Rutgers 17 - Buffalo 3 -- The Bottom Line

"We went on the road and found a way to win," stated Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano. "I thought it was generally a sloppy game, but we needed to find a way to win and we did that."

Buffalo picked up 21 1st downs -- Rutgers managed 13.

UB totaled 349 yards of total offense -- Rutgers dragged out 288 yards.

The Bulls aerial attack made short work of the RU defense by racking up 228 yards -- Rutgers' prolific offense managed 150 yards through the air.

The Bulls offensive ground attack pushed the RU-D around to the tune of 121 yards -- the RU ground attack, led by Brian Leonard's 121 yards, eclipsed that mark by totalling 138 yards.

Rutgers committed 10 penalties resulting in three-quarters of a football field of yardage -- Buffalo committed 6 penalties for just over a half of the lenght of the football field's yardage.

U of B held the pigskin for a little beyond 36 minutes -- Rutgers for just under 24 minutes.

Fortunately, all these statistics amount to exactly nothing ... not as much as a hill of beans. The only thing that actually does matter, fortunately, are the numbers on the scoreboard.

Indeed, Rutgers knew it was facing Buffalo. It knew all week. All during practice, during the interviews conducted after practice, perhaps from fellow classmates, there were nothing but constant reminders about the poor quality of the team they were facing. And try as one might to battle against the ensuing lethargy, it became all too apparent last night that the Scarlet Knights "knew" they were facing Buffalo.

A team that had yet to score in two games. A team that by most accounts can hardly qualify as Division-I.

This was a game that Rutgers, pundits stated, should have won by in excess of 3 TDs. Had this been the home or even season opener chances are pretty good that is precisely what would have happened. But it wasn't. It was a game against a knowingly inferior opponent that just happened to be on the schedule, sandwhiched in between the highs of appearing on ESPN2 and opening the season in front of your fans and a national appearance against Pitt.

Ask a Head Coach, on any level, how easy it is to hype your team for all of its games.

Most coaches, if they're honest, will tell you they can do it for 2 or 3 games. That leaves about 8 or 9 more. Out of those, 2 or 3 will be "natural hype games", where the opponent itself will help energize your team, during practice sessions, during film study and during the game. That still leaves about half of the season, more or less ... half of the season where your team will simply have to find a way to win, somehow.

Rutgers was faced with this precise type of game versus New Hampshire last year. The Scarlet Knights failed.

RU was faced with it again this year. Yes, it was ugly and difficult to watch, but the result, the ultimate result and the only one that counts was different this time around. RU did indeed pass.

And that is as they say, the bottom line.

The Scarlet Knights host Pittsburgh (0-3) in a nationally-televised game (ESPN2) at Rutgers Stadium on Friday, September 30th.


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