Rutgers vs. UConn Preview

By Matt Sugam

1. Can Rutgers avenge last year’s loss?

Rutgers (4-0, 1-0 Big East) traveled up to UConn (3-2, 0-0 Big East) for their final game last season with a chance to win a share of that elusive Big East Title. The Huskies kept the Scarlet Knights from doing so with a 40-22 shellacking. A game a few Scarlet Knights haven’t forgetten. As No. 21/22 Rutgers pursues the school’s first Big East Title, the road continues with – as they like to say – their Big East Championship game against Connecticut on Saturday.

2. How will Rutgers offensive line do against UConn’s pass rush?

Getting after the quarterback is one UConn’s defense best attributes. They lead the Big East with 13 on the season. Rutgers hasn’t given up what they call “a true sack” this season. (They have two due to intentional grounding penalties). The once beleaguered unit of the past two seasons has exceeded expectations thus far. But the Huskies will be the Knights toughest test.

3. How will Rutgers defensive line depth be?

On Tuesday head coach Kyle Flood revealed that Rutgers lost their starting nose tackle Ike Holmes for the season. He also didn’t have high hopes for defensive lineman Al Page (lower leg). Fortunately for the Knights, Michael Larrow (suspension) and Marvin Booker (lower leg) return. Still, the defensive line rotation, and if there are enough guys to keep everybody fresh remains to be seen.

This games key player is…

Sam Bergen

With Michael Burton out for the season, Bergen is thrust into the starting role.  It will be the first career start for the redshirt sophomore, who switched from middle linebacker to fullback in the spring. Head coach Kyle Flood said the offense won’t change in Burton’s absence, and Rutgers likes to utilize their fullback.

The sophisticated fan will be watching…

Kyle Federico

The true freshman has been inconsistent all season. After looking like a top-notch kicker against USF,  Federico missed his two field goal attempts against Arkansas. The true freshman insists he hasn’t lost confidence. And he better not have. With how close Rutgers vs. UConn has been in recent years – aside from last season – the game could come down to Federico’s leg.

Fourth and short

UConn’s defense is ranked number one in the Big East. So naturally, it’s the best defense Rutgers has faced this season.

Quote of the week

“We didn’t expect to go out there and kill them and get a share of the Big East Title, but regardless of what’s going on at the particular time, it’s more about us than them.” – Khaseem Greene on the UConn game last year.

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