Saturday, November 10, 2007

Rutgers-Army Post Game Recap

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Friday night Rutgers weathered the elements up in West Point, NY against the Army Black Knights to stop a two-game losing streak. The game was nationally televised on ESPN2, however many of the Rutgers faithful made the trip up to Michie Stadium for the Scarlet Knights final out of conference match up for the 2007 regular season. Rutgers got on the board early after a great kickoff return by Tiquan Underwood set up a 7-yard touchdown run by Jabu Lovelace. From there on it was clear sailing for the Rutgers defense which shut out the Black Knights. Army got on the board in the first quarter after a Mike Teel pass was intercepted for a 65-yard touchdown with a missed extra point attempt. That was the only time the Black Knights would get on the scoreboard as the Scarlet Knight defense recovered 4 fumbles and intercepted one pass. As I said in my preview article, a major key to the game would be how Rutgers played on special teams against Army. The Scarlet Knights were able to block a punt for a touchdown, recovered a muffed punt return by Army and got good field consistently from their return men. Offensively, the Scarlet Knights ran up and down the field on the Black Knight's defense, which came into the game ranked 109th nationally against the run. Army certainly didn't help improve that statistic as Rutgers amassed 404 yards on the ground behind a outstanding effort from Junior RB Ray Rice who ran for a Rutgers-record 243 yards on 34 carries and two touchdowns. QB Jabu Lovelace and true freshman RB Mason Robinson also paced the Scarlet Knights on the ground with career highs of 88 and 82 yards. Rice had his 22 career game of rushing for 100 yards or more, which makes him 2nd All-Time in Big East Conference history. Rice also passed former Rutgers FB Brian Leonard in all-purpose yards for a career with 4,734 yards. This road win was the first in November for the Scarlet Knights since Nov.7, 1998 and the first of the Greg Schiano era. Kicker Jeremy Ito set a new Big East record for points by a kicker with 374 career points. Rutgers was able to unlock the door to victory with both of my keys to the game with an improved special teams game and a shutdown defensive effort.
I finally get my first prediction win as Rutgers wins this one convincingly 41-6 as my prediction was Rutgers 35-Army 17. The Scarlet Knights surpassed my expectations both offensively and defensively. This sets my all-time predicting record to 1-2.

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