10 in 10: Rutgers With Epic Comeback

Scarlet Report takes a deeper look at the thrilling 55-52 Rutgers victory over Indiana with an easy-to-read 10-point breakdown of the game. We take a look at some of the not-so-noticeable moments and themes including the Rutgers running back rotation and special teams production.

1. Pro vs. Spread – Rutgers had the same personnel (mostly) that it did in a stellar showing against Michigan State, but the Indiana spread shredded the Rutgers defense anyway. Whether defensive coordinator Joe Rossi went on the attack with blitzes or played safe to protect a young secondary, Indiana was too fast and too aggressive for the conventional 4-3 look.

2. Spear the Edge – Indiana consistently got the edge on Rutgers in the running game. The Hoosiers ran behind right tackle Dimitric Camiel for the biggest strikes of the day, including the 66-yard Devine Redding run that would have been the dagger if not for the stellar grit Rutgers displayed.

3. The Good Touch – Burned timeouts are less frustrating when teams follow with perfect execution. That happened for Rutgers on a 3rd and 6 in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Chris Laviano followed it with one of the best throws in his career. Laviano put on the accuracy and touch needed for a slow-developing 40-yard competition to Andre Patton.

4. Tunnel Vision – Offensive coordinator Ben McDaniels and Laviano targeted Leonte Carroo on four of the first eight plays from scrimmage. Indiana mixed up its coverages against the star receiver and forced a punt despite three catches for 26 yards in the first four minutes. Indiana ran out of steam after that, and could not stop Carroo for the rest of the game.

5. Extra Points Matter – The extra point is supposed to be a free point, and four times for Rutgers, it was not.  There would have been a lot less drama on the last drive if Rutgers simply took care of business on extra points.

6. Free Agudosi – Forget the “Free Rettig” campaign. Junior Carlton Agudosi proved yet again why he deserves a bigger role within the offense. Agudosi came in only after Carroo’s injury, and finally has the reliable hands to go along with a 6-foot-6 frame.

7. Finish –Rutgers lost out on two key plays with missed first-half tackles that cost it 10 points. Defensive linemen Quanzell Lambert and Kemoko Turay missed sacks that would have forced punts for Indiana. The Hoosiers finished those drives with a touchdown and field goal.

8. The End of the Rotation? – Rutgers finally gave up on its rotation formula at running back in favor of Robert Martin's hot hand. Martin stayed in after powerful drives against Indiana in the best performance of his young career.

9. Depth Concerns Come Through – Injuries on defense showed just how shallow Rutgers is in some situations. The Scarlet Knights saw two inexperienced true freshmen forced into roles after injuries to Steve Longa and Blessuan Austin. Deonte Roberts came in for Longa during an in-game injury, and Jarius Adams did the same for Austin. Indiana attacked Adams for a score, but then Adams settled down.

10. J.J.’s Play – Rutgers right tackle J.J. Denman’s pass protection struggles are well documented, but he made a huge play in the passing game early in the second quarter. Denman set Carroo free on a screen score with a quick burst and chip at the second level.

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