Like us to subscribe
There's no doubt that the Rutgers University football program wouldn't be at 5-1 without its special teams and for the second time this season Monday, a player, senior cornerback Brandon Jones, earned the Big East Conference Special Teams Player of the Week honors. In a Rutgers victory over Navy, 21-20, Saturday, Jones blocked a possible game-winning 34-yard field goal by Jon Teague with 4:43 remaining in the game.
"I thought Brandon Jones did it exactly as he was coached, extended his body — sacrificed his body," said Rutgers coach Greg Schiano. "Do you know how much that hurts when you lay out and land? It doesn’t feel real good. That was a heck of an effort."
Jones also caught his second career interception in the win.
Also being reconized this week were Rutgers juniors, linebacker Khaseem Greene and wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, who each made the Big East honor roll. Greene made a collegiate-best 14 tackles, while Sanu caught 10 balls for 100 yards.
Meanwhile, the University of Cincinnati's senior running back Isaiah Pead earned the Offensive Player of the Week, while the University of Connecticut's freshman defensive back Byron Jones won the Defensive Player Of the Week.
Pead ran for 151 yards and scored the go-ahead TD with 50-yard scamper early in the fourth quarter to help the Bearcats earn a 25-16 victory over the University of Louisville. Meanwhile, Jones scooped up a third-quarter fumble and ran it 10 yards into the end zone to help the Huskies beat the University of South Florida, 16-10.
Mohamed Sanu of Rutgers is looking like the first Big East Conference player who will be taken in the 2012 NFL Draft
Just when Rutgers University football fans thought that its quarterback situation was settled, freshman Gary Nova struggled in a 21-20 victory over Navy Saturday in a non-conference contest at High Points Stadium in Piscataway, NJ. Nova’s Week 7 play has put some doubt in the mind of head coach Greg Schiano, who needs to decided if Nova should earn his third start of the season Friday at the University of Louisville in a primetime (8 p.m. on ESPN2), Big East Conference match up.
“We are just going to evaluate who gives us the best chance to win,” coach Greg Schiano said of his QB situation. "It is the same guy who rolled that dig into Tim Wright in the back of the end zone — that is an NFL throw. That is a third guy down and he just nails that thing.
“You are going to live with some growing pains, but not at all costs. We have another good quarterback on the roster and (offensive coordinator) Frank (Cignetti) and I talk all the time about it. Sometimes you make some decisions on your gut and you go with it.”
Nova did post a collegiate-best 271-passing yards against the Midshipmen, but his second-quarter interception — which was a pass tipped by Navy linebacker Matt Warrick and landed in the arms of safety Chris Ferguson, who ran the ball 16 yards into the end zone — made a lot of Rutgers fans cringe.
Nova, who finished the game with two INTs, did rebound with two second-half passing TDs, the last was a 20-yarder to wide receiver Tim Wright and it gave Rutgers a 21-17 lead with 12:57 remaining in the fourth.
However, Nova’s heroics didn’t last long. On the Scarlet Knights’ second to last possession, and the score 21-20 after a 41-yard field goal by Navy kicker Jon Teague with 7:52 remaining, the true freshman threw an interception deep inside Rutgers territory.
Luckily, the Scarlet Knight defense and special teams showed up — Navy took over at the Rutgers’ 23-yard line and had a go-ahead field goal blocked — and helped Rutgers escape with the win and improve to 5-1 overall, just one more win away from becoming bowl eligible.
“I really don’t care,” Nova said after the win. “The win is all that matters in the end. We did it for each other. We played hard and we got the win.”
Nova is correct. A victory is all the matters and Schiano needs to stick with his freshman through his on-and-off play. It’s obvious that Nova is the best quarterback on the roster and the only way that he’s going to learn is to play and make mistakes.
