Sunday, September 27, 2009

12 Hours Later.....Black and Blue and Red All Over



"12 Hours Later" is my on going review of the 2009 Rutgers football season.

In the interest of full disclosure, I didn't make it down to Maryland to see the game yesterday between Rutgers and Maryland....and I didn't watch the game on ESPN 360, but did listen to it on the radio, and did catch the condensed highlights on SNY's RUTGERS RUSH HOUR about an hour ago. My cop out is in years past I was one of the crazies who went to five road games a year when RU was going 2-9 and 1-11- it was just a little easier for me to go on the road then as opposed to now. And tickets were easier to get.

Anyway....yesterday Rutgers and Maryland played a game in the elements that was straight out of the old NFC CENTRAL, aka "The Black And Blue Division". It was a game Rutgers won with a great defensive performance on the road, and a grind it out on the ground offense that looked stalled until the fourth quarter when Joe Martinek erupted with touchdown runs of 29 and 61 yards in the final 4:53 of the game to propel RU from a 20-13 lead to 34-13 to finish off the Terps. Martinek finished the game with 147 yards on the ground on 19 carries. MU quarterback Chris Turner didn't help his cause with an INT and fumble in the end zone that lead to two defensive TD's for Rutgers, the former on the first play of the game by Antonio Lowery, the second on a strip by Joe Lefeged and recovery for TD by George Johnson. In all Rutgers caused five turnovers (to none for the Knights)- three INT's and 2 fumble recoveries. Turner was sacked three times by the Rutgers D, and Maryland was flagged for 10 penalties for 85 yard. Rutgers held Maryland to 28 yards rushing, while Maryland had to air it out for 271 yards to stay in the game.

Because of the Maryland miscues, Rutgers was able to come away with a three touchdown win despite having only 249 yard s of total offense for the game- Rutgers fifth year senior QB Dom Natale-filling in for the injured Tom Savage- passed for only 42 yards (4 for 13), but manged the game well and did not turn the ball over.

It was about defense, turnovers, and tough fourth quarter running. RU will be off next week, and will face Texas Southern next for Homecoming, on October 12.

More on Rutgers-Maryland here.

In some other games around the Big East- Syracuse won again beating Maine, UCONN smoked an overmatched Rhode Island,and Louisville lost at Utah. West Virginia was off.

Pitt had a nice lead against NC State in Raleigh in the 4th quarter (31-24), but two fourth quarter TD's by the Wolfpack won the game for NC State. Russell Wilson had another great game for the Wolfpack, 4TD's, no INT's and 322 yards passing.

Cincinnati held the ball for only 16:18, but managed to make their possessions count, striking quickly and beating a Fresno State team (that's better than their 1-3 record indicates) at Nippert Stadium 28-20. I'm beginning to think the Bearcats could be a team of destiny.

And then there was this big one. South Florida, despite losing star quarterback Matt Grothe for the year with a torn ACL, went to Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee for a first ever meeting with Bobby Bowden's Florida State Seminoles....and Jim Leavitt's USF Bulls upset the #18 "Noles 17-7 behind freshman QB BJ Daniels.

Dad gummitt! Nice work, USF!

A couple of other games of note. I watched Iowa at Penn State last night, and was really impressed at how the Hawkeyes manhandled the Nittany Lion offense, coming back from a 10-0 deficit early on to win with 21 unanswered points, 21-10 in a hostile "white out" in Beaver Stadium. A great game for the Hawkeyes, and a head scratcher for Penn State- they can't turn the ball over 4 times (including 4 INT's) and expect to win.

Virginia Tech 31, Miami 7. Enough talk about "The U' being back, OK? Top Ten- say "goodbye".

And that goes for #6 California too, after getting smoked at Oregon by the Ducks 42-3. Did the defense stay home in Berkeley?

And finally Notre Dame- Purdue. The Boilermakers came back from being down 17-7 in the first half to take a 21-17 lead. With 30 seconds to play, the Irish with no timeouts left and at the Purdue 2 yard line, the Boilermakers called timeout to reset their defense instead of letting the clock run down and going for the stop with the personnel on the field. And they got burned when the Irish scored the winning TD on a pass from Jimmy Clausen to Kyle Rudolph for a 24-21 win.

That's all for now.

Time to watch some NFL

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