It may be a cliche to say "a win's a win," but sometimes it feels like an appropriate sentiment after the season's opening game. Case in hand, Rutgers' 24-12 win over Tulane to kick off the 2012 season on September 1. The game exposed plenty of room for this Rutgers team to improve, but also highlighted a few bright spots. Here are a few observations from Game 1:
- Rutgers' coach Kyle Flood announced an end to the platooning quarterback in the preseason, and I like his decision to go with Gary Nova. But after watching the Tulane game, it's clear that he still has a long way to go. Nova completed 11 passes of 20 attempts with 1 touchdown and an interception against a less than mediocre Tulane defense. Still, way to early in the season to be second guessing.
- Great to see Rutgers' cornerback Brandon Jones making big plays. Jones battled injuries last season, but looked healthy and ready to contribute against Tulane. He was in position to disrupt a handful of passes throughout the game, including a 14 yard interception return for a touchdown.
- Jeremy Deering picked up right where he left off last season, returning a kickoff 55 yards just before halftime to set up Rutgers for the score. "Underrated" is not quite the right word to describe Deering, but it's easy to forget just how integral he is to this Rutgers team.
- Rutgers' offense got the job done, but with about as little flair as possible. I'm not looking for deep bombs on every down, but the offense looked stagnant and predictable at times. Two offensive highlights for Rutgers: the offensive line, which already looks much improved over last year, and Jawan Jamison, who rushed for 112 yards and should be a beast on the ground this season.
- I know stadium crowds get exaggerated, but 26,059? Were they counting heads or fingers?
- Rutgers' defense held Tulane to just 8 yards rushing, but did give up 254 yards through the air, with 19 first downs. There's enough concern elsewhere to start stressing too much about the Scarlet Knight's defense, but they have to stuff the third down conversions when the better teams show up.
- Congratulations to Coach Flood for his first win as Rutgers head coach. Greg Schiano gave Rutgers football national recognition. Could Kyle Flood be the man to give them a national title?
Joe is a graduate of Rutgers University, and longtime fan of Scarlet Knights football.
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