“Nova needs to relax and let the game slow down – those are qualities that come with time,” wrote SB Nation’s blog On The Banks Sunday morning in its post-game recap, “and he is already far ahead of the curve in those respects. It’s that Nova is so ordinarily polished that his gaffes seem that more inexplicable. He looks like an upperclassman most of the time, but every so often, his inner freshman comes to the surface in forcing passes instead of being content to dissect the opposing defense by finding an open receiver.”
If next week, sophomore quarterback Chas Dodd, who started Rutgers’ first four games before being pulled midway through the third quarter against Syracuse University, is starting then Rutgers will not be taking a step forward, but a step back.
Schiano needs to stop with the game-by-game analysis and work with Nova to get better. This quarterback “controversy” doesn’t help build chemistry, it ruins it. It forces players not named Chas or Gary to pick sides and that’s never good to have in a locker room — especially, in a locker room with grown talent that needs to find consistency.
In a way, Schiano can be played for his team’s inconsistency because of his stance on his quarterback situation — and his offensive line situation, and the running back situation. The Scarlet Knights are six games into the season, they should know, at least a little bit, of what they have and what they don’t have. Right now, Schiano is coaching Rutgers like he’s an NFL coach on the hot seat and needs to win to keep his job.
No worries coach. This isn’t the NFL and your team has a bright future. Now, commit to it.
The Rutgers University football program is getting used to winning ugly, much like it did Saturday afternoon in a 21-20 victory over Navy in a non-conference contest at High Points Stadium in Piscataway, N.J. The victory helped the Scarlet Knights (5-1, 2-0 Big East Conference) move to within one win from becoming bowl eligible. Something nobody, at least this early in the season, saw coming.
"(the University of Cincinnati and Rutgers) nobody picked anywhere near the top of the conference are now one win away from becoming bowl eligible," wrote ESPN.com's Big East blogger Andrea Adelson Sunday. "Both were 4-8 last season; both sit at 5-1 headed into next week. Both hit the road next week: Rutgers is at Louisville; Cincinnati goes to USF."
Here's what the SB Nation blog On The Banks had to say Sunday morning:
Getting by with a large turnover margin is sustainable over a season. It is not sustainable over a long-term basis, and it is certainly subject to week-to-week fluctuations as we saw yesterday. Looking at the raw underlying stats, Rutgers should have beaten Navy by double digits. The Scarlet Knights had a considerable edge in first downs, total yardage, and time of possession. Navy won the turnover game though, and shockingly were not called for one single chop block all game. Navy is a good team, who have been the recipients of some bad luck and a tougher-than-normal schedule. However, RU is significantly better, and they win by a larger margin if yesterday's game was replayed multiple times.
Despite there being some question marks -- such as its quarterback position -- Rutgers is now a stunning 5-1 on the season and a early-season contender in the Big East. Wow!
Rutgers University rallied from a 10-point third-quarter deficit to defeat Navy, 21-20, in non-conference college football action Saturday. The Scarlet Knights are now 5-1 on the season.
Rutgers trailed Navy, 17-7, late in the third quarter when Gary Nova connected with Quron Pratt for a 10-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to three. On the very next possession Nova led Rutgers on a 66-yard touchdown drive capped off by a 20-yard pass to Tim Wright, giving Rutgers their first lead since early in the first quarter.
Navy was driving late in the game, but had a field goal blocked that would have given them a late lead. Blocked kicks has been a problem for Navy all season who had a 35-yard extra point blocked in overtime against Air Force, and a field goal blocked against Southern Mississippi last week.
Ironically Navy blocked a 41-yard field goal attempt by Rutgers with 30 seconds remaining, which would have stretched the lead to four and all but iced the game. However, even with the blocked kick, Navy still needed to drive 70 yards in 24 seconds, without any timeouts. The game ended three plays later when Navy's quarterback was sacked by Steve Beauharnais.
Nova finished 23-of-31 for a career-high 271 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Mohamed Sanu bounced back from a two-catch game against Pitt with a 10-catch, 100-yard performance. Running back Jawan Jamison rushed for 101 yards on 22 carries, the first 100-yard performance of his collegiate career.
