Why don't kickers and punters get credited for starts in official statistics? Is it because only the starters on the first offensive and defensive plays from scrimmage are counted? A backlash against kickers? Or is it simply that no one has ever thought about it until now? Obviously, my mind is wandering. Gametime can't get here soon enough.
OWNING THE LIST
Two of the three quarterbacks that hold a piece of West Virginia's single game pass completion percentage record are on this year's squad. The mark is 90%, held jointly by Mike Sherwood, Adam Bednarik and Patrick White. Sherwood and Bednarik were each 9-10 in games against Richmond (1970) and Rutgers (2005) respectively, while White had a much higher degree of difficulty, going 18-20 against East Carolina earlier this year.
Popular opinion holds that the West Virginia defensive front line is undersized, and while that may be valid when compared to some teams, it doesn't hold water in this week's contest. The Rutgers defensive line averages just 260 pounds per man, while WVU, if it deploys Dingle, Neild and Dykes, checks in at 290.
|WVU 6-1, 1-1
RU 5-2, 2-1
|Sat 10/27 Noon|
|Series: WVU 28-4-2|
Brad Nessler, Play-by-Play
Bob Griese, Color Analyst
Paul Maguire, Color Analyst
Bonnie Bernstein, Sideline
|BCS: WVU 7th - RU NR|
|Line: WVU -6.5|
On the flip side, the Rutgers roadgraders are well-versed in slugging it out for 60 minutes with opposing lines, and wearing them down in the fourth quarter. Having Ray Rice running behind them certainly helps as well. While neither he (nor anyone else) "gets stronger as the game goes on", as many talking heads are wont to blather, he may tire less quickly than his foes, making him a dangerous fourth quarter runner.
After going 0-25 against top ten teams in the first 136 years of its football history, Rutgers has fashioned a two-game winning streak against such foes (Louisville in 2006 and South Florida last week). This week's game against West Virginia falls into that classification as well, and marks the first time Rutgers has ever faced top ten opponents in consecutive games.
THE REAL REASON?
Rutgers' true freshman Anthony Davis, who just turned 18 on Oct. 11, has started the last two games at right guard for Rutgers, and he just might be the reason for an upsurge in the Scarlet Knights' rushing fortunes. Of course, running back Ray Rice has something to do with that as well, but Rutgers has increased its rushing output noticeably with Davis in the starting lineup.
In those two contests, Rutgers has averaged 199 rushing yards, including 170 against defensive-minded South Florida. Davis is the first true freshman to start on the offensive line for Rutgers since Jeremy Zuttah made five starts up front in 2004. Ironically, Zuttah is now just one spot down the line from Davis at right tackle, and is winding up an outstanding career for the Scarlet Knights.
In West Virginia's 12 consecutive wins over Rutgers, the Mountaineers have outscored Scarlet Knights 540-203, for an average of 45.0 points to 16.9 points per game. Of course, this sort of stat means absolutely nothing in terms of handicapping this year's contest, but it's a fun number nonetheless.
MEDIA GUIDE MUSINGS
In light of its leap to national prominence last year (fueled in part by ESPN's style over substance journalistic approach), Rutgers could be expected to highlight the hoopla in its media guide. However, an entire page dedicated to the manner in which the Scarlet Knights travel to away games? We kid you not.
|RU Message Board|
|RU Official Site|
Another thing that stands out about the Rutgers guide is its overdependence on photos. There is probably less text in the Rutgers media guide than in any other such publication we've reviewed this year. There's certainly nothing wrong with photos, but it seems like this guide overusues them a bit. Particularly glaring is the inside back cover, which proclaims "The State of Rugers" while featuring photos of New York City venues, the Jersey shore, the Meadowlands football stadium and, oddly enough, a golf course.
We also learn that Rutgers, which was once known as Queens college, used the nickname "Queensmen" until the early 1950s, when "Knights" was selected as the new mascot.