down to 3 1/2 turnovers forced per game. Those kind of marks will put a lot more W's in the column than L's. They play an aggressive and tough nosed defense which gives up on average 16 points per game; 122.1 yards on the ground per game at about 3.7 yards per attempt; and 184.1 yards in the air per game at about 12.4 yards per catch. Another very impressive statistic for the Knights on defense is there ability to get off the field on 3rd down. They are only allowing a 3rd down conversion 33% of the time. Greg Schiano remains a Coach on the "chopping" block (pun intended). He has therefore found a way to motivate this side of the ball to do the things necessary to win. Rutgers has proven to be tough to beat at their house this year and the defense has proven to be the necessary ingredient to that success. Players to watch on defense for Rutgers include # 20 Khaseem Green who leads the team in tackles with a total of 66 tackles 6 of which were for a loss and 2 sacks; #42 Steve Beauharnais 2nd leading tackler with a total of 37 tackles 9 of which were for a loss and 3 sacks as well as 2 interceptions; # 91 Justin Francis has 27 tackles 7 of which were for a loss and 4.5 of which were sacks; #4 David Rowe who has tallied 3 interceptions; and #32 Duran Harmon who has tallied 4 interceptions. These 5 play-makers are just a portion of this turnover causing machine.
On special teams Rutgers has been average in the kicking game their kicker Justin Doerner on kick offs, gives teams an average starting point of the 27 yard line. His punts net an average of 38.6 yards. The place kicker San San Te has connected on 60% of his attempts and has a long of 50 yards that he has hit from 2 times. Coach Schiano has this part of the game as I said looking average. But they have been effective enough to tally 5 wins thus far.
Rutgers offense has been the problem for the Knights this year averaging 28 points per game with 91.7 yards per game with 2.7 average per gain, and 236.1 yards in the air at an average of 11.6 yards per reception. Where they have really hurt themselves is the 15 interceptions and 12 fumbles. On offense if you know no other name to pay attention to it better be # 6 Mohamed Sanu who has had 65 catches for 683 yards for a 10.5 yard average per catch tallying 6 touchdowns. He has as you can see been averaging over 10 touches per game. He is Rutgers offensive weapon. He also returns punts. He has thrown the ball and rushed the ball. When he is on the field WVU needs to know where he is! Rutgers is starting a quarter back in Gary Nova who is only making his 4th collegiate start. He has been prone to throw picks and has made youthful mistakes but has found a way, as I have alluded to earlier, to find Sanu. He has completed 55.3% of his passes for an average of 148.3 yards per game with 7 touchdowns against 5 interceptions. As you can see his numbers against the teams numbers fall a bit short. This experiment for Greg Schiano may prove to be his undoing this season (though, I agree with building for the future this Coach just doesn't have that kind of time.) Rutgers has an almost serviceable running game with Javon Jamison leading the way with 62.7 yards per game and 1 touchdown along with the highly touted Savon Huggins who has toted the ball for an average of 19.4 yards per game with 5 touchdowns. The Rutgers faithful were hoping to see more touches for Huggins this season but circumstance and youthfulness have gotten in the way of that plan. He should be a good one in the future, but as I said the player that must be found on this team is Sanu.
As I have repeatedly said in this post I think Coach Schiano is in trouble this season if he doesn't produce. This team has started off fast recently and sputtered down the end so the New Jersey faithful are in put up or shut up mode with him. WVU has been an Achilles heal for him since he has been there, thus this game takes on particular importance to him. I expect nothing short of Rutgers best game this Saturday.
Geno Smith is going to have to a much better job avoiding pressure and make great decisions on passing the ball. I expect that he will be ready to do just that, as I also expect, Coach Holgorsen is motivated to get that losing taste out of his mouth. Will the defense be able to match Rutgers in both getting off the field and in turnovers? Irvin, Garvin, Goode, and Miller need to get in the face of Nova and force him to make mistakes. And we need solid games from our entire defensive backfield dealing with the always moving and hard to stop Sanu. Coach Casteel needs no extra motivation as he too was disgusted with last weeks disappointments. The coaching staff really needs to do their best job of the year to get this team where it needs to be. I am confident that they shall do just that. I see this game ending WVU 38 Rutgers 24.
This game shall be televised regionally on ABC at 3:30 pm.