Rutgers is at Louisville next week in Big East Conference action before returning home to host No. 13 West Virginia.
For more Rutgers reaction check out our Rutgers blog On the Banks.
After allowing an NCAA record 61 sacks last season, the Rutgers University football program's offensive line was looking for consistency in 2011. However, six weeks into the season, the Scarlet Knights (4-1, 2-0 Big East Conference) are still trying to find a settled starting five.
On Saturday against visiting Navy (2 p.m. on ESPN3), Rutgers will again have another mix of players rotating in-and-out on the offensive line, which has seen eight different players start this season.
"Andre Civil (LT), Desmond Wynn (LG), Caleb Ruch (center), Betim Bujari (RG) and Kaleb Johnson (RT) are the listed as the starters on the two-deep," wrote Tom Luicci Thursday. "But the absence of a running game combined with some leaky pass protection has prompted Schiano to do more shuffling in the offensive line..."
The Daily Targum's Steven Miller recapped the offensive line's inconsistent starting five Thursday.
"The unit trotted out three different starting lineups through five games. The right tackle never played a down of college football through the first two weeks but played every snap since. The right guard was deposed, returned and now plays every other offensive series. The center sees more time at left tackle."
Despite all the swapping, there's some potential in this young offensive line. Currently, true freshman Johnson has pretty much cemented a spot at right tackle, while redshirt freshman Betim Bajari is at right guard. If those two can develop a chemistry on the right-side of the offensive line, then that promises to be an assets for the rest of the season and for the future. Also, the line is on pace to allow just 26 sacks this season, which is a much better mark than last year.
For right now, the Rutgers starting five is a work in progress, but as long as the Scarlet Knights continue to win the fan base can live with it.
A week after shocking the Big East Conference with a decisive 34-10 victory over the University of Pittsburgh, the Rutgers University football program will shift gears back to non-conference play as it hosts the Navy Midshipmen Saturday (2 p.m. on ESPN3) at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, N.J. The Scarlet Knights (4-1, 2-0 Big East) will try to put together their first four-game winning streak in two seasons during Homecoming Weekend, while the Midshipmen (2-3) will be trying to shake off their first three-game losing streak since 2002.
If you're unfamiliar with the Navy football program, here's a brief scouting report on the Midshipmen.
What Ken Niumatalolo has done in his first three seasons as the leader of the Midshipmen can only be described as stellar. In three years as head coach Niumtatlolo has lead the Midshipmen to a bowl game. His 29 wins are the most in school history by a coach in his first four seasons at the helm.
The Midshipmen finished the regular season 9-3 and earned a bow berth to the Poinsettia Bowl, but lost to San Diego State University, 35-14.
The Midshipmen run the famous triple-option offense, which features a lot of running and very little passing. Currently, Navy leads the nation in rush attempts (60.8) and yards per game (366.0). Senior starting quarterback Kriss Proctor is 23rd in the nation in rushing (104.8), while senior fullback Alexander Teich ranks 26th (102.0). Teich is averaging 5.2 yards per carry.
"They count on the big play. Corners falling asleep and the secondary falling asleep, that’s how they score points. They need to hit two or three of those a game," Rutgers senior cornerback Logan Ryan said about Navy Wednesday. "That makes my job harder, just to be precise every play knowing that they might run the ball six or seven times before they throw it. That makes you’re job harder as a corner because you have to be on your A-game every play and not be caught by surprise."
However, the Navy offense has been known to speed things up.
"... They've gone now to the no-huddle," said Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano Monday during his weekly teleconference. "So they're running no-huddle, triple-option, which, if it wasn't hard enough before. So now instead of running the play, they start the guy in motion, and the whole group looks to the sideline, not every play, but a bunch of plays. It's going to be a challenging week."
