Rutgers vs. USF: What We Learned

By Matt Sugam

Rutgers defeated USF on Thursday night 23-13. Here’s what we learned from the Big East opener:

1. Penalties are still killing the Scarlet Knights.

Kyle Flood said that Rutgers needed to clean up the penatlies. They didn’t. The Scarlet Knights had four penalties on their first offensive drive. They had 11 for 85 yards for the game. The penalties stalled drives and killed big plays, including several good runs by Jawan Jamison that were negated. The defense jumped offsides two plays in a row in the fourth quarter to keep a USF touchdown drive alive.

2. Rutgers defense is as good as advertised.

While they looked like one of the best defenses in the country the first two games of the season, the competition was Tulane and Howard. But the defense stepped up to the competition against USF. They were stifling, holding the Bulls to 337 yards and one touchdown. They also caused three turnovers. (Five if you include special teams).

3. Jawan Jamison can be Rutgers’ feature back.

With Savon Huggins (ankle) out, Jamsion got the opportunity to be the workhorse running back. Jamsion thought he could be that guy, but he had to show it to everybody else. And he did. He ran the ball 41 times for 150 yards. He also iced the game with a 41-yard touchdown run with 1:19 remaining.

4. Gary Nova needs to start games more accurately, but still shows flashes.

Just like against Howard, Nova’s passes were a bit awry to start the game. For much of the first half he was throwing the ball too high. His receivers had to go up and grab a bunch of his passes. He did settle in and was more on target as the game went on. The other positives are that the sophomore took better care of the football with no turnovers. Not to mention he’s a cool customer that doesn’t seem to get flustered. He also saved his best work for third down, keeping drives alive by making big throws on the critical down, going 10 of 16 for 8 first downs.

5. Rutgers has the inside track to win the Big East.

With the win, they leapfrogged USF, who was picked second in the Big East preseason poll, while the Scarlet Knights were picked third. And fortunately for Rutgers, they play the team picked to win the Big East at home when they close out the season against. Louisville. With their favorable schedule, things seem to be lining up for Rutgers to win that elusive Big East Championship.

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