1. Test Under Pressure – Chris Laivano saw real pressure for the first time as a starting quarterback, and it made him look like a first time starting quarterback. Laviano threw his first interception when pressure broke down and almost cost Rutgers three points with a heave into the hands of two Wazzu defensive backs in the end zone.
2. Too Safe – Rutgers played it ultra conservative offensively but did not get enough of a push in the running game for it to work. Laviano stuck with the safe throws.. Everyone in the stadium knew the play-action bootleg was on the way by halftime but for some reason Washington State still seemed surprised on the touchdown to Matt Flanagan. Rutgers also took a safe approach on defense, and it resulted in the most passing yards in High Point Solution Stadium history.
3. Excellence of Execution – It was a rocky afternoon for Laviano, but he showed poise and confidence on a fourth-down conversion. Washington State sent seven after Laviano, who held in the pocket and fired his best throw of the day to Janarion Grant.
4. Cioffi Forces the Field Goal – Rutgers blitzed on the final third down of the first half and did not get to Luke Falk in time. Defensive back Anthony Cioffi moved into 1-on-1 slot coverage and his stellar bat-down prevented a potential touchdown drive. The cornerbacks as a whole played better this week but Wazzu had too much time in the pocket.
5. Shake it Up – Rutgers shook up its personnel game plan compared to last year’s clash with Washington State. Rutgers played all three linebackers in base defense but pulled one of its defensive linemen in favor of safety Kiy Hester. Junior Julian Pinnix-Odrick played both end and tackle in the trenches. The lack of a pass rush proved costly.
6. Flag Day – Rutgers lost two touchdowns because of penalties and the lack of discipline made the difference in Saturday’s loss. After 11 penalties for 100 yards and so many blown timeouts for organizational issues, there is a lot to clean up.
7. Scarff City – Sophomore tight end Charles Scarff built a connection with Laviano during the two-minute drill. Scarff showed he deserves a bigger role in the offense with his ability to move the chains.
8. Less than Special Teams – Rutgers needs to be better on special teams when the Big Ten teams hit the schedule. Janarion Grant is an obvious positive but there is much more to special teams than kick returns.Rutgers did not do the little things well. Chris Gough kicked one out of bounds and a blocked extra point is inexcusable. Rutgers also blew its last timeout because of confusion on a field goal. The final play spoke for itself.
9. Big Hits – The Rutgers receivers will be sore tomorrow. Credit a few late throws from Laviano and good football plays by Washington State early in the game. Leonte Carroo, Grant, Paul James and Andre Patton all took hard hits in the first drive.
10. Almost Heroes – Safety Davon Jacobs played a pass perfectly on the final drive, and would have won it for the Scarlet Knights if he simply caught the ball cleanly.