Rutgers didn't play its best football Saturday. The Scarlet Knights weren't able to overwhelm a physical Ohio team from the Mid-American Conference the way the Scarlet Knights had tossed around Illinois the previous week. On paper, a 24-7 win over Ohio is no big deal, right?
It's another sign of the growth of a program that last year made its first bowl visit since 1978 and had its first winning season since '92.
There are so many positive things going on with this program, there's just nothing negative to say -- which is unheard of around Piscataway in the past decade. The Scarlet Knights, who have so many offensive weapons, have yielded just seven points in the last two games, just 23 points in three games.
Ray Rice ran for 190 yards and two touchdowns to lead the way on a day the offense did just what it had to do -- back another strong effort by the defense and special teams.
"Overall, I felt we played well today," said Rice, who has run for 499 yards and six scores in three games. "Ohio was a very tough team, physically. They kept pushing us and fighting us. I give them a lot of credit."
In short, Ohio was better than Illinois. Next week, Howard comes calling and Rutgers seems set for its first 4-0 start since 1980. A 5-0 start? You have to go back to the 11-0 run in 1976.
Notes and Quotes
GAME BALL GOES TO: RB Ray Rice -- Nothing new here. Rice is having a great year. He ran for 190 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday's 24-7 win over Ohio, giving him 499 yards and six scores already this season. He is the fifth RU running back with five straight 100-yard games (the school record is seven) and he has eight 100-yarders in 15 college games.
KEEP AN EYE ON: QB Mike Teel -- It didn't really show up because of the third straight win, but Teel was just 6-for-16 for 83 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions. At some point, he's going to called on the do something special, and 6-for-16 isn't special.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "While our offense struggled at times today, we still were able to win the game, which says a lot. We have a good team here and we're only getting better. We prepare so hard each and every week." --Rutgers FB Brian Leonard
Strategy and Personnel
LOOKING GOOD: The Rutgers defense just continues to impress. "I'm really enjoying what I've seen in them," says RU coach Greg Schiano. The defense scored a touchdown for the second straight week, the first time that's happened at Rutgers since 1994.
RB Ray Rice -- He has run for 499 yards and six scores in the first three games of the season and is now the fifth RU runner with five straight 100-yard games. J.J. Jennings holds the school record of seven in a row.
P Joe Radigan -- Last week's Big East special-teams player of the week averaged 49.8 yards per kick Saturday, including a long of 66.
FB Brian Leonard -- He isn't piling up rushing yards (only 54 in three games) but he did have four of Rutgers' six catches Saturday and has at least one in 37 straight games, tying Reggie Wayne for the second-longest Big East streak in history.
TE Clark Harris -- He has a catch in 33 straight games, matching the sixth-longest streak in Big East history.
LB Devraun Thompson -- Helped lead the way for the defense with seven tackles, including a pair of sacks.
DB Ron Girault -- Picked off a pass and returned it 39 yards against Ohio.
STILL NEEDS WORK: QB Mike Teel was just 6-for-16 for 83 yards, no scores and three interceptions in the win. This team has plenty of weapons to get by without Teel being a star, but he needs to have better numbers than what he put up Saturday. Aside from Rice, the offense really didn't have a very good game against Ohio.
ROSTER REPORT: No injuries were reported.