Rutgers Arrives With Three Wins
After kicking off their season with three victories, Rutgers will travel to Fayetteville for a match-up against the Razorbacks for the first time ever Saturday. A win against the Razorbacks would mean a 4-0 season for Rutgers so far, which would be the second time since they joined the Big East Conference in 1991.
This year, Rutgers promoted their assistant head coach Kyle Flood to head coach, and his era has gotten off to a great start.
The Scarlet Knights won their first three games 24-12, 26-0 and 23-13. They had a combined total of 509 rushing yards and 575 passing yards, setting the stage for what looks like an increasingly strong offense.
Rutgers’ shutout against Howard continues Rutgers’ record of one shutout every season for the past seven seasons, the only team in the nation to do so.
Running back Jawan Jamison has been a standout player in the first three games, running 112 yards in 18 carries in Rutgers’ first game against Tulane, then 110 and 151 yards in the next two games. In his career, Jamison now has four consecutive games under his belt of 100 or more rush yards. Jamison also broke a school record in rush attempts with 41 attempts.
The rushing offense has asserted their dominance over all the teams the Scarlet Knights have played so far. However, the passing offense is just as good, maintaining a higher, yet very close, yardage to the rushing offense with an average of 191.7 yards per game.
Rutgers has controlled the ball, on average, for more than half of each game they play. Although a longer possession time does not always mean a higher score, it shows that Rutgers has been playing patiently with the ball, giving them more time to look for options.
However, the offense’s weak point could be their third- and fourth-down conversions. With 40 percent at third-down and no successes out of two attempts at fourth, Rutgers seems to not take risks when it comes down to the wire.
The offense is not the only worrisome piece of the Rutgers team. The Scarlet Knights defense boasts three consecutive games in which it has held its opponent to less than 100 rushing yards.
Linebacker Khaseem Greene has recorded his fifth straight game of 10 or more tackles while cornerback Brandon Jones grabbed two interceptions in this season alone. Defensive back Wayne Warren and linebacker Jamal Merrell have also intercepted passes this season, proving their hands and eyes to be crucial to the defensive side of Rutgers.
The special teams have been acclaimed for many years now as well. Rutgers blocked three kicks in its first two games of the season and has lead the nation in blocked kicks since the beginning of 2009.
Rutgers is a well-rounded team with few apparent weaknesses. Their future play will be dependent on the health of the team, but if all goes as they plan, the Scarlet Knights will have a winning season to give to new head coach Flood.