Upon Further Review: UConn Analysis

Before all the focus shifts to this week's game against Syracuse, ScarletReport.com caps its coverage of Rutgers' 19-3 win against UConn with an in-depth analysis of what went right, what went wrong and what should not be stressed about from the game.

Watching the game live is one thing, and presents a real-time look at what is happening on the field.

However, pop on the game tape and you may see something different, or further validation of what your eye thought it saw while watching live.

After each Rutgers game, ScarletReport.com will take a look at a slowed-down, rewound version of what took place on the field.

Rutgers beat Connecticut19-3 as quarterback Gary Nova was efficient, the defense dominant and the special teams a mixed bag, but so much more took place in the game.

What To Like

  • Middle linebacker Steve Beauharnais' role in the game plan varied, but the biggest thing was filling the hole in the run game. They call it ‘Doing your 1/11th" and he did it a lot, even when it didn't result in a tackle. On the first play of the game he filled the hole in the middle and took a away a cutback from UConn's running back and allowed one of the defensive linemen to make the tackle.

  • The escapability of running back Jawan Jamison is one of the things the running game was missed the last few seasons (as well as good blocking) and the dimension is amazing. Five times Jamison should have been tackled for a loss of yards, and each time he made it back to the line of scrimmage or even gained yards. On several occasions, the runs came on third-and-short and resulted in a first down to prolong drives.

    Jawan Jamison
  • Rutgers continued to be masterful at disguising coverages and blitz packages, and a sequence early in the second quarter illustrates it.

    With 13:35 to play, Rutgers lined up with four defensive lineman and had linebacker Jamal Merrell lined up over UConn's left tackle in a 4-3 personnel group. Safety Wayne Warren was where the strong side linebacker usually stands, but moments before the snap safety Duron Harmon sprinted from 10 yards deep to the right tackle of the formation to blitz while Warren quickly left his spot to run back and cover Harmon's hole. Cornerback Logan Ryan was showing press coverage (he was at the line of scrimmage and backed off at the last minute) and it resulted in an incomplete pass.

    Two plays later, on third-and-long, Rutgers had six guys – three defensive linemen, two linebackers and Ryan – and wound up rushing three as eight guys dropped into coverage.

  • It is getting redundant, but it was another strong game plan by Brock, even if the execution lacked at times.

    UConn's offense couldn't move the ball, so Rutgers played a conservative field position game that utilized low-risk, short throws to the perimeter. The idea was to get the ball in the hands of the receivers quickly to take advantage of UConn's lack of speed at linebacker.

    It resulted in plenty of 1-on-1 plays in which UConn's cornerbacks were asked to tackle much bigger receivers, and it often ended with a nice gain for the Scarlet Knights.

  • The consistency of Nova. He was 18 of 27 for 157 yards, and sans holding the ball too llong on one play and throwing into coverage to the right in the third quarter, he was accurate, got rid of the ball quickly and made the right checks in the running game. His number would have been better as well had Rutgers not dropped a pair of passes.

    He also showed comfort in the pocket, sliding a few times to get better throwing lanes before delivering the ball.

  • After a rough game (mostly again the pass) at Arkansas, safety Lorenzo Waters was aggressive and sure in his tackling. He was in the right spot and didn't have any coverage lapses. He also had a sack coming uncontested on a blitz.

  • Pass protection was very good as was the communication in picking up stunts and blitzes. For as good as Jamison is running the ball, he is turning equally good in blocking.

    What To Work On

  • Blocking on the perimeter in the passing game needs to improve, and it was highlighted on Rutgers' first offensive series. Offensive coordinator called receiver screens on second and third down, and both plays were set up for 15-plus yard huge gains.

    However, Harrison missed a block on second down and tight end D.C. Jefferson and right guard Andre Civil both missed badly on blocks on a third down screen.

    Sam Bergen
  • Sam Bergen didn't get much time at fullback, and it wasn't only because of an injury suffered. Prior to the injury, Bergen was in the backfield when Jawan Jamison seemingly scored on an 18-yard touchdown run.

    However, Bergen missed his block to the left of the line of scrimmage, and compounded the problem by turning back and making a diving tackle on UConn's linebacker that resulted in a holding penalty.

  • The kicking game was not good again, and the blocked field goal was a result of R.J. Dill, who is stationed in the middle of the line to block, getting overpowered and pushed back to allow UConn to break through the middle.

    Add in poor punting by Justin Doerner and a missed extra point by Nick DeLouise, in for injured Kyle Federico, and it was not a good day.

  • A huge play on third-and-goal from the 2 resulted in UConn's Chandler Whitmer throwing incomplete on a rollout to the right when he threw the ball out-of-bounds, but the play was open. Rutgers linebacker Kevin Snyder did not have enough depth to cover the running back out of the backfield, and if Whitmer threw the ball on time, it should have been an easy touchdown.

    Instead, Whitmer waited too long and led his teammate to run out of bounds and the Huskies settled for a field goal to make it 6-3 rather than take a one-point lead.

  • Rutgers front four still struggles to get pressure without blitz help. Whitmer had time to throw when defensive coordinator Robb Smith wasn't bringing pressure from the linebackers or defensive backs.

    Gary Nova
    Not To Worry

  • The offense produced only 13 points, but it isn't a big deal because Rutgers wasn't going to risk taking big shots down the field. The objective is to win, and the only way UConn was going to do so was by scoring on defense or giving its offense a very short field.

    It's good to be explosive on offense. It's better to win.

    Keeping Perspective

    Khaseem Greene
  • UConn is a bad offensive team, and it's quarterback lacked arm strength to get the ball down the field. UConn's strength is running the ball, and Rutgers' strength is stopping the run. The Scarlet Knights are very good defensively, but were not challenged in the passing game as UConn is one-dimensional. That will change against Syracuse.

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