After enduring the worst shutout in Fayetteville in 93 years, the Hogs gladly turn the page and welcome the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (3-0) to Fayetteville. The 6:00 kickoff will be televised by ESPNU.
It still stings. Most of us thought it could get ugly last Saturday — and it did. At the first sign of adversity, the Hogs started to melt. And when you know you can’t score, it’s hard to keep up the fight, especially on defense. Alabama can do that to you.
The Hogs have to stop the bleeding this week. The good news is that all signs are pointing to a return for quarterback Tyler Wilson this week. Wilson was retested again Monday to gage his recovery from a concussion suffered vs. ULM.
“The results were much better than the previous time,” Wilson said. “Much, much better. Almost real similar to baseline. So that, for me, is very, very positive in my probability for this week. Like I told those guys last night, I’m going to do everything I can do to get back to play QB for this team, this week.”
The Hogs are looking to get some confidence back before making the SEC road trip to College Station. However, we have a feeling that Rutgers is not going to be very accommodating.
The Scarlet Knights are led by first year coach Kyle Flood. Flood took over after long time coach Greg Schiano up and took the Tampa Bay Buccaneers job earlier this year. With 15 starters back, Flood is not without weapons.
The strength of this Rutgers team is on the defensive side of the ball, and it starts with the Big East Co-Defensive Player of the Year, linebacker Khaseem Greene (6-1, 230). In the 4-3 Rutgers scheme, Greene is a tackling machine, tallying 141 tackles and 10.5 tackles for loss in 2011.
Most thought he would declare for the 2012 NFL Draft, but Greene decided to return for his senior season. NFLDraftScout.com has him ranked as the #4 OLB prospect for the 2013 draft. The Hogs need to know where #20 is lining up every snap on Saturday.
Rutgers’ soft early season schedule — one that included a road game against a terrible Tulane team and a home contest against Howard — has inflated Rutgers defensive stats a bit it seems. The Scarlet Knights currently rank as the #12 team in Total Defense (249.3 YPG). They’re good, but not that good.
In their most recent outing, RU took advantage of four South Florida turnovers and dropped the Bulls last Thursday night in Tampa, 23-13. Super sophomore running back Jawan Jamison stole the show, carrying the ball 41 times for 151 yards including a ‘video game’ type TD run to seal the deal.
Sophomore quarterback Gary Nova (575 PaYds, 4TDs in 2012) is good. But his stats have been pedestrian at best so far, completing 55.1 percent of his passes. When Rutgers gets in the red zone, Nova looks for big target 6-6 sophomore Brandon Coleman (118 RecYds, 3 TDs).
On special teams, kickoff return man Jeremy Deering is dangerous if he gets his hands on the ball. The 6-2, 210 junior led the Big East in kickoff return average last season, and has already popped one for 55 yards in 2012.
Believe it or not, some of the RazorBloggers like the Hogs chances to bounce back this week if Wilson plays. Apparently so does Vegas…Arkansas is favored by 7. And we hear that we may see the new white helmets this week. We need all the help we can muster right now.