By Matt Sugam
1. Can Rutgers get over the hurdle at Cincinnati?
They’re just 1-6-1 all time at Nippert Stadium. The lone win came in 1987, 18 years before Cincinnati became a member of the Big East. The most recent loss – and one that many members of this year’s defense were apart of – was the 69 point shellacking in 2010. If Rutgers wants to win that elusive Big East Title, getting over the hurdle of winning at Cincinnati would be a big help.
2. Will a new quarterback affect Rutgers?
A game and a half ago, Cincinnati head coach Butch Jones pulled a struggling Munchie Legaux and went with Bendon Kay. Kay has played well enough to keep the job, and most importantly, has not turned the ball over. That means Rutgers is preparing for a quarterback that they have less than six quarters of meaningful football to watch film of. Not to mention that if Kay struggles, Legaux could come in, which is something else they have to prepare for.
3. Can Rutgers stop the slow starts?
They average 8.4 points in the first half and just 17.8 points in the second half. Now they hit the road to take on a Cincinnati team that averages 34.2 points a game in the spread offense. Given the Scarlet Knights struggles at Nippert Stadium, they don’t want to make this more difficult on themselves by having to rally in the second half because of another sluggish start.
This games’ key player is…
Even if Jawan Jamison can play, he won’t be 100% with a sprained ankle, which means that whether he plays or not, Huggins will get an increased workload. The once prized recruit hasn’t lived up to the hype with just 165 yards on 52 attempts as Jamison has become the feature running back. Now can be Huggins’ chance to show what he can do as the workhorse running back.
The sophisticated fan will be watching…
The offensive play calling
Head coach Kyle Flood said this week that the offense won’t change given the situation with Jamison. Whether or not that’s just part of the cat and mouse game coaches play or actually the truth remains to be seen. Either way, unless Huggins finally lives up to the hype, this offense won’t be the same without a healthy Jamison.
Fourth and short
While it’s odd for this late in the season, this is Rutgers first Big East game in a month.
Quote of the week
“Any time you can get to this point in the season and go into a Saturday game and know you’re playing for a championship, I think that is what you dream about as you are growing up as a football player, as you’re coming up through this profession as a coach.” – Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood