Rutgers gets needed bounce-back win vs. Kansas
Final: Rutgers 27, Kansas 14
Telling stat: Rutgers’ 513 yards
For as weak as the Scarlet Knights looked offensively in a 3-point showing against Penn State, they showed up on Saturday. Credit Chris Laviano for stepping up and converting in several key situations. He led an offensive effort that produced 31 first downs, which has been different from the boom or bust offense this team has had in the first part of the season. It doesn’t hurt when you out-rush your opponent 312-64, either.
Key play: Rutgers INT at start of second quarter
Chris Laviano had just tossed an awfully under-thrown ball in the end zone that resulted in a Kansas pick. Instead of leading 14-0, Rutgers gave the Jayhawks all the momentum. Two plays later, Kaiwan Lewis picked off Deondre Ford’s pass and gave Rutgers a short field to eventually take a two-possession lead, which they wouldn’t surrender. For a team that has lacked big defensive plays, Rutgers finally got one in a key point of the game to preserve the lead.
-Rutgers ground game dominates
It was clear what Norries Wilson wanted to do against a weak Jayhawk line. He was going to run the ball, run the ball, then run the ball some more. By day’s end, the Scarlet Knights had 58 rushing attempts. They made good use of them, too. Josh Hicks and Robert Martin both had 100-yard days and touchdowns. Paul James was effective in space, as was Laviano when he called his own number. The Jayhawks had no answer for the Scarlet Knights’ ground game, and Wilson made sure the game wasn’t put in the passing game’s hands.
-Kemoko Turay gets back in sack column
On third down with the Jayhawks driving, they decided it would be a bad idea to block Turay. Well, that itself was a bad idea. The ace pass-rusher drilled Montell Cozart and forced a key punt at the end of the first half. It hasn’t been the breakout season we were all expecting of Turay. He’s been banged up for the first part of the season, and playing without running mate Darius Hamilton, he’s received more attention. But with the news that Hamilton is out for the season, Turay needs to step up and be the freak pass-rusher we all know he is.
What it means: Rutgers isn’t the worst
ESPN said that this was the worst non-conference Power Five matchup in college football history. For the Scarlet Knights to be favored by double digits showed you how much Kansas had been struggling. Credit Wilson for preventing this team from laying another egg. A 1-3 start would’ve been disastrous for a team already in more turmoil than any in the country. The Scarlet Knights built some much needed offensive momentum before B1G play.