Washington State limps into week 2 after a disappointing opener against FCS foe Portland State. Hopefully the second Saturday of the season yields better effort and revenge from last year. Reflections on the 2014 game against RU brings up eerily similar feelings of bitterness of this week. Favored to win? Check. Opening day meltdown? Check. Set the tone for an underwhelming campaign? We’ll see.
Rutgers opened the season with 63-13 drubbing over FCS opponent Norfolk State. The game was overshadowed by the ongoing upheaval within the football program. The news is not new, so I will not get into it in depth. ‘E-mail gate’ did not appear to be a distraction on Saturday so, unless Kyle Flood is fired this week, I do not expect it to be next week either.
Team: Rutgers University, 1-0 (0-0) Big Ten Conference.
Game: Saturday 9/12, 3:30 ET, High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, NJ. TV: ESPNU.
Coach: Kyle Flood, 4th season, 24-16 record.
Offense: Rutgers uses a pro-style attack with an emphasis on the ground game. 5th year senior Paul James leads a talented backfield behind presumed starter Hayden Rettig. Leonte Caroo, arguably the best receiver in the Big Ten Conference, is a captain and the Scarlet Knight’s biggest offensive threat.
Defense: This side of the ball is lead by senior DL Darius Hamilton. Entering his 3rd season as a full time starter, Hamilton is the undisputed leader of the defense and quite a load at 6-4, 265 lbs. Steve Longa and Kaiwan Lewis headline the linebackers. The secondary is a massive question mark. A week ago this group could be considered as satisfactory, however following the arrest and dismissal of 5 players this group is decimated. 3 CB and 1 starting safety were kicked off the team and now a bevy of freshmen are expected to contain the defensive backfield.
Special Teams: Senior Kyle Federico is the Rutgers kicker for the 4th consecutive season. He is an experienced kicker that can be relied upon should the game come down to his leg.
Overview: The 2014 Rutgers Scarlet Knights exceeded expectations en route to 8 wins and a victory in the Quick Lane Bowl. The 2015 edition returns only 2 starting offensive lineman and an untested quarterback. A stout defensive front should have silenced questions in the secondary. Arrests and dismissals turned those question marks into alarms. Expect the success of the Air Raid to determine the outcome of the game this Saturday.
Aside from revenge, what will you be looking for?
*Update: Kyle Flood has announced Chris Laviano will start at QB.