Rutgers coach Kyle Flood wants to watch the film, as always, but said his initial impressions of a new offensive line look were positive. Flood shook things up with two starters down via injury.
Chris Muller moved from right guard to center for his first snaps since high school and red-shirt freshman Marcus Applefield replaced him. Classmate Zack Heeman, who trained to play left tackle for his first year, filled in for Dorian Miller at left guard.
"Marcus had the one false start, but I’d probably be disingenuous to think that there wouldn’t be a couple more on the road in a hostile environment in your first start as freshmen," Flood said. "I’m really excited about what they did. Now, we’ll look at it on film and it won’t be as pretty as we think it is even though the numbers are good. I thought they were really composed through the game. If you run for 200 yards and don’t give up any sacks, you’re going to win a lot of games.”
Muller welcomed the position change, especially with no other option to snap, and spoke highly of his new freshman line-mates.
"I feel confident," Muller said. "I feel competent with both guys next to me – Marcus and Heeman. I feel like the O-line, as a whole, played extremely well today. There were a few mental errors on my fault. I’ve got to get that fixed, but as the game went on, I felt like we handled them very well. You’ve got to give those guys credit because they play tough. They’re our heroes. They defend us."
Heeman missed most of his red-shirt season with injuries, and did not take the field until midway through training camp. He projects to replace Keith Lumpkin at left tackle next season, and jumped at the opportunity for in-game experience at left guard.
"It was great," he said. "I red-shirted last year, so the last time I actually got to play football was my senior year in high school. It was good to get out there and just play and compete."