TAMPA, Fla. - In a game that was full of ups and downs and highs and lows, Rutgers moved to 3-0 on the season with a 23-13 win over South Florida. In the midst of Rutgers' Big East season opener, did you notice...
Federico on kickoffs?
After Anthony DiPaula handled through the first two games of the season, true freshman Kyle Federico stepped in and assumed those duties against USF. His first kickoff went down to the 3-yard line while the second was a short kick with only a half-minute left to play in the first half.
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His third-quarter kickoffs went to the 7-yard line and the next one went into the endzone for RU's second touchback of the season. On Federico's second to last kickoff, the ball went out of bounds and was placed at the 35-yard line. The final kickoff was a short one that Rutgers recovered at the USF 25.
Snyder in on second play?
Linebacker Kevin Snyder was in on the second play of the game and there were even situations later on when he and Jamal Merrell were on the field at the same time. Snyder's early role was spying quarterback B.J. Daniels but his role faded as the game wore on.
Four flags on the first drive?
Rutgers' penalty problems continued this week as the first offensive series opened up with an array of yellow flags littering the field. A false start and holding call on guard Antwan Lowery pushed the offense back 15 yards before a D.C. Jefferson illegal hands to the face set Rutgers back another 15 yards. Then, Jefferson added another holding penalty on 3rd down although it was declined.
Tartacoff's struggles continues?
J.T. Tartacoff's holding problems continued as Rutgers missed an opportunity on a 41-yard field goal in the first half when he dropped the snap. Last week against Howard, Rutgers misfired on two PATs, one of which looked to be directly Tartacoff's fault. Tartacoff left the field shortly after the botched field goal. Justin Doerner came on to hold the next field goal, a 51-yard attempt that was successful. Doerner continued in that capacity for the rest of the game.
Beauharnais forcing the fourth?
Linebacker Steve Beauharnais dropped back into coverage after showing blitz on a 3rd down play with three minutes left in the first quarter. B.J. Daniels was forced to look off the receiver because of Beauharnais' decision and then forced a sideline pass that fell way short of the receiver and brought up a fourth down.
Logan forcing the issue?
Logan Ryan came up and made a tackle on a second down running play right up at the line of scrimmage late in the first quarter on the USF series that followed Mason Robinson's muffed punt. On the very next play, Ryan ran stride for stride with USF wide receiver Andre Davis and wrapped him up for a minimal gain of 2 yards, which forced a fourth down.
The leaping catches?
Three of Nova's first five completions came on high throws in which RU wide receivers climbed the ladder and made excellent catches. Brandon Coleman, Mark Harrison and Quron Pratt all left the ground and made three over the head catches that totaled 38 yards.
Stacking the weakside?
On a 1st and 10 from the Rutgers 37-yard line with 11 minutes to go in the second quarter, Rutgers stacked the weakside, bringing Ka'Lial Glaud and Duron Harmon off the edge on a run-blitz. They were in the backfield immediately but Scott Vallone was the first to get his hands on Lamar Lindsey and help bring him down for a 3-yard loss as the Knights blew up the line of scrimmage.
Looking for Shuler?
On a 3rd and 5 with 1:25 left to play in the first half, Nova dropped back and immediately looked for Miles Shuler who was split wide left. Shuler drew a double team and then Nova continued through his progressions and found Tim Wright for a reception that netted a first down.
Glaud forcing the pick?
With the game locked up at 6-6 and Rutgers starting to gain momentum, defensive end Ka'Lial Glaud burst through the line and forced B.J. Daniels to make an ill-advised quick throw that landed right in the arms of Jamal Merrell.
On Nova's third-quarter touchdown pass, running back Jawan Jamison made an excellent chip block on a USF blitzer and got enough of him to enable Nova a clear passing lane to find Mark Harrison.
Without Savon Huggins available to spell Jamison, all of the carries went through Jamison. He had 29 carries and one catch with 12 minutes to go in the game. He did not look to have as much burst in the third quarter and really showed his fatigue on a 3rd down play with just over 12 minutes left in the game. On that play, Jamison missed a block on a pass play and actually grabbed the jersey of USF defensive lineman Daniel Perry as he chased Nova but Jamison was not flagged for the infraction.
Cooper mistimes the jump?
On a pass that probably should have been picked, Rutgers cornerback Marcus Cooper mistimed his jump and tipped a pass that wound up going right into the hands of Derrick Hopkins for a 31-yard gain that setup USF's game-tying touchdown. The play opened the door back up for the Bulls.
A timely call?
Michael Burton's number was finally called in the fourth quarter with just under eight minutes. Nova rolled out and found Burton for a 15-yard first down. It was Burton's first touch of the day.