RU has Ray Rice, Kenny Britt, Tiquan Underwood, Mike Teel and an offensive line that has ripped through defenses the first two weeks of the season. The Scarlet Knights have to be salivating at the opportunity to throw up big numbers in this game heading into an off week.
NSU turned the ball over four times in its opener against a Division II squad. That spells trouble as the Spartans move up considerably in competition to play their first game ever against a Division I-A opponent.
Rutgers had three interceptions against Navy and limited one of the best rushing offenses in the nation to just 254 yards on the ground (289 yards total offense). Last year, Navy had the best rushing attack in the nation with many of the same players, and the Midshipmen put up 439 yards of total offense in Week 1 at Temple.
Rutgers' young linebacking corps has proved itself worthy through two games, led by true junior Kevin Malast with 23 tackles. Redshirt sophomore linebacker Damaso Munoz is also putting his mark on the year with 17 total tackles.
Norfolk State picked off two balls against Virginia State in the opener and held the Trojans to just 154 yards of offense. However, the Spartans come of a 2006 campaign when they allowed 187 yards per game rushing.
NSU has a decent kicking game, but its return game leaves something to be desired. Punter Brian Jackson was shaky in his first outing and now faces a rush that is hungry to block a kick.
Rutgers has a place-kicker on the Lou Groza Award watch list for the best kicker in college football. Ito is looking more comfortable with new holder Andrew DePaola.
Rutgers Football Ccoach Greg Schiano, now in his seventh year, has built the Scarlet Knights into a contender. Gone are the days when fans feared losses to Division I-AA opponents. He has the Scarlet Knights believing they can win a national championship.
Norfolk State skipper Pete Adrian, now in his third year, had to overcome the incompetence of predecessor Willie Gillus, who posted a 2-19 record in two seasons. He has posted back-to-back four-win seasons; an improvement, but still underwater.
Rutgers is bigger, faster and stronger. Plus, it's homecoming for the Scarlet Knights. The crowd should be into the game for at least a quarter, if not the entire first half. Norfolk State will have to deal with a loud stadium (hopefully minus the vulgarity) as Rutgers brings the heat early. Have I mentioned NSU has never played a I-A opponent before?
I love the Rutgers marching band, and it is considerably better than it was in the days when the Scarlet Knights couldn't scratch together two consecutive wins.
But NSU has the Marching Spartan Legion, probably worth the price of admission itself. Treat yourself to an aural
and visual experience (could take a minute to load).
Edge: Norfolk State
Rutgers has been on a roll the last couple of years, qualifying for back-to-back bowl games for the first time in school history and winning a bowl game for the first time ever last year.
Norfolk State has not put together a winning season since moving up to Division I in 1997 and is working on its third coach since 1999.
#13 Rutgers vs. NSU - Who has the edge?
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