Sunday, October 11, 2009

12 Hours Later.....Young Men at Work (Rutgers vs Texas Southern)

This is part of my ongoing series following the 2009 Rutgers football season from my seat in section 104. Yesterday's opponent was Texas Southern University. Apologies about the delay in this entry- the spirit was willing, the body was out of gas!

Rutgers quarterback Tom Savage returned to action yesterday after being sidelined by a concussion for the following game, the win at Maryland two weeks ago where backup Dom Natale filled in capably.

Here's what you need to know about the heralded Rutgers freshman qb. Its the good news and the bad news- Tom Savage has no fear. Yes, he makes great decisions considering his relative inexperience at the college level. He doesn't turn the ball over, completes the majority of his passes, and usually finds ways to turn negative plays into positive ones.

The kid has "got it". His ability is just scratching the surface.

Now, if the coaches could just get him to slide when he scrambles for a first down on a busted play. Yesterday Savage, just cleared to play last week after experiencing post concussion symptoms, ran for 28 yards on a play when when forced to scramble for a first down. It seemed like at least half of the 50,000 plus Homecoming crowd were saying "slide- Slide-SLIDE" under their breaths while Savage ran towards the South end zone. Instead, he lowered his shoulder and picked up another few yards.

If the fans have any complaint about yesterdays 42-0 win, that was it. He has to be aware of the fact that this team is built around him- he doesn't have to do it all himself. Three Rutgers running backs- Joe Martinek, Jourdan Brooks, and De’Antwan Williams- accounted for four rushing touchdowns and 221 total rushing yards, with Williams leading the trio 132 yards, most of it coming in the 4th quarter. Tim Brown caught a TD pass of 34 yards from Savage, and had 94 yards receiving. Savage was 14 of 21 for 150 yards in three quarters, being lifted in the 4th for Natale, who fed the ball to Williams in the final chapter, going 1 fo 1 to pick up a first down to keep the drive alive.

The scoring got started when DB David Rowe intercepted a pass from TSU's Arvell Nelson, and took it 56 yards for a Pick 6, making it 7-0 Rutgers. Then the route was on. By halftime Martinek scored twice, and Brooks once, 28-0 Rutgers. It was Savage to Brown in the third, and Williams with a 44 yard TD run in the fourth.

The defense was nothing less than stellar, holding TSU to minus 25 yards rushing, forcing two fumbles, two INT's, and sacking Nelson seven times, with Jonathan Freeny leading the way with 2.5 sacks, and George Johnson and Justin Francis getting two sacks each.

After a shaky start in the loss to Cincinnati, Rutgers has become a defensive juggernaut in the making, scoring four defensive touchdowns in five games, registering 18 sacks, intercepting 8 passes and recovering 8 fumbles, Rutgers has four turnovers all season, 3 INT's against Cincy, and a lost fumble in the first quarter against Howard. That's a +12 on the season, and have gone nearly four games without a turnover.

An area for concern for RU...too many penalties; so far they have 38 for 269 yards, or 53.8 yards per game- too much dumb stuff. And they need to correct it before they get into the meat of the Big East Schedule.

You can read more about RU-Texas Southern at (the new and improved) Scarlet

Other Stuff

I was tailgating from late morning on Saturday until game time, and didn't make it home until about eight in the evening, so consequently I didn't see a lot of other college football on Saturday. As far as Syracuse- West Virginia, there were no real surprises there. I listened to that game while tailgating (and saw some of the replay on SNY), and I have to wonder if the Greg Paulus quarterback experiment has run its course. Cuse coach Doug Marrone yanked Paulus and replaced him with Ryan Nassib. Paulus has the raw skill to play quarterback, but maybe the time has come to start thinking about next year, as Syracuse fell to WVU 34-13, making its it eight staright for the 'Neers over the Orange.

I only saw the last quarter of Florida at LSU. And from what I could see, it was a pretty lackluster game, after being so hyped for the past two weeks. A 13-3 win for Florida. What can I say? It put me to sleep. I mean that literally.

As for the NFL....the Giants roll on 44-7, with Eli Manning playing less than half a game, leaving with the score 28-7, and David Carr leading the G-men the rest of the way. And Oakland? Dear Raider Nation, the Silver and Black are as seriously bad as a heart attack. How this franchise went from being feared to a laughingstock in such a relatively short span of time, even with a slew of high level draft picks, is a story unto itself.

The Eagles roll on with Mr. McNabb 33-14, probably the team that will duke it out with the Giants not just for the NFC East but probably for the NFC championship. Its going to be fun here in Jersey with half the state Giant Blue, and the lower half "A-gle" green.

A great win by Denver over the Patriots in Denver, 20-17 in OT to stay undefeated at 5-0, while New England fell to 3-2. Is there a more pumped up coach in the NFL than Josh McDaniels? What defense...and Kyle Orton looks like he's found a home in the Mile High City. Now, today both teams wore their throwback uniforms to honor the 50th anniversary of the birth of the old AFL. The Pats wore vintage Boston Patriot uniforms....and the Broncos....well, I heard the story behind these uniforms. In 1960 the Broncos ownership got these gaudy gold and brown uniforms, with vertical striped socks, at a discount rate. I had heard stories about how ugly the unis were, but never really saw any pictures or film of players in them. Its just as well that color TV was an expensive novelty in 1960 because those uniforms might have been the most wretched looking things ever to grace a professional sports team in any sport in any league. Today we got a look at those uniforms, in color and in high def. And my eyes still hurt.

For my brother and his family in Ohio, the Browns won one, 6-3 against the Buffalo Bills, both teams are now 1-4. Was anybody still awake in the 4th quarter?

Finally, kudos to the Cincinnati Bengals for winning another one, the "Cardiac Cats" winning this one with a TD pass in the last 22 seconds to beat the Ravens in Baltimore, 17-14. The Bengals are now 4-1, and be would be 5-0 if not for that stunning last second TD the Broncos beat them with on opening day.

After the game the Bengals gave the game ball to defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, who's wife Vikki passed away Thursday. Read the expanded story here.

And in parting.... Yanks lead the Twins 2-1 in the eight. Can they close it out today, and on to meet the Halos? We shall see

Update! Yanks win, 4-1!  ON to the ALCS!!!!!.

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