Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Game Week--Rutgers

Saturday at high noon WVU will face the State University of New Jersey named after a guy that promised, but never really delivered, said University a bunch of cash. However, he did give the college a $200 bell and a bond for $5,000. If West Virginia named everything after people who got money for the state then everything in the state would have the name of Byrd on it. Oh, nevermind.

Rutgers comes into the game riding high on the tails of a 30-27 win over USF and to a lesser extent a win over Syracuse the Saturday preceding. The wins ended a two game losing streak for the Scarlet Knights at the hands of Maryland and Cincy. In those two loses there was one common theme; stop Ray Rice. Rice managed 94 yards rushing against Cincy, but on 34 carries (a 2.8 ypc average) and against Maryland had 97 yards on 21 carries. The 21 carries represents a normal half of work for Rice. Rutgers comes into the game with the 13th ranked total offense in the country and 21st scoring offense (Rice is 4th in individual rushing, Teel 8th in passing efficiency). The receivers are led by Tiquan Underwood with 39 catches for 789 yards and 6 touchdowns. Underwood had 114 yards vs. USF. Kenny Britt has added 29 catches for 667 yards and 4 touchdowns to the mix at WR while the tight end has been used sparingly with Kevin Brock only making 8 catches on the year. The game plan for Rutgers on offense is pretty simple, yet effective. Pound Ray Rice until the defense brings everyone up and then hit the wide receivers in man coverage with no safety help. The snag in the gameplan this season has been turnovers as the Scarlet Knights are 83rd in the country in turnover margin and have been forced into 14 turnovers so far this season.

The defense for Rutgers is 17th in the nation in total defense at 306 ypg. The rush defense allows 136 yards per game which is 44th while the pass defense is 7th in the county allowing only 170 yards per game. The defense will bring pressure on any passing down and Rutgers is currently 9th in the nation with 3.3 sacks per game. The leading tackler for Rutgers is DB Courtney Greene followed by linebackers Kevin Malast and Brandon Renkart. Jamal Westerman has added 6 sacks to the pass rush to rank 17th in the nation. The seven Rutgers interceptions have all been by different players. USF threw the ball for 247 yards in a loss and had no rusher other than Grothe over 50 yards for the game. Cincy threw for 257 yards and managed 150 yards rushing on 40 carries while Maryland threw for 219 yards and rushed for 239 yards on 59 carries. Keon Lattimore and Lance Ball combined for 233 yards on 46 carries in that game.

West Virginia is currently 12th in total offense with a break down of second in rushing offense at 304 ypg and 103rd in passing offense at 177 ypg. WVU is averaging 42 points per game which is 7th in the nation. Steve Slaton is 27th in the nation in rushing at 107 yards per game and Pat White is averaging 71.4 yards on the ground. White is also 6th in the nation in passing efficiency. Defensively the Mountaineers are now up to 4th in total defense at 255 ypg with the pass defense ranking 5th and the run defense ranking 12th. WVU is allowing 16.5 points per game which is 10th in the country. Johnny dingle is currently 17th in the nation in sacks per game and has 6 so far this year and is 13th in tackles for loss at 1.5 per game. The linebackers are leading the team in total tackles with Reed Williams setting the pace and Mortty Ivy and Marc Magro (tobacco free) following. In the secondary Ryan Mundy and Eric Wicks each have a pair of interceptions.

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