Buffalo, which lost 38-0 to Connecticut and 31-0 to Syracuse, appears made to order for a Scarlet Knights' offense that is averaging 444.5 yards and 34.5 points per game. Rutgers' struggling defense, which gave up 33 points in a loss at Illinois and 444 yards to Division 1-AA Villanova, should also get a break against a Buffalo team that has yet to score a point in 2005.
But coach Greg Schiano, whose defense ranks last in the Big East in yards allowed per game, isn't taking anything for granted.
"It's not from a lack of effort. It's not from a lack of scheming," Schiano said when asked about his defense. "It's just an execution matter."
Rutgers's undersized defensive line will have to overcome the loss of standout junior defensive end Eric Foster, who will miss the rest of the season after suffering a knee injury against Villanova.
"Even with Eric Foster in there, we're not the biggest defensive front," Schiano said. "We have to use our speed, scrappiness and be opportunistic."
Team Report: Notes and Quotes
SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: It's hard to find fault with an offense that's averaging 34.5 points per game. Senior quarterback Ryan Hart is on a tear. So far this season, he's completed 65.2 percent of his passes for 576 yards and three touchdowns without throwing an interception. The running game, which is averaging 4.5 yards per carry, isn't bad, either.
SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: Rutgers limited Villanova to six points last week, but still managed to give up 444 yards of total offense. Rutgers will look to improve those stats this weekend against an anemic Buffalo offense coming off back-to-back shutouts.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "He did so much for us. He was one guy we couldn't afford to lose." -- Coach Greg Schiano on DE Eric Foster who will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury.
Team Report: Strategy and Personnel
THIS WEEK'S GAME: Rutgers at Buffalo, Sept. 17 -- The Scarlet Knights are expected to come away from their visit to upstate New York with a win. Buffalo (0-2) has yet to score a point and is struggling on defense after yielding 38 points to Connecticut and 31 to Syracuse.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: QB Ryan Hart -- The knock on Hart coming into the season was that he threw too many interceptions. But, so far this season, he has yet to throw a pick and enters the Buffalo game with a 153.5 quarterback rating. FB Brian Leonard -- The junior is a touchdown machine. Leonard, who has already scored four touchdowns (three rushing, one receiving) leads the Scarlet Knights with 179 yards rushing on 26 carries and ranks third on the team with seven catches for 88 yards.
WR Tres Moses -- The senior leads the Scarlet Knights with 12 catches for 195 yards, but has yet to score a touchdown. He'll try to change that this weekend against a flimsy Buffalo secondary.
RB Raymell Rice -- The true freshman led the Scarlet Knights last week with 13 carries for 64 yards and a touchdown. Rice and Leonard are emerging as one of the best one-two combinations in the Big East.
TE Clark Harris - The junior tight end turned in another steady performance against Villanova, catching four passes for 69 yards and his first touchdown of the season.
ROSTER REPORT: Starting right guard John Glass Jr., a fifth-year senior, is suspended for the Buffalo game for violating team policy. Redshirt freshman Mike Gilmartin is expected to start in his place.
Backup LB William Beckford is expected back after suffering an ankle injury that forced him to miss the Villanova game. Coach Greg Schiano said he would continue to find time for backup QB Mike Teel, who was 3-for-6 for 42 yards against Villanova.