Whewww, how about that first drive, huh? Anyone else ready to throw themselves off a balcony into a pool of razorblades after they saw the Rutgers defense get carved up by Norfolk State no more than a couple of minutes into the season. Hey, since it's a new year and the only two things pumping through my blood are alcohol and irrational optimism I am going to say it was a good thing that Norfolk State made US look like the FCS program. Everyone knows that college football is full of ups and downs, except many don't realize it until their team faces adversity. Well, look at that, Rutgers already showed you how bad things can get in a game that was filled with mostly good things. 63 points, a 50 point win, AND a reality check that there are going to be moments when this team is going to make you question your sanity. That's the goddamn trifecta right there!
Did you expect anything less? Did you really think that Rutgers was going to make it cleanly out of a training camp battle at quarterback without a full fledged controversy? At least this time it's between two quarterbacks that look like they are capable of leading this team. Usually uncertainty under center would revolve around picking the lesser of two evils. With all the positive reports from camp, and the eye test that they passed with flying colors yesterday, it looks like picking a starter will be a situation where Rutgers is spoiled for choice. Would I rather have Rettig start? Yeah, probably. However, with the way the creativity in play calling was ramped up in the second half, as well as a 4-4, 3 touchdown performance from Laviano, it looks like Coach Flood is giving him every opportunity to lead this team. Hard to argue with either option at this point, but it will interesting to see how long the leash is, regardless of who starts.
I guess we can put to rest the notion that Leonte Carroo was phased by his first half suspension. Three catches for 129 yards and three touchdowns? Is that good? Leave it to the best playmaker Rutgers has to showcase his importance to this team in less than a quarter of football. The running backs, as expected, looked great. Janarion Grant and Andre Patton both had exteremely impressive grabs (even if one was called back). No matter who the signal caller of this team is, they won't be able to say that the offense was limited by a lack of options.
Despite a few hiccups, the defense looked quick to the ball, and recovered from a rookie secondary that took it's lumps to start the afternoon. When the majority of your last line of defense learns it's going to be counted on to start a couple of days before the first game of season it's natural for them to experience some jitters. The secondary is undoubtedly going to be the achilles heel of this team, but hopefully a formidable pass rush and some well timed blitzes can help cover up some of their inexperience. They certainly did for a majority of yesterday afternoon, even if they were playing a cupcake of an opponent.
Let me leave you with this hypothetical. If I said there were 4 teams, all playing subpar competition, and one of those teams had been facing an unGodly amount of ridicule after having to dismiss 5 of it's players following their arrests, would you pick them as the only team to defeat that subpar competition? Not saying a victory over Norfolk State is something to be patting yourself on the back about. I am saying that today I would rather be a Rutgers fan than a Washington State, Penn State, or Kansas fan. I would rather smack a handicapped team by 50 than succumb to the likes of Portland State, Temple, or South Dakota State. Now those losses won't do much for Rutgers strength of schedule, but it is a good sign that they will be able to overcome the adversity ahead of them given that their next three opponents are clearly struggling mightily. Let's hope the defensive backs can take something out of yesterday's game so they are prepared for a more explosive Washington State aerial attack. Going to need to slow them down offensively so we can head to Happy Valley 2-0, that is, if Happy Valley didn't already commit mass suicide following a loss that can only be described as humiliating. I'll leave it to the players not to overlook this week's opponent, because it's hard for me to with Sacktember 19th readily approaching. Time to show the college football world that no amount of criticism can break up a true FAMILY!