1. Get Hype, Stay Hype – Defensive coordinator Joe Rossi was ready with unique attacks on Michigan State’s Connor Cook and Jim Panagos’ defensive line unit played its best game of the season. Rutgers consistently attacked the quarterback. Although it occasionally led to mismatches in the young defensive secondary, Michigan State was clearly rattled.
2. The Deep Ball – Chris Laviano does not have the consistent arm strength, but a wide open Leonte Carroo made things easier for him when it came to stretching the field. In a head scratcher, Michigan State single-covered Carroo for most of the first half and paid the price on a 39-yard, go-ahead touchdown.
3. Carroo Coverage – Michigan State stuck with single-man coverage on Carroo for most of Saturday. That proved to be the wrong call. The lack of adjustment was puzzling as Carroo dominated individually with the fourth three-touchdown game of his career. Michigan State did not give Carroo the attention he deserved until the final drive.
4. Save the Clock – The spike was embarrassing but not the actual problem. Whether it’s interim coach Norries Wilson or head coach Kyle Flood, Rutgers continues to pick up failing grades in clock management. What did Rutgers do right in some famous comeback wins early in Flood’s tenure? Well, it starts with timeouts in the right places. Michigan State held onto its timeouts and executed a perfect final drive by draining the clock.
5. In Warm Ups – Do not write off true freshman Jawuan Harris yet when it comes to playing time. Now healthy, the wide receiver dressed for the first time this season and went through warm ups on special teams. He is one or two injuries away from action.
6. Rochester Swarm – Senior linebacker Quentin Gause put together one of his best games to date with a strong showing against the run.
7. Strong Out of the Timeout – Rutgers hasn’t had the best success out of timeouts and stoppages on offense, but Ben McDaniels got it done during the transition between quarter one and two. Rutgers identified Carroo in single coverage and locked in on him for a perfectly-executed touchdown.
8. Rough Night on the Right – Right tackle J.J. Denman struggled in pass protection against Shilique Calhoun and company. Michigan State loaded up to attack, and Laviano took plenty of hits as a result.
9. Big Pressure Bateky – True freshman Jon Bateky remains impressive with his extra work on the defensive line. Bateky broke through on Michigan State’s first third down to flush Cook out of the pocket for an incompletion. Rutgers blocked a field goal on the next play.
10. Injury Replacement Pays – Andre Hunt jumped in for Kiy Hester after a third-quarter leg injury and Cook beat him for a decisive touchdown pass two plays later. Hester put together his second straight strong game as the new starting safety, including a red-zone interception.