10 Things We Learned: Rutgers - Army

Rutgers (6-5, 4-2 Big East) continued to roll Saturday with a 30-3 victory against Army (3-8) in frigid conditions. It was the Scarlet Knights' fifth straight win and fourth consecutive rout. As we celebrate RU's fourth consecutive year of bowl eligibility, let's mull over 10 Things We Learned Last Week.

1. QB Mike Teel deserves recognition. RU's fifth-year senior signal caller has endured some rocky times on the Banks, but he entered the record books in the Army game by becoming the school's all-time leading passer in yardage, passing Ryan Hart. Teel is two touchdown passes behind Hart for the all-time lead. He has matured greatly this season and should be commended for giving Rutgers consistency at quarterback the last few years.

2. Zaire Kitchen is Johnny on the Spot. Kitchen is one of those players who had to battle constant adversity to stay on the field. But the junior safety has been in on some of the biggest plays for the Scarlet Knights in 2008, the latest coming when he popped Army quarterback Chip Bowden to force a fumble that was returned by RU's Joe Lefeged 58 yards for the opening score of the game. Kitchen now has three forced fumbles and a blocked kick this season.

3. It looks like Rutgers is going with the multiple-back attack. RU has not settled on a clear-cut No. 1 running back all season, and the last couple of weeks seem to indicate that Kordell Young and Joe Martinek will continue to share the running load. RU has been a one-back team for the past half decade, but coaches need to adjust to what their players offer. Six players besides quarterbacks ran the ball for Rutgers against Army.

4. Defense continues its consistent ways. Rutgers held Army, a team that entered the game averaging 257.8 yards rushing, to just 217 yards on the ground and only 2 yards passing. 46 of Army's yards came on one play from Collin Mooney late in the third quarter of the blowout. By holding Army out of the end zone, the Scarlet Knights have allowed just three offensive touchdowns in the last three games.

5. Sometimes the bad call goes your way. The officiating was suspect in the Rutgers-Army game, but no call was worse than the fumble that didn't happen. Rutgers, up 10-0 in the second quarter, was at the Army 43-yard line when Teel dropped back for a pass. Ted Bentler sacked him and jarred the ball loose for a fumble that was recovered by Army at midfield. After an official replay, the referee explained that it was not a fumble because Teel's forward progress was stopped. It doesn't matter which side you root for; that was an awful call, and the explanation was even worse.

6. Kenny Britt is good. Following a 10-catch, 197-yard performance in little more than three quarters versus Army, Britt is now the nation's leading pass receiver with 119.1 yards per game. He is sixth in the nation with 7.8 receptions per game and fourth overall with 1,191 yards. Britt is the first receiver in Rutgers history to record back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons.

7. Army's offense struggles with Rutgers. In the past four meetings between Army and Rutgers, the Cadets have managed to score an offensive touchdown in just one game (a 36-21 Rutgers victory at Army in 2003). RU has outscored Army 151-30 under head coach Greg Schiano and is 4-0 versus the Black Knights in his tenure.

8. Sloppy turnovers are cause for concern. Rutgers lost two fumbles against Army. Martinek was fighting for a touchdown late in the third quarter when he coughed the ball up on the Army 2-yard line. On RU's next possession, its first of the fourth quarter, backup quarterback Domenic Natale fumbled when he was sacked by Army's Stephen Anderson. Rutgers has improved dramatically in turnover margin, but the Scarlet Knights have lost three fumbles over the last three games after losing two in the first eight games of the season.

9. Offensive coordinator John McNulty has a feel for this team. Last year Rutgers set a school mark for yards gained in a season with an offense that relied heavily on standout running back Ray Rice. This season the Scarlet Knights struggled to find their identity through the first half of the season, but McNulty is getting more and more players involved in the offense as the year progresses. Cases in point: Tim Brown's 19-yard end around for a touchdown in the third quarter against Army and Martinek's direct snap run that resulted in a 45-yard touchdown. RU's offensive play calling is imaginative without being gimmicky.

10. The game was over when . . . Brown took an end around 19 yards for a touchdown midway through the third quarter to put Rutgers ahead 30-0. That cemented what everyone knew by the middle of the second quarter: Rutgers would win this one handily.

Post mortem: With the way other conferences are failing to meet their bowl obligations, it looks as if Rutgers is going bowling this year. If Rutgers takes care of business against struggling Louisville (5-6, 1-5), the Scarlet Knights should head to a Big East bowl game.

BONUS: 11. Notre Dame is the worst team in the Big East. Cellar dweller Syracuse (3-8, 1-5) went to Indiana and defeated Notre Dame (6-5) last week, sending the Fighting Irish to an 0-2 record against Big East teams this year (both home games). Notre Dame's six victories have come against teams with a 20-48 record this year, and Navy (6-4) is the only victim of the Fighting Irish with a winning record.

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