football Edit

LBs Powell, Jennings must build on solid start to season

Linebacker depth -- or the lack thereof -- was one of the main talking points of training camp and leading into week 1 of the 2022 Rutgers Football season.

For the Scarlet Knights, because of injuries, it’s really Deion Jennings and Tyreem Powell and then everyone else. There is a drop off after those two.

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However, the concerns, at least for one game, are off to the side as Powell tallied four tackles including a sack in the opener and Jennings racked up six stops including one behind the line of scrimmage.

“I thought they both played well. I thought they both played well,” head coach Greg Schiano said on Monday. “Deion played a lot more his first year with us than his second, and then Tyreem played last year. He got to start at Indiana, but you never really know now they were the guys. I thought they performed well. Again, a launching pad for them. All of this is a starting point, and because we win by one point it all feels so different.”

Rutgers linebacker Tyreem Powell adds weight. The Rutgers University football team participates in strength training at the Hale Center on Tuesday, June 21, 2022. Football Rutgers Football Offseason Strength Workout
Rutgers linebacker Tyreem Powell adds weight. The Rutgers University football team participates in strength training at the Hale Center on Tuesday, June 21, 2022. Football Rutgers Football Offseason Strength Workout (Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK)

Per Pro Football Focus, which has the incorrect stats that were first originally totaled up by BC, gave Powell the fourth-best defensive grade on the team with a 69.4. He got high marks in tackling (81.5) and run defense (78.8), which another solid grade in pass rush at 70.4

“I thought we played pretty well. Me and Deion work hard every day and communicate well,” Powell said. “We have to communicate better in game, but that’ll come with time. Our focus is on Wagner now.”

As a defense, Rutgers dominated the Eagles in terms of stopping the run. Boston College could only muster 29 rushing yards for the entire game including -8 in the second half.

“I thought we did well there,” Powell said. “With our guys up front, they make it easier for us as linebackers. We can go out there and play freely and make plays when it comes to us.

“We just believed in each other. We played for each other and as a whole defense. …The first game is always good to help set the tone. We have a long way to go though. It’s a long season.”

On the first play of the game for BC, cornerback Robert Longerbeam came on a blitz and sacked Eagles quarterback Phil Jurkovec. Powell was right there for the fumble recovery, but the ball slipped through his hands. He hopes he gets that same chance again, as he was mad at himself for not scooping it up.

“I was sick to my stomach when it happened,” Powell said. “My boy Robert made a great play. I just have to be better on that. I have to catch, tip, tuck, and squeeze and recover that ball. I’ll get the next one.”

Rutgers plays its first home game of the year when it takes on Wagner of the FCS ranks on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. inside SHI Stadium.

“We’ll always carry momentum especially after a win,” Powell said. “We have to go in with the same mentality. It doesn’t matter who our opponent is. We have to chop, go hard, and play physically.”

Follow Chris Nalwasky on Twitter @ChrisNalwasky.

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