Senior fullback Devon Diggs (21 carries, 111 yards) and junior running back John Howell (17, 229) could also see some action this Saturday.
If there's one thing that the Scarlet Knights could exploit Saturday, it's the Navy defense. Currently, the Midshipmen's defense is ranked 119 out of 120 Football Championship Subdivision schools. During the last two games, Navy has allowed 13 TDs, 943 total yards and has allowed its opponents to convert 17-of-24 (70.8 percent) on third downs.
"Our pride’s been hurt on defense," Niumatalolo said earlier in the week. "We’re a very proud defensive team. We’ve been a team that’s prided itself on playing hard-nosed football, and these last two weeks have been uncharacteristic for us. Our deal is we’re going to go back and do what we do and just go to the basics. I’ve great faith that we’ll respond. That wasn’t us. That’s not who we’ve been."
Navy can show up and play against anybody as was shown in a Week 3 loss, 24-21, to the University of South Carolina, which currently is ranked No. 13 in the AP Poll and No. 15 in the USA Today poll3. However, if the Scarlet Knights are for real they should be able to easily handle the Midshipmen.
It's not often when playing a true freshman quarterback leads to victories. However, this has been the case for the Rutgers University football program, which has won three straight games and on Monday announced, through its head coach Greg Schiano, that true freshman quarterback Gary Nova will start his second straight game Saturday against visiting Navy (2 p.m. on ESPN3). Currently, Rutgers (4-1, 2-0 Big East Conference) is atop of the league standings.
Nova, who played sparingly during the first three weeks of the season, made his first collegiate start last week and helped lead the Scarlet Knights to a decisive, 34-10, upset victory over Big East Conference foe the University of Pittsburgh. Nova finished the game 11-of-24 with 174-passing yards and two touchdowns. Most importantly, Nova didn't throw an interception.
|2011 - Gary Nova||4||83.0||32||68||47.1||412||103||6.1||4||0||7||-60||-15||-8.6||0||-||-|
In Week 5 at Syracuse University, Nova didn't start, but entered the game midway through the third quarter after starting quarterback, sophomore Chas Dodd, struggled to get the offense moving. With the game 13-3 in favor of the Orange, Nova went 13-of-21 with 118 yards and tossed a game-tying touchdown to junior wide receiver Mohamed Sanu with 2:09 remaining in regulation. Rutgers completed its come-from-behind victory, 19-16, in double overtime.
A day later, Schiano was uncertain about who would start against Pittsburgh saying that he was going decided later in the week. In the end, Nova got the starting nod.
"We see potential all the time,' said Schiano on Monday. "The reality is we had one quarterback in our program that had ever taken a college snap. So we thought it was critical that Gary gets snaps just in case he needs to go in."
"As things began to evolve, those snaps served him well Saturday and served him well in the second half at Syracuse."
It seems as if Nova is the best option for this young but talented Rutgers squad, which is also slowly developing true freshman running back Savon Huggins. Being a personal witness of Nova's performance against Syracuse, it was clear the Scarlet Knights offense had a lot more potential with Nova than Dodd. Moving forward, Nova is the answer for Rutgers not Dodd, who will make a very nice serviceable backup.
However, Rutgers fans know how back-and-forth Schiano came be about his quarterbacks. Earlier last year, Schiano couldn't decided on starting either Dodd or sophomore quarterback Tom Savage. Like Dodd, Savage began the year as stater, but in the end lost out to Dodd. Savage transferred after the season.
Scarlet Knights faithful can only hope Schiano sticks to his guns on this one and makes it clear to everyone that the quarterback will be Nova. Of course, everyone needs to hope that Nova continues to play well and progress as the season goes along.
We'll email you a reset link.
If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.
You must be a member of SB Nation New York to participate.
We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation New York. You should read them.
You must be a member of SB Nation New York to participate.
We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation New York. You should read them.
Choose an available username to complete sign up.
In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.