Rutgers Scarlet Knights Statistical Profile

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Previewing the Bearcats crucial road trip to the Garden State by taking a deep dive into what makes the Scarlet Knights tick. On both sides of the ball.

Offense

Number Conference Rank National Rank
Rushing Yards Per Game 147.88 7 87
Rushing Yards Per Carry 9.93 7 90
Passing Yards Per Game 253.9 6 47
Passing Yards Per Attempt 7.8 5 44
Passer Rating 136.18 5 52
Yards Per Play 5.74 6 59

Middling. Unfortunately there is no other word to describe the Rutgers offense at this point in the season. That is an odd thing to say for a group that has put up 50 points on two occasions, but it is true. They haven't gone over 500 yards total offense since the opener against Fresno State. But since that game they have looked very pedestrian.

The loss of Paul James during the Arkansas game has a lot to do with that. James allowed a pedestrian running game to pass for average. Average running production made the play action part of the passing game effective. Early in the year it looked like Gary Nova had turned it around. Those good vibes prevailed until the contests against Louisville and Houston. Louisville completely took away the running game and put the game on Nova's shoulders, and he responded by barely completing 50 percent of his passes and tossing 4 picks. Houston couldn't stop the run at all, but Nova supplied three interceptions on just 15 attempts and the game ended in a route.

It doesn't have to be that way. With the weapons on hand Rutgers should be able to fashion something that resembles a competent offense. But competence has really alluded them since September. It will be interesting to see what the return of James does for the Scarlet Knights. But no one really knows how rusty he is, or how long it will take to get him back into shape. If he is back at full go tomorrow you can probably forget everything above. A healthy James completely changes the calculus.

Defense

Number Conference Rank National Rank
Rushing Yards Per Game 104.25 3 11
Rushing Yards Per Carry 3.22 4 13
Passing Yards Per Game 305.5 9 121
Passing yards Per Attempt 7.3 5 74
Passer Rating 143.13 8 97
Yards Per Play 5.51 6 65

The Rutgers offense will be very familiar to anyone who has seen Rutgers in the last decade, that one good Mike Teel season aside, the defense has a new vibe. Gone are all of the veterans who turned the Rutgers defense into a true force for the last two years, including eternal tormentor of Bearcat running backs Khaseem Greene. In their place are a bunch of very talented youngsters trying to find their way.

In couple years time this group will be pretty good, but the sheer numbers of young guys trying to find their way has made for a hit or miss group. They still play the same way, the blitzs come thick and fast. The secondary still plays as physically as the refs will allow. But the effect is less than it used to be.

The interesting thing will be how they approach the Bearcats. I would imagine that they saw the Memphis film and liked what they saw with the three man fronts and will thus try to get the Brendon Kay early and often. The risk is the Scarlet Knights don't have a secondary as good as the Tigers had. If Kay can get time he will put up numbers.

Disruptiveness

Opponents Rutgers
Tackles For Loss 51 52
Sacks 24 22
Hurries 17 18
Pressure Percent 16% 12%
Interceptions 13 6
Passes Defended 22 31
Defensed/Incompletion Ratio 33% 31%

That is mainly because Rutgers is far less effective getting to the passer this year than they were a season ago. The sack rate is basically the same, . 06%, but they aren't getting hurries at the same rate. In 2012 they hurried opposing quarterbacks 50 times, this year through 8 games they have just 18 hurries. That simply has not been enough to impact opposing passing games much, even though the coverage has been reasonably disruptive, despite the youth.

Life On The Margins

Opponents Rutgers
Opposition Fumbles Forced 9 12
Opposition Fumbles Recovered 7 6
Recovery Rate 78% 50%
Turnover Margin +6 -6
Blocked Kicks 1 3
Red Zone Touchdown Percentage 61% 70%
Non Offensive Touchdowns 1 4

The primary reason why I always include this section isn't because these factors matter from game to game, because they don't. They crop up occasionally during the course of a season, but they can't be taken to the bank as an advantage the way a team with a willfully terrible secondary can be assumed to give up a ton of big plays. All that being said this Rutgers team has had even luck this season, or maybe even slightly positive luck with those four non offensive TD's. Like UC they are, as a team, all over the map statistically. That should make for interesting football tomorrow.

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