Rutgers vs. Washington: Did you notice?


PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Rutgers led Washington through most of the first half, but could outlast the No.8-ranked team in the country as the Scarlet Knights lost by a final of 30-14. In the midst of the season opener, did you notice...

First freshmen on the field?

Linebacker Olakunle Fatukasi, kicker Justin Davidowicz and lienbacker Brendan DeVera were the first freshmen to play this season for the Scarlet Knights as they were all part of the kickoff team to start the game.

Lots of personnel?

Jerry Kill showed early on that he is not shy about rotating guys in. During the first quarter alone, he used six different wide receivers (Dacoven Bailey, Hunter Hayek, Bo Melton, Duwop Mitchell, Everett Wormley and Janarion Grant). Three different running backs (Robert Martin, Gus Edwards, Raheem Blackshear) also carried the football while tight ends Jerome Washington, Myles Nash and Nakia Griffin all played in the first quarter as well.

New look at d-end?

Rutgers showed a new look with Kevin Wilkins starting at defensive end as it gives the defense more size in the trenches. Wilkins showed that the move paid off early as he made a couple of plays against the run. Wilkins was actually in on the first tackle of the game and disrupted a couple other first quarter plays even though he did not get credit for those tackles. However, one weakness was showed on a short flat pass to Washington running back Myles Gaskins as Wilkins had no chance of chasing him down.

The first penalty?

Rutgers was not flagged until the 7:47 mark of the second quarter when Bo Melton made a freshman mistake and tackled Washington returner Dante Pettis out of bounds on a punt. Melton was flagged 15 yards for a personal foul.

Edwards in the endzone?

Rutgers made a questionable choice of backs when backed up against its own goal line, a little more than halfway through the second quarter. Gus Edwards carried three times for minus one yards. While Edwards is the biggest of the RU running backs, he does not have the quickest burst of the group, which can be key when backed up so close to the endzone.

Bateky’s first half?

Starting defensive lineman Jon Bateky had a solid first half, finishing second on the team with four tackles after two quarters of play. However, Bateky was limping on the sidelines towards the end of the first half. He played in the second half but was not as effective as was early on.

D-Line improvement?

Rutgers was among the worst defenses against the run last season and that has suddenly changed. The RU front four were not being pushed around by Washington and continually found ways to get pressure in the backfield. The majority of Washington’s bigger plays came because of miscues on the second and third levels of the defense, but not up front.

The RB pecking order?

Rutgers senior running back Josh Hicks did not get a carry as the pecking order at running back featured Edwards, Martin and Blackshear ahead of him. Charles Snorweah is the fifth running back, which meant that Trey Sneed is the odd man out. Sneed did not dress for the game.

Tight end friendlier?

The tight end has returned in the new Rutgers offense as Jerome Washington led the team with six catches while Nakia Griffin-Stewart added a reception as well. Those seven catches are almost half the number of catches (16) that the Rutgers tight ends had all of last season.