By Matt Sugam
Rutgers traveled to SEC country and defeated Arkansas 35-26. Here’s what we learned.
You knew it was going to happen at some point. And clearly, if Arkansas was going to lose, it was going to be at the hands of Nova. They were stifling against the run, shutting down Jawan Jamison in the first half, holding him to 20 yards on 12 carries. (He ended up finishing with 119 yards on 33 carries). Nova stepped up, leading the Scarlet Knights to victory with the best performance of his young career going 25 of 35 for 397 yards and five touchdowns and no interceptions.
2. Rutgers can handle the national stage.
Ok, so the game didn’t have as much juice as it did prior to the season when Arkansas was ranked No. 8. But with the win, Rutgers opens up eyes around the country. They’ll be ranked in the top 25 this week. And after earning the respect of the Big East last week, the win at Arkansas does the same thing from a national perspective.
3. Rutgers can win without the defense.
The defense had carried Rutgers the first three weeks of the season. That wasn’t the case against Arkansas. They were shredded for 492 yards, giving up several big plays. While they were solid against the run, the vaunted secondary gave up 419 yards and 3 touchdowns. Yes, they were playing the reining all-SEC first-team quarterback in Tyler Wilson, but they were lauded as a top ten secondary in the country by one preseason magazine.
4. Brandon Coleman is going to shatter the all-time touchdown receptions record at Rutgers.
We knew this early on in the season. We just didn’t know it will probably be this year. But with two more touchdowns, the redshirt sophomore now has five on the season and 11 for his career. With eight games plus a bowl game remaining, the 6-foot-6, 220-pound receiver is on pace to break the record of 20 this year set by Tim Brown in 2009.
5. Rutgers hasn’t corrected its penalty problem.
Kyle Flood has been preaching that his team needs to clean up the penalties since the season opener at Tulane. His team has yet to oblige. The Scarlet Knights committed 10 penalties for 64 yards. Fortunately the epidemic hasn’t cost them a game. Yet.