Although Rutgers dominated this game, Navy's first offensive play from scrimmage tried to dictate otherwise. After a rather quick RU 3-n-out a flea-flicker opened up the scoring as Eric Roberts 55 yard pass found a wide open Andy Michalowicz 30 yards downfield – he strolled into the endzone and Navy led 7-0. An absolutely brilliant call by the Navy coaching staff assumed RU's entire secondary would stack against the option. Instead of staying with their assignments, they bit and RU found itself in an early hole.
Rutgers offense was going nowhere on their next possession but RU's defense stiffened their next time up. The next time Rutgers received the ball it drove down the throats of the Navy defense. It was a sight we'd see often the remainder of the night, this time ending with a bit of Scarlet trickery as Clarence Pittman tossed a 15 yard pass to Chris Loomis into the endzone. With the score tied at 7 and 7, the Scarlet Knights began to take control. Justice Hairston ended long drives with TD runs of 3 and 2 yards a piece as RU went ahead 21-14. But, much like previous RU scores, with a chance to end any doubt of the outcome, the Scarlet defense was not up to task, often times looking befuddled by the Navy option. Missed assignments between the LB, safety and DE (difficult to tell who was assigned to who) allowed Navy to quickly move the ball into the red zone. The defense did tighten and forced a Navy FG. The RU special teams came up with its first huge play of the day, blocking the ensuing kick and sending the Knights into halftime leading 21-14.
The second half started with more of the same as Navy readily moved the ball upfield. With their drive once more stalling in the red zone, the Scarlet Knights special teams pulled another out of their hat as they blocked and returned the attempted FG for a TD. The back and forth action continued: Navy, once again, seemed to will themselves into scoring territory. They had been on the field for nearly eleven consecutive minutes. Eventually tiring the RU D they punched one into the endzone and cut the lead to 1 TD.
However, tailback Justice Hairston, who rushed for a career high 162 yards, including 4 touchdowns, tallied two more early in the 4th quarter as Rutgers pulled away from the Midshipmen.
With 30 thousand strong on hand, seemingly giddy at the on-field performance, the RU bandwagon is filling up. Long gone are the days of the Scarlet laughingstock. Nigh are the days of 150 yard per game Rutgers rushers. Nigh are the days of 40 + points per game by the RU offense. Nigh are the days of 40 thousand packed into Rutgers Stadium, screaming at the top of their lungs as if they were attending a Bruce concert – infact, those days are here next week, at noon. Virginia Tech is coming to town. RU giddy with excitement? I am.
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