Triple Option Comes to Town

The 481 yards on 66 carries, en route to a 54-21 Navy pasting of the Scarlet Knights last year is fresh on the minds of Rutgers and its players. Last season's Navy victory snapped a Rutgers' three-game winning streak in the series. This weekend, the Scarlet Knights will attempt to avenge last season's devastating defeat at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

"I think we're a better defensive football team overall," stated Rutgers Head Coach Greg Schiano.

"We have to look at what we did last year and adjust it a little bit. Before you go changing the whole scheme, you have to examine what the failures were."

Failures abounded last year's collapse in Annapolis.

After a Clark Harris TD reception in the first quarter, the Midshipmen scored the game's next 7 touchdowns.

Navy amassed 476 yards on the ground, and ran 74 offensive plays as they ran and passed over Rutgers at will, to the tune of 613 total yards of offense.

Hardly having the rebuilding year nearly all anticipated, Navy has reeled off four straight wins, a feat that has been accomplished just two other times during the past 25 years.

But Rutgers isn't exactly hobbling into this game either.

With consecutive Big East road victories, the Scarlet Knights are enjoying their best overall start since 1991. Sitting at 5-2 and 3-1 in conference play, Rutgers seems set on avenging last season's dreadful showing in Maryland.

"I think they [Navy] are more athletic [than last year] and they run better. What I see is a more athletic team that can make big plays," stated Schiano.

Indeed, Navy is the 3rd best rushing team in the NCAA this year, averaging 272.7 rushing yards per game.

Leading the way for Navy is Sr. QB Co-Captain Lamar Owens. Owens, a threat to do just about anything when he has the ball, is equally proficient at airing it out as he is keeping it on the ground.

"That No. 2, his name is Lamar Owens, he has a great sense of where people are. He is a very shifty guy."

"We have consciously tried to prepare for this with our scout team. But we have to play our way into it and sometimes it takes one or two series to play your way into it."

Coach Schiano was keenly aware that stopping the triple-option dead on its tracks may not be possible. Navy will amass yards.

"There is no special defense that stops it. The key is to limit their big plays."

"When they [Navy] take their shots, a lot of times their receivers are uncovered because somebody played the run," continued Coach Schiano.

In the season opener versus Maryland, Owens ran the ball 19 times for 122 yards. On the season Owens is averaging 4.8 ypc and has racked up 536 yards on the ground, good enough for the team lead. To that, add a completion percentage of 57% to go along with 783 yards through the air and what you will have for yourself this coming Saturday is a true indicator of the discipline of the Rutgers defense.

Former Shore star QB Vito Steriti is the scout QB this week. His primary goal is to help Rutgers' defense prepare for what they are about to see on Saturday.

"He knows it [the option] inside out. Vito has been jacked up about this because he knew this week was coming," stated Schiano in regard to his walk-on QB that is taking over the spotlight in practice this week.

Injury Report:
Mike Teel -- Teel's status has yet to be determined. There is no set time on when an official decision will be made on who will be the Scarlet Knight's starting QB versus Navy. The first step in the process is to determine the status of the redshirt Freshman Mike Teel.

Jeremy Zuttah -- Zuttah has not been ruled out for Saturday but Coach Schiano admitted that "it would be a stretch for him to play." So. OL Mike Gilmartin is ready to step in if needed.

Glen Lee -- Lee's status is unknown at this time.

Did You Know?
With road victories over Buffalo, Syracuse, and Connecticut, it marks the first time that Rutgers has recorded three road wins during the same season since 1998.

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