Bits & Bytes: WVU - Rutgers

Shutouts, red zones, records and the weather highlight our final look at the Rutgers - WVU game.

BlueGoldNews.com Game Scorecard
Sat 10/29/11 3:30 PM

Piscataway, NJ

High Point Solutions Stadium
Record: 5-2
BCS: 25
Last Game
Syracuse L 23-49
TV: ABC
Sirius/XM: 92/194
Web: BlueGoldNews.com
Record: 5-2
BCS: NR
Last Game
Louisville L 14-16
Rosters/ Bios
Press Release
Season Stats
2011 Schedule

Series: WVU 32-4-2
First Meeting: 1921
Last Meeting: 2011
Rosters/Bios
Press Release
Season Stats
2011 Schedule



TRIVIA TIME

Rutgers is the only school in the nation to post a shutout in each of the last six seasons. During that time, it has recorded eight shutouts against seven different teams. Can you name the schools which the Scarlet Knights have blanked? Hint: Only one of them is in the Big East Conference.


RED ZONE CLASH

Converting in the red zone is always important, but this week's game features two teams that excel at scoring (WVU) and preventing scores (Rutgers) from point blank range. West Virginia has scored on 91.4 percent (32/35) of its red zone drives this year, tying it for 13th place nationally. WVU only missed on three attempts in the red zone this season - two against Norfolk State, a missed field and a drive that ended on downs, and an interception at Syracuse. While its touchdown percentage hasn't been great (22 vs. 10 field goals), the Mountaineers are putting up points when they get close.

The Mountaineers will face an opponent that has defended its final 20 yards of turf well. Rutgers leads the nation in red zone defense having given up just 12 scores in 20 opportunities, including just seven touchdowns.


NOT A PREDICTOR

Just about every college team trumpets its players in the NFL, as a matter of pride and as a recruiting tool. However, except for those schools at the very top of collegiate rankings, there's not a huge correlation between the number of NFL players and collegiate success.

Exhibit A is West Virginia and Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights list no fewer than 20 players currently on NFL rosters, while WVU has just 11. Yet, somehow, the Mountaineers have run off 16 consecutive wins over RU.


RECORD WATCH

WVU already has more individual 100-yard receiving performances this year than in any other season in Mountaineer history. Led by Stedman Bailey's five consecutive 100+-yard efforts, West Virginia has racked up ten overall this year. The previous record was eight in 1996.

With that record already shattered, several others are on the endangered list as well. Marc Bulger's single season marks for total offense, passing yards, pass completions, pass attempts and touchdowns could all fall by the end of this year.


SALUTE

Not only is injured Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand leading the team onto the field for the WVU game, he's also listed on Rutgers' roster this year. I realize that this may seem like a small thing, but it's a great move by Rutgers to show that he's still part of the team. Classy, and meaningful, gesture by the school and the team.


TEMPERATE RESULTS

Most every school lists their teams record in their game notes given certain circumstances – for instance, almost every school will have items like "WVU is 5-0 when scoring 30 or more points this year." Some of these can get pretty esoteric or offbeat – for example, the Mountaineer version lists the team's won-loss record since 2001 for every different uniform combination. That doesn't come close to Rutgers, however, which lists its record this year relative to the temperature at kickoff.

So far, it looks like the Scarlet Knights like comfortable climates. RU is 4-0 in games that being in the 60s or 70s, but 0-2 in contests that are outside that 20 degree range. It looks like this week's game will be outside those markers, but check the weather link in our game header above to see what the current prediction is for 3:30 PM on Saturday.


ANSWER

The Scarlet Knights began the string in 2006 with whitewashings of Illinois (33-0) and Navy (34-0). Since then they have blanked Norfolk State twice (2007: 59-0 and 2010: 31-0), Morgan State in 2008 (38-0), Texas Southern (42-) and USF (31-0) in 2009, and North Carolina Central in 2001 (48-0).


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