1. One Dimensional – New Mexico didn't have to show any respect to Chris Laviano as a threat in the run game. New Mexico keyed completely on skill players in the read option, and the only time Laviano tested his feet on a designed run, he could not hit the edge fast enough.When Rutgers ran a play-action out of the option, Laviano overthrew an open Nick Arcidiacono by five yards. Rutgers was most successful offensively when it went with the traditional ground-and-pound to open up big plays.
2. Bailey Club – For someone with a club on his hand, the true freshman from Texas gave it his all. Dacoven Bailey wasn't even supposed to be in as a gunner on his punt recovery, but the Larry Stevens injury forced him into action. He was ready, willing and able. Bailey picked up a handful of reps at defensive back, making him the first freshman to play three ways since Mohamed Sanu in 2009.
3. Clayton Ravine – With Najee Clayton absent for personal reasons, three converted defensive backs handle strongside linebacker position for Chris Ash. Greg Jones played solid assignment football against the triple option. The outside running back was his job and he did not stay off his assignment the whole game. The returning Ronnie James also worked at linebacker today with the need for more athletic depth in Clayton's stead.
4. The Fourth Horseman – Zach Allen is the fourth quarterback in for Rutgers this season, but only the second allowed to throw a pass. Allen looked uncomfortable and unsure of his decisions in a return to the position after two years at wide receiver. He attempted two passes, the first was almost intercepted and the second missed an open John Tsimis in the end zone.
5. Field Position Fails – Both Jared Smolar and Michael Cintron were liabilities with their legs. Rutgers eventually switched to pooches on kickoffs, and Cintron averaged just 34.9 yards per punt despite a 49-yarder. Rutgers devoted extra practice time to kickoff coverage this week, but that was not an answer to the problem. Credit David Bonagura for an accurate performance and the mustard needed for a career-long 41-yarder.
6. Smash Nose – The nose guard becomes a cornerstone against the option, and Sebastian Joseph answered the call after a rocky start for the defense. Joseph forced a turnover on downs when he blew up a fourth-and-short run at the line of scrimmage. He did the same in the passing game when he out-leveraged a guard and hurried the quarterback for the first time on a pass attempt.
7. Jay and Silenced Run – Who says Laviano can't throw a deep ball? Reeling with a 21-point deficit, red-shirt freshman Jay Harris tore right through New Mexico's zone coverage. He split the corner and nickel on a fly pattern before he simply outran the safety help on the first touchdown of the game. Rutgers needed a big play to stay relevant and got it. It was the longest passing touchdown in Laviano's career.
8. Freshman Execution – Walk-on Sandy Anya earned the assist on Janarion Grant's last big play. Against New Mexico, it goes to true freshman linebacker Tyreek Williams. After Grant planted his foot and reversed field on his career-long punt return, Williams chipped the one would-be tackler off his path and sprung the go-ahead touchdown.
9. Runaway– The fact that no Lobo caught Robert Martin from behind on his career-long run is impressive. Defenses caught everyone from Ray Rice to Paul James to Mohamed Sanu from behind on similar explosive runs – not Martin.
10. Well Scouted – Rutgers defensive coordinator Jay Niemann was ready for New Mexico's unconventional three-back backfield. The Lobos twice lined up in the trick formation and twice fell apart at the line of scrimmage.null