Rutgers Looking to Overcome Obstacles

By Patrick Combs @MaverickNYC1989

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights come out of their bye week with three straight wins, and
things are looking up. With both the offense playing solid football and the
defense expected to play better, the Scarlet Knights should be a team to be
recognized. On offense quarterback Gary Nova has stepped up his game and is
playing lights out football. At the beginning of the season the two areas inwhich Nova needed to
work on was accuracy and turning over the ball. In both of those areas Nova has
improved in leaps and bounds. In terms of turning the ball over Nova has only
thrown 3 interceptions in four games, while his accuracy has jumped up to 58.7
completion percentage. The play of both the running backs and the wide
receivers is also a huge reason why Gary Nova’s play has elevated. At running
back Paul James has burst on the scene and is the eighth best rusher in the
league. James exhibits good vision, speed and is fearless between the tackles.
At wide receiver youngsters Leonte Carroo and tightend Tyler Kroft have elevated
their play and have been just as dangerous as highly talented receiver Brandon
Coleman. These three receivers are big fast and they are giving Nova a lot to
throw to.

The defense is the area that needs to shore up, if the Scarlet Knights wants to
contend for an American Atlantic Conference title. Playing without their best
player Jamil Merrell has not helped the situation. This is a defense that last
year was the teams strongest unit. With Steve Longa and Jamal Merrell have been
doing their best to hold the fort. With Merrell expected back soon that
will certainly help this defensive unit play up to his expectations.

Opponent this week
Heading into this weekend against SMU the Scarlet Knights are a two point
conversion away from being undefeated. SMU is a team they should not take
lightly. Even though they are 1-2, they can exploit Rutgers’ defense in the game.
With wide receivers Jeremy Johnson and Darius Joseph, Rutgers corners will be
hard pressed to shut them down. SMU’s defense is bad and Rutgers and Gary Nova
should have no problem putting points on the scoreboard. There are some
obstacle the Scarlet Knights need to overcome such as a Paul James injury and a
defensive unit that has not played up to its standards, but this is a coaching
staff that I believe is busy at work making sure those areas get addressed.

Forecast
Rutgers will go into Dallas and face an SMU team that will keep it close until
the fourth quarter, were Rutgers defense will cement the victory for Rutgers and
shut down SMU. Rutgers wins 28-14.