As part of ScarletReport.com's media day coverage, the "10 in 10" segment gives you 10 not-so-noticeable things that took place during the season opener against Washington State.
It is designed for each of the 10 quick-hitters to be read in 10 seconds or less. Here are the 10 from CenturyLink Field.
1. Turning Point -- Special teams strikes again. Rutgers was almost out of it when safety Johnathan Aiken got a great break on a punt and hit returner River Cracraft to force a fumble. Cornerback Anthony Cioffi, who was a special teams weapon last year, fell on the fumble surrounded by three Washington State players.
2. Tackling Inconsistencies Continue -- Coach Kyle Flood put an emphasis on tackling in the final days leading to kickoff, but the opener left significant room for improvement. Specifically in the secondary, Rutgers struggled to bring down receivers at first contact and gave up more than 150 yards after the catch. The most painful one for Rutgers came with eight minutes left when a Lorenzo Waters miss led to a go-ahead touchdown.
3. Defensive Game Plan -- Rutgers used a heavy two-linebacker look against Washington State, showing a big change from last year’s approach against the spread. Safety Johnathan Aiken started in place of linebacker Quentin Gause, who did not see a lot of action.
4. Rough Start for Barnwell -- Sophomore Nadir Barnwell did not enter until the final drive of the first half for Washington State. It did not go well. WSU capped off a 72-yard drive when Barnwell gave up a 26-yard score to Vince Mayle. Barnwell did not have safety help down the left side, and let Mayle pass him for an easy catch.
5. Gut Check -- Janarion Grant was inconsistent in his first career start as a receiver, but he made two of the biggest plays of the night. On back-to-back third quarter drives, Grant moved the chains on 3rd and long. First on a seam and second on a slant, Grant saved two drives that led to six points.
6. The Denman Effect -- Like he did much of camp, sophomore J.J. Denman mixed with Taj Alexander as the right tackle. His first drive in the game, at the end of the first quarter, was a dominant series on the ground. Rutgers ran for 58 yards on 10 plays, including a strong second effort block on Paul James’ touchdown run. Denman’s second series ended when he allowed Xavier Cooper around him for an easy sack.
7. Bailed Out -- New Washington State kicker Erik Powell gave Rutgers sophomore Julian Pinnix-Odrick a some relief when his halftime 50-yard kick bounced off the uprights. Pinnix-Odrick, in his Rutgers debut, committed a 15-yard late hit penalty to put WSU into field goal range with one second left.
8. The Aussie -- Punter Tim Gleeson executed his role as a co-starter perfectly in the opener. His two punts trapped WSU on the 12- and 10-yard line respectively.
10. Freshman Limitations -- Flood played far fewer freshmen than anticipated in the season opener. Long snapper Alan Lucy (punts and field goals) and cornerback Dre Boggs (punt return) were the only two true freshmen to debut. Kam Lott, Robert Martin and Josh Hicks did not play.