Running the Football at a Premium

So far this season, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights' rushing attack has been adequate at times and a bit lackluster at others. With the top 6 offensive linemen returning, there were extremely high expectations for being able to effectively move the ball on the ground.

This Saturday at Maryland marks an ideal opportunity for the ground game to come together, especially being that the Terrapins (1-2) are likely to blitz early and often.

When looking closely, it is apparent that the Anthony Davis led, offensive line is improving slowly but surely. Although 4 sacks were allowed last Saturday against FIU, there were a good number of plays where the offensive line picked up the defensive stunts of the Golden Panthers affectively, as well as tamed the blitz .There have also been instances where the possibility of breaking a big run seemed to be just one block away.

"They're improved," Schiano said. "They were one block away on eight or 10 plays from having a monster day rushing."

Will they be able to make that one additional block this weekend? They will have to in order win the time of possession battle and pull out a victory over a Maryland team that will likely be highly motivated after 2 early season loses to the California Golden Bears and the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders.

The Terp defense allowed 32 points to the FCS Blue Raiders and remained on the field most of the game. A similar occurrence would likely be the key to success for Rutgers in their up-coming game as well.

So far this season, Coach Schiano has continually tweaked the offensive line in an attempt to increase the overall ability to rest the defense on the sideline. Combinations have been mixed and matched in an effort to consistently be able to establish daylight and force opposing defensive bodies to move around.

"Running the football effectively is not that complicated, but it is not easy to do. It's one guy slipping off of one block. Running the ball is more team-oriented than even the passing game. You can get one guy running fast and you drop back and throw it to him, like two guys playing basketball out there. Running the ball takes everyone. It's team offense" said Coach Schiano.

The Terrapins are 47-18 in the last ten years at home, which represents a .732 winning percentage. They have also won 8 of their last 10 contests domestically, so obviously they are more comfortable in College Park. Being that this will be Rutgers' first ever visit to Byrd Stadium, there is no greater equalizer than to be able to pound the football. Stay tuned.

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