Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Scarlet Knights Drop to 0-3


For the first time in nine years Rutgers has started a season 0-3.

One can use all the clichés in the world to try and deflect criticism, second guessing, or whatever, but one thing that isn’t up for debate – when the fifth-year senior starting quarterback is taking swings at teammates – things are bad.

The latest loss, a heartbreaking 23-21 decision to Navy, is just another bad chapter, in what is turning out to be a horror story of a season for the Scarlet Knights.

After the Midshipmen had taken a 23-21 lead with 2:06 to play, and put the ensuing kickoff out of bounds, Rutgers had the ball at the 40-yard line with a chance to drive down the field and quiet all the naysayers; unfortunately old habits came back to haunt them.

With 1:34 left, Mike Teel locked on to tight end Kevin Brock, allowing linebacker Ross Pospisil to make the interception, inevitably ending the game.

As Teel was jogging off the field, reserve safety Glen Lee tried to offer words of encouragement to the disheveled quarterback. Teel let his emotions get the best of him, and took a swipe at Lee.

Head Coach Greg Schiano downplayed the incident as a “family matter”, but it just shows how frustrated everyone is with the poor start.

The Scarlet Knight defense did their part in the first half, holding Navy – and the nation’s leading ground game – to 109 yards. But in the second half, the Midshipmen exploited the defense for 185 total yards, in the third quarter alone.

And while the defense also held the nation’s leading rusher coming into the game, Shun White, in check, they allowed fullback Eric Kettani to put up a career-high 134 yards and a touchdown.

In one bright spot for Rutgers, two red-shirt freshmen, Jourdan Brooks and Joe Martinek, seemed to breathe a little life in the Scarlet Knight running game.

Ray Rice was on the sidelines to root on his former teammates, and for the first time in this young season, the Scarlet Knight running game looked strong.

Brooks ended the day with his first career start under his belt, and ended the day with 134 yards and two touchdowns. Martinek had a score of his own -- his first collegiate touchdown.

Through two games this season the Rutgers play calling has been questionable, at best. Two things that can be added to the list of guarantees in life, besides death and taxes; if back-up quarterback Jabu Lovelace comes into the game, he’s going to run the ball (even if it’s third-and-13), and it might be time to put the wide receiver screen on the shelf.

Changes seemed to make a difference in the running game, at this point any other changes should be considered, if the one change that means most is going to happen – changing that zero in the win column.