10 Things We Learned: Rutgers - Navy

RU, with high expectations and a talented roster heading into the season, finds itself winless heading into the final week of September. The Scarlet Knights (0-3) dropped a 23-21 decision at Navy (2-2). Let's get into 10 Things We Learned Last Week.

1. Rutgers is in a tailspin. Rutgers has lost three straight games for the first time since 2004, when it lost its final five games, the last time the Scarlet Knights missed a bowl game. There is no cohesion to a team that is off to RU's worst start since a 1-10 campaign in 1999.

2. Mike Teel is ineffective. RU's fifth-year senior has thrown six interceptions to one touchdown this season. Teel is 58-for-99 for 637 yards (212.3 yards) and has a quarterback rating of 103.85. That's sixth in the Big East and 90th overall nationally. In his career, Teel has never led Rutgers from behind to a victory in the closing minutes.

3. Rutgers is struggling to make effective halftime adjustments. In the first drive of the second half, Rutgers has been outscored 21-0 this year. The Scarlet Knights have been dominated by the tune of 68-20 in the final two quarters this season.

4. Jourdan Brooks has emerged as Rutgers' tailback. The redshirt freshman turned in RU's first 100-yard game this season with 134 yards on 22 carries. Brooks is the only back to make any noise for Rutgers this year, though Joe Martinek averaged 7.6 yards per carry versus Navy and the injured Kordell Young put up 94 yards in the opener against Fresno State. Conversely, true sophomore Mason Robinson may be out of favor as he failed to touch the ball against Navy.

5. RU's secondary is lost. When Navy can pass at will on you, you're in trouble. Trailing 14-6 at the half, the Midshipmen turned momentum in their favor with a 7-play, 82-yard drive that including three passes. One completion was for 41 yards from Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada to Tyree Barnes for 41 yards, and the touchdown pass was a 22-yard strike from Kaheaku-Enhada to Barnes. RU's secondary was nowhere to be seen on the TD pass.

6. The defense has not made anything happen. RU is minus eight in turnovers this year, and the Scarlet Knights have forced zero turnovers on the defensive side of the ball. Opponents are taking the play to Rutgers, and the Scarlet Knights have no answer. They have allowed opponents to rack up 387 yards and 30.3 points per game. RU is the only team in the nation without a forced turnover this year, and the Scarlet Knights rank 118th out of 119 teams in turnover margin.

7. Still looking for leadership. There is no confidence on the Banks right now, the team is not executing, and the coaching staff doesn't seem to have any answers. Where are you now, Eric Foster and Ray Rice?

8. The Knights really missed Pete Tverdov and George Johnson in the second half. RU held Navy to just 109 yards of total offense in the first half and limited the Midshipmen to a pair of field goals. DT Tverdov sat out the entire game with an ankle injury, and DE Johnson left in the second quarter after injuring his ankle. The Mids rolled up 252 yards of total offense in the second half and failed to score on just one of their four second-half drives.

9. RU cannot finish. In at least two games this year, Rutgers had the opposing team on the ropes but could not finish the deal. Rutgers dominated Fresno State in the first half of the opener but came away with zero points and eventually lost 24-7. The Scarlet Knights led 14-6 and blocked a Navy punt late in the second half. They had a chance to put the hammer down but turned the ball over deep in Navy territory. Instead of a 17-6 or 21-6 lead, the Scarlet Knights allowed Navy off the carpet, and the Mids responded with a convincing drive to open the third quarter.

10. The game was over when . . . Teel threw an interception into Ross Pospisil's gut with 1:34 remaining in the fourth quarter. You could feel the bubble burst right there, and Teel lost his cool when taking a swipe at Lee on his way off the field.

Post mortem:
Is the season lost? Yes. Rutgers needs to go 4-2 in the Big East in order to become bowl eligible. That's not likely with the way this defense has played. True, Rutgers CAN turn the season around with the Big East slate. But consider this: RU has twice finished with a winning Big East record and has never won the conference. It's a long shot; not impossible, but improbable.

The upside is RU should win Saturday against Morgan State, and you may see some young talent make its debut (don't expect to see D.C. Jefferson, who is redshirting this year).


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