For the first time in the Greg Schiano era Rutgers football has two wins. Considering the fact that we are only three games into the season that should be reason to celebrate. However, today's 36-21 win over Army gave new meaning to the phrase "mixed feelings".
Yes, Rutgers did at times seem to dominate the Black Knights but there were so many negatives it is hard to be excited about this game. Rutgers failed to take advantage of scoring opportunities, kept Army drives alive with stupid penalties, made just about every special teams mistake that a team can make and (worst of all) allowed a clearly overmatched Army team to get back into the game late.
It was an ugly win.
Army was physically over
(AP Photo - Tim Roske)
Rutgers opened up the game well when a Zac Dahman fumble was recovered in the end zone for the Knights first score. Rutgers seemed to be on the way to dominating the Cadets. Army couldn't get out of the shadow of its own endzone and Rutgers quickly added another touchdown on a 39 yard strike to Jerry Andre.
It was at that point the the Knights put on their "Three Stooges" garb. They "should have", "could have" dominated and blown out a vastly overmatched Army squad but instead failed to capitalize on opportunity after opportunity, leaving the Black Knights just enough room to get back into the game.
Late in the game Army did just that. The Cadets recovered an onside kick and a few plays later punched it into the endzone to bring the score down to 29-21. At that point there was just enough time for Army to recover another onside kick, punch it in again and go for the "two pointer" and tie.
Tres Moses came to the rescue. Tres held on to the onside kick and in the ensuing series a 60 yard Brian Leonard run for a touchdown snuffed out the Cadet's dreams of upset.
Unfortunately, the victory that the Knights preserved had too many negatives to be dismissed as growing pains.
Luis Rivas and Bryan Durango tackle
an Army running back.
(AP Photo - Tim Roske)
Things to feel good about.
This must sound like a broken record. Tres Moses, Shawn Tucker, and Brian Leonard. Leonard had 17 carries for 135 yards, 7.8 yards a carry. Leonard also caught two passes for 35 yards. Only a sophomore, Brian may end up being the best fullback ever to play at Rutgers.
Will Gilkison and Bill Beckford are starting to make more accurate reads from their linebackers spot. On one play Gilkison sniffed out and stuffed a shovel pass play for a loss that could have gone for a good gain.
Hariston couldn't bull through Army defenders,
so he jumped over them.
(AP Photo -Tim Roske)
Things to be concerned about.
Special teams are not a problem, they are an embarrassment.
The team did not play crisp at all. Going into the third game of the season they lacked consistency of play and crispness of execution.
And don't tell me about the number of sacks we had or about Ryan Hart's touchdown passes. My grandmother could have put pressure on the Army quarterbacks. A good high school QB could have riddled the Army secondary.
This is a truly awful Army
team. When we start playing schools like Tech, Miami and Pittsburgh, this type of performance will get us killed.
Mike Fasano: MikeFasano@comcast.net
Mike and the Big Dog's LLC