Rutgers at first glance

With Big East play opening up on Saturday, Syracuse hosts Rutgers at noon in the Carrier Dome. The Scarlet Knights come into the game sporting a 2-1 record, with their sole loss to North Carolina in a 24-22 thriller. ‘Cuse has won each of the last two meetings in the storied rivalry, though RU won the previous four matchups.


The Scarlet Knights' chances at victory begin and end with the offensive line. Last time Rutgers came to the Dome, Syracuse downright embarrassed the offensive line with nine sacks on starting quarterback Tom Savage.

But a lot changed for Rutgers since then. There are five new starters on the line from the loss two years ago and Savage left the program after losing his starting job to Chas Dodd. After surrendering an NCAA worst 61 sacks last year, the offensive line is giving up just two per game to start the season.

In the run game, Rutgers has yet to average more than 3.3 yards per carry in a game and put up just one yard on 25 total attempts in the week 2 loss to North Carolina. For the Scarlet Knights to beat Syracuse, the running game needs to be more consistent with the three-headed attack of sophomore Jeremy Deering and freshmen Jawan Jamison and Savon Huggins.

Scouting the Rutgers Defense

The Scarlet Knights pride themselves on takeaways and non-offensive touchdowns. Rutgers forced a fumble on a punt return and scored in last week's 38-26 win over Ohio. The Scarlet Knights also had a pick-six and fumble-recovery for a touchdown in the season opener against N.C. Central.

Rutgers is strong up front with tremendous depth on the defensive line. Defensive tackle Scott Vallone is one of the best in the conference.

At linebacker, there is not as much depth, but starters Khaseem Greene, Steve Beauharnais and Jamal Merrell bring incredible speed to the position.

The secondary struggled last week, surrendering more than 300 passing yards against Ohio and will have trouble against Ryan Nassib.

Star Watch: Mohamed Sanu. Sanu has 29 catches in his last two games and took home Big East Offensive Player of the Week honors after a conference record 16 against Ohio. In two career games against Syracuse, Sanu has 117 total yards on 14 touches.

Keep an Eye on: Savon Huggins. The freshman running back is the highest rated recruit in Rutgers history, a five-star on in the Class of 2011. Huggins lost two fumbles in his first career start last week, but has all three of the team's rushing touchdowns this season. Publisher Sam Hellman contributed to the story

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