Preview: Ohio at Rutgers

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- The Scarlet Knights return home to host the Ohio Bobcats. The Bobcats started the season off 3-0 and gave Rutgers a run for its money when the two squared off in 2006. ScarletReport.com previews the action.

Ohio (3-0) at Rutgers (1-1)


Time: 2:04 p.m., High Point Solutions Stadium, Piscataway, N.J.
TV/Radio: ESPN3.com, 710-WOR, 1450-AM, 97.5 FM, 88.7 WRSU
Series: Tied 1-1
Last meeting: Sept. 16, 2006: Rutgers won, 24-7
Coaches: Rutgers – Greg Schiano (11th season, 60-64); Ohio – Frank Solich (7th season, 43-36)

Storylines

  • Time to Shine. De'Antwan Williams left the team, which means Savon Huggins will now be fully in the spotlight at running back. Though Jawan Jamison and Jeremy Deering are also in the picture, Huggins will, without question, receive his biggest workload since signing is Letter of Intent to play on the banks.

  • Line Changes. Still seaching for the best five linemen, Schiano elevated youngsters Betim Bujari and Kaleb Johnson to co-starters on the right side of the offensive line. Both will see significant reps against Ohio in an attempt to sure up the pass protection and improve a running game, averaging just 2.1 yards per carry.

  • Tuning Up Ohio is a challenge in its own right, but Rutgers needs to use this game as a springboard step in the right direction. Syracuse and Big East opener are up next week and bringing a two-game losing streak into the Carrier Dome could spell trouble.

Scouting Ohio

On offense, Ohio's greatest threat is its hurry-up offense. In one half last week, the Bobcats ran 50 offensive plays. In comparison, North Carolina ran 57 offensive plays against Rutgers in the entire game.

From a scheme standpoint, the Ohio offense is a combination of a pistol, option look and some run-and-gun. Starting quarterback Tyler Tettleton is mobile with a good arm and leads the offense. Through three games, Ohio scored 44 points twice and 30 points once with Tettleton averaging 192 yards per game in the air and another 30 on the ground.

Quarterback Tyler Tettleton
Defensively, Ohio is strongest in its front seven. Nose-guard Neal Huynh leads the team in overall tackles (20) and TFLs (three). Huynh weighs in at 300 pounds and will be a challenge for the Rutgers interior linemen.

Schiano singled out linebackers Jelani Woseley and Noah Keller as key players as well. The two have 26 combined tackles, 3.5 TLs and an interception.

Matchup to Watch
Ohio's Neal Huynh vs. Rutgers interior line. If Rutgers wants to improve the run-game, it has to go through big-man Neal Huynh. He leads Ohio in TFLs and total tackles and it is up to David Osei, Desmond Wynn and Bujari to keep him out of the backfield.

What Rutgers Must Do Offensively
Execute.No more dropped touchdowns. No more sloppy blocking. For Rutgers to be successful, it needs to eliminate mistakes on all levels, so that the run can be established and the passing game can open up.

What Rutgers Must Do Defensively
Stay Fresh.Ohio is at its best when it dominates time of possession. Expect the Rutgers defense to be on the field often. To contain the unique offensive attack of the Bobcats, Rutgers has to effectively rotate guys in on all three levels so that fatigue does not become an issue.

Three keys for a Rutgers win
Mohamed Sanu
1. Run that ball. Averaging 2.4 yards per carry is not the way to win football games. With a new-look offensive line, Rutgers will have to get the ball in the hands of all three running backs to establish a rhythm. A strong running game is the best way to turn the tables on Ohio and win the time-of-possession battle.

2. Fluster the quarterback. Schiano the praises of Tettleton all week. As a quarterback, he is mobile and has a good arm. The best way to contain the multi-threat quarterback is for the front-seven to get in the backfield and keep Tettleton from getting too comfortable.

3. Play the freshmen. It is time to figure out exactly what some of the young guys bring to the table this season. That means getting Huggins his touches, giving Miles Shuler a chance to make a play or two with the ball in his hands and giving Kaleb Johnson reps in a real game.

Three keys for an Ohio win
1. Protect Tettleton. Ohio's offense begins with Tettleton, who has yet to see a defense as tenacious as Rutgers.

2. Play their game. If Ohio can dictate the flow of the game, and not have to play catch-up against Rutgers, then the Bobcats are in good position.

3. Overcome the elements. Not only is Ohio playing in its toughest road environment of the young season, the Bobcats will not be nearly as well-rested as the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers enters the game off a productive bye week, whereas Ohio will be in a game for the fourth consecutive weekend.

Football 101
To help familiarize the less rabid fans with the X's and O's of college football, ScarletReport.com break down a factor relevant to each game before kickoff. This week, we break down the "pistol formation," which Ohio uses as a key part of its multi-pronged offensive attack.

The pistol formation originated out of Nevada in the early 2000's. At its essence, the pistol formation is a single-back formation in which the quarterback lines up in shotgun and the back stands behind him. Traditionally, the pistol uses one tight end and a slot receiver to replace the second back in the formation.

What makes the formation unique is that the quarterback lines up in shotgun and the halfback stands behind him, instead of to one side like most shotgun offenses. The advantage of the pistol is that the quarterback is closer to the line of scrimmage than a traditional shotgun look, but still has enough space to have extra time on passing plays.

Along with the pistol, Solich uses run-and-gun and hurry-up style, so do not expect any sort of traditional offensive look tomorrow against the Bobcats.

Prediction
Rutgers, 31, Ohio 14

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