WVU - Rutgers Game Preview

The Mountaineers head down the Pennsylvania turnpike and into New Jersey for a battle with the Scarlet Knights.

Series:West Virginia leads series 23-4-2

Common Opponents:

Hit the Road with the Mountaineers

Scarlet Knights to watch:
QB- Ryan Cubit, P- Mike Barr, LB- Gary Brackett, DL-Alfred Peterson, DB- Shawn Seabrooks, TE- L.J Smith

Injuries:
WVU - Ernest Hunter (Leg) Out, Darnell Glover (Knee) Out, A. J. Nastasi, (Ankle) Doubtful, Brian King (Thigh) Probable, Arthur Harrison (Leg) Probable.

Rutgers- Mike Williamson (Shoulder) Questionable, Jason Grant (Knee) Questionable, Tres Moses (Knee) Questionable, Brian Duffy (Ankle) Questionable, Ted Trump (Ribs, Ankle) Questionable, Jarvis Johnson (Shoulder) Questionable, Markis Facyson (Ankle) Questionable.

Game outlook:

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Game Info
WVU 0-0, 3-2
RU 0-1, 1-4
Sat. 10/12 3:00 pm
Rutgers Stadium
Series: WVU 23-4-2
TV: Comcast SportsNet
BCS: WVU-63 - RU-147
Line:WVU -14
Stats & Trends
WVU offense vs. Knights defense
Which WVU offense will show up? Which Rutgers defense will show up? At times, the Scarlet Knights defense has played well, ask the Tennessee Volunteers who were held to 7 points in the first half of their game against Rutgers. The Knights defense then allowed the Volunteers to rack up 28 points in the second half.

The Scarlet Knight defense is lead by Senior LB, Gary Brackett (28 solo tackles, 21 assist and 6 tackles for loss) and Junior DB, Shawn Seabrooks (22 solo tackles and 16 assist). Brackett and Seabrooks make up two of the five returning starters of the Knight defense and will not forget last year's embarrassment in Morgantown.

Rutgers plays a 4-3 defense that will try to keep Rasheed Marshall in the pocket and force the WVU QB to beat them with his arm.

By the numbers:

WVU ranks 2nd in rushing, averaging 313. yds/game. Rutgers ranks 45th in rush defense, holding opponents to 129.6 yds/game. WVU ranks 5th in total yardage ( 465.0 yds/game) while the Knights give up on average of 368 yds/ game which ranks 65th.

Advantage : WVU

WVU defense vs. Knights offense

The Mountaineer defense will need two things to happen on Saturday to be successful but they can only control one area. WVU has to force the Scarlet Knight offense to drive the length of the field to score. If the Blue and Gold allow big plays like they did against Maryland, it could be a long day. The other key for success for the defense is to stay off the field. When the WVU offense continues to go 3 and out, the defense has no time for rest which will hurt when the 4th quarter rolls around.

Rutgers' quarterback situation has not been ideal. Ted Trump started the season but after tossing six interceptions, Ryan Cubit has taken over. Cubit had a solid game against Tennessee (17-31 for 151 yards) even though he spiked the ball to stop the clock on 4th down at the Tennessee goal line.

The Scarlet Knight's running attack is lead by Markis Facyson (269 yards , 57.0 yds/game) and Clarence Pittman (229 yards 41.8 yds/game). Pittman topped the century mark against the Volunteers, rushing for 104 yards on 31 carries.

Rutgers' main receiving threat is LJ Smith. Smith has caught 20 passes for 214 yards and 2 TD's. Sound like a wide receiver? Nope, Smith is a 6'4" 252 pound tight end with nice hands. Keep an eye on who covers Smith in WVU's 3-3-5 stack defense.

By the numbers:

Rutgers as averaged 85.4 yds/ game, ranking them 112th. The Mountaineers have allowed 125 rushing yds/game, which ranks 39th. The Knights rank 114th (265 yds/game) while WVU have given up 331.6 yds/game, ranking 38th.

Advantage: WVU

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Links
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Tailgating
WVU special teams vs. Knights special teams

While the Mountaineers look for someone to step up and make a big play on special teams, Rutgers have showed continued improvement each week. Mike Barr, the Scarlet Knights punter, has had a solid season and judging by the sub par performance of Rutgers offense, Barr has had plenty of chances to improve. Out of his 36 punts, Barr has placed 12 inside the 20 yard line.

In the kicking game, Ryan Sands leads Rutgers in scoring with 17 points. Sands has connected on 3-6 field goals and 8-9 extra points.

When WVU kicks off, look out for return man Nathan Jones. Jones has returned 5 kicks for a total of 166 yards and took it to the house on one of his attempts.

By the numbers:

WVU ranks 109th in net punting while Rutgers ranks 54th. WVU ranks 29th in kickoff returns while Rutgers places 62nd. The Mountaineers rank 88th in punt return yardage, Rutgers ranks 69th in the same category.

Advantage :Rutgers

Picks to Click:

On Offense: Avon Cobourne
On Defense: David Upchurch

Stat of the week:

In the last eight years the Mountaineers are 14-5 as a road favorite. Rutgers is 6-31 as a home underdog in the same time span. On average, it takes Rutgers 28.5 plays to score 7 points while WVU needs 17.5 plays. The size of the average Scarlet Knight player is 6'1, 231 lbs while the average Mountaineer is 6' 220 lb (3rd lowest in the NCAA). WVU is 5-6 in games played on October 12th.

Stats & Trends

Prediction:
After a disappointing showing against the Maryland Terrapins the Mountaineers look to get their 4th victory of the year against Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights have 80 reasons to be fired up against WVU and you can bet Rutgers will be looking to drop the Mountaineers to 0-1 in the Big East Conference. Although WVU generally struggles at Rutgers Stadium, the Blue and Gold have too much riding on this game not put forth the effort necessary to win.

WVU - 27 Rutgers - 13


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