What’s goin on?
Daniel covers Rutgers for NJ.Com…
Q: I’m going to assume UConn will be motivated to play this game with an opportunity to spoil Rutgers’ postseason chances. Will Rutgers be motivated to play?
A: It’s hard to imagine Rutgers won’t be motivated for this game. Coach Kyle Flood said the off-field issues were a distraction against Cincinnati, but that excuse has expired. The coaches and players haven’t had to answer any questions this week about the bullying allegations former player Jevon Tyree made against defensive coordinator Dave Cohen. The focus for the Scarlet Knights has to be on the opportunity to save their season. They aren’t going to meet the expectations they had earlier in the season, but they can clinch their eighth bowl appearance in nine years with a win on Saturday. If that isn’t a motivating factor, this team has bigger problems than any of us imagined.
Q: Can you give us an idea how good the defense is, especially against the run?
The run defense is one of the biggest strengths of the team. Rutgers allows 106.4 yards rushing per game, which ranks 11th in the nation. True freshman middle linebacker Steve Longa is a tackling machine, with a team-high 93 this season. On the flip side, the pass defense is so porous opponents haven’t had much reason to try to run. Rutgers gives up 328.5 yards per game passing, which is the second-most in the country.
Q: When Rutgers and UConn play the more physical teams wins. How are the Scarlet Knights shaping up in the department?
A: Physicality isn’t necessarily a concern for Rutgers. The line play hasn’t been dominant on either side of the ball, but it’s not a glaring weakness.The secondary and quarterback play have been the main problems. It doesn’t seem like UConn has the passing attack to exploit Rutgers’ weak defensive backs, and new quarterback Chas Dodd should give the team a spark.