1. Montclair Terror – While Janarion Grant stole the show offensively, senior defensive end Julian Pinnix-Odrick was equally dominant. Pinnix-Odrick consistently disrupted Howard's offensive plays. Pressure from Pinnix-Odrick knocked Howard off its early rhythm and three of his tackles stopped drives. He turned momentum with a sack in the second quarter that led to a delay of game and an interception on Howard's next two plays.
2. The Search Continues – Rutgers does not appear set on its first five offensive linemen after two games. One week after Marcus Applefield replaced Chris Muller at right guard mid-game, Zack Heeman did the same for Tariq Cole at left tackle. Cole and Heeman rotated reps at left tackle in Saturday's grueling heat. Rutgers also repped Jonah Jackson at right guard.
3. Jumbo Package – Rutgers went enormous in an attempt to convert third and short in the second quarter. Redshirt freshman Kamaal Seymour debuted as an extra blocker at tight end. Rutgers also motioned Jonah Jackson out of the backfield as a blocker. Robert Martin still could not convert.
4. New Nickel? – True freshman Damon Hayes played well after he replaced an injured Ross Douglas in the first quarter. Hayes played in clear passing situations with a strong performance. Hayes was a valuable blitzer after Rutgers relied primarily on linebacker blitzes in week one.
5. Hello Anya – Grant's kick return is not a touchdown without walk-on defensive back Sandy Anay. Grant's power and explosion was the harbinger for six points, but Anya blocked two separate defenders during the duration of Grant's return – one before and one after Grant's spin set him free.
6. Oden's Orders – True freshman Tylin Oden brought excitement in his Rutgers debut, but pass attempts were never a part of the game plan. Oden held the ball high and tight on all nine rushing attempts without feigning a pass out of the shotgun.
7. Role for Taylor – T.J. Taylor may not be ready for linebacker yet but he has a new role as personal protector on the punt team. Taylor played the role again Saturday, where Michael Cintron improved to 42.8 yards per punt with a 53-yard long.
8. Keep an Eye on – Walk-on safety Lawrence Stevens. There are always one or two must-watch players on special teams, and Stevens goes all out. Sometimes the result is a solo tackle on a kick return – Stevens swarmed the return man twice. Other times, Stevens goes in too aggressively and interferes with a punt return. Stevens goes all out, and that's how he earned a spot on the two-deep.
9. Bad Coverage Sack – Criticize Laviano all you want for his 14-yard sack on third down that forced a tie at halftime. But at the 27-yard line on 3rd and long, that is far from field-goal range with David Bonagura, as he showed four minutes later.
10. Many Miscues – The defensive secondary was a disaster on the opening drive when it comes to execution. Play-calling put three defensive backs in position for stops and they could not finish. Howard steamrolled Anthony Cioffi on one first down. Kiy Hester followed it with a missed tackle on third down. The drive ended with Ross Douglass lost a 1-on-1 battle in nickel for a 38-yard touchdown.null