After an opening 3-n-out Rutgers' Joe Radigan lofted his punt high in the sky. Amidst the falling raindrops DeAngelo Hall let the ball slip through his hands and Rutgers recovered. Three plays and less than 2 minutes later Rutgers So. QB Ryan Hart found Shawn Tucker for a 17 yard TD catch. With RU ahead 7-0 early, the miracle that was supposed to be would end quickly.
Va. Tech used a balanced offensive attack to wear down the smaller and slower Knights. A slew of mistakes in the defensive secondary and the Hokies were rolling. Rutgers defense was overmatched and looked terribly out of place as the game was decided midway through the first half.
This is no time for moral victories. But, the reality remains, we should take a look at the big picture. Offensively, Rutgers can run the ball effectively. The offensive line is not there yet, but they have made vast, vast improvements. Brian Leonard especially, can play with and against anyone. He is an absolute artist with and without the ball. Ryan Hart is still young and his performance today reminded us of that key fact - under pressure he will make mistakes, but when given time and passing lanes he will make good decisions.
Defensively, we note the team makes plays at times. It is their inability to play consistently especially in passing situations that has been the albatross of this young team. The defensive front four performed admirably against Heisman Candidate Kevin Jones. Their inability to put pressure on Randall or Vick allowed the Hokie signal callers to tear the RU secondary apart. Perhaps, most important is what this team showed in the fourth quarter, with the game long decided. They displayed a desire to fight back, something Rutgers observers noted as a key virtue of last year's team. In this regard, this year's team is no different.
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