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Scarlet Knights return to days of yore; Heels stomp them, 44-12
New Brunswick, NJ - We reminisced with several Rutgers fans who stayed until the end of the 44-12 drubbing of Rutgers by North Carolina during the second half. The departure of those on the bandwagon made the stands look very similar to the days when we saw the Scarlet Knights (0-2) struggle over the many years prior to 2006. Despite the influx of top talent, the results looked very similar to former days when RU fans continued their mantra "if we can keep the best players from New Jersey..." Coach Greg Schiano's former mentor from Miami, Butch Davis, taught him some lessons about preparing and executing an effective game plan.
UNC (2-0) led at the half 17-6 primarily due to two T.J. Yates TD passes, a six-yarder to Hakeem Hicks and a 69-yarder to Brandon Tate who burned the supposed strength of RU's defense, the secondary. Any hope for a second half comeback faded quickly for RU as both deep return men ran right past the kickoff and recovered it back on their own one. North Carolina took over the subsequent punt at RU's 49 and cashed in on that field position as Tate scored from the 12 on an end-around. RU took over at the 40 after the Tar Heels kicked the ball out of bounds. Despite the field position, RU failed to capitalize when LB Bruce Carter picked off a tipped pass from Mike Teel and returned it 66 yards for another UNC TD and a 31-7 lead. The flailing continued as Yates tossed his third TD of the night to Hicks from the 11 yard line. Most RU "fans" missed the balance of the onslaught as they scurried to the exits and out to the buses back to the RAC early in the third period. Yates finished 14 for 22 for 261 yards and 3 TDs. His receivers were wide open most of the night. Tate had four snags for 138 yards. RU's Teel completed 25 of 40 for 243 yards and one TD, but three interceptions resulted in scores. Back-up Jabu Lovelace was 0 for 3, but also chipped in an INT. Schiano's team may salvage some victories this year in what looks like a very weak Big East. Despite the perceived demise of the entire ACC, Butch Davis might have the Tar Heels on the rise at the right time.
Extra points: If you're interested in cheap Rutgers tix, start checking the web sites. There are some bargains out there. We wondered if the new construction in the end zone was put on hold the next morning. They wondered why contributions fell short of their goal to build the new end zone seating. Maybe contributors wanted to see a little more consistency in the long term.
What happened to "keep chopping"? We think "RU-tude" is definitely raising its ugly Scarlet Knight head instead. For those who are fairly new to collegefootballfan.com, this is the attitude that has prevailed over the years at RU where every opponent is supposed to roll over and die "because it's Rutgers". The desired attitude didn't persist with either Fresno or UNC thus far. For that matter, in the past, it didn't persist at UConn, Temple, Navy, Cal, Villanova, or even New Hampshire! Floundering teams who were supposed to lose to the RU 1-A "juggenaut," but didn't.
GGA Frank Scarpa observed that UNC's starting DT Marvin Austin is the biggest #9 ever seen. The 6-3, 300-lb lineman played solid in the middle of the UNC defense all night.
We have to say that RU has really stepped up on the quality and quantity of cheerleading and dance team talent, but they need some additional safety officers to keep an eye on the girls. One hobbled around on crutches with her leg in cast. We saw another topple down face-first from the top of a pyramid. There was no spotter. She looked like she hurt her arm. It's getting physical along those RU sidelines. Too bad it's not happening on the field - two TDs in eight quarters and a porous defense at best.
We're waiting to hear about RU's difficulties this week by having only one week to prep for Navy's triple option. We've heard about this the last few years. Two years ago, RU had a week off before playing Navy to work against the option for two weeks. Last year, they used time before their opener against Buffalo to prep for Navy the following week. We'll hear about the difficulties in playing Navy's offense, but I'd be concerned if RU can't get it done against Navy's defense. Ball State and Duke overcame Navy's attack with 35 and 41 points respectively the last two weeks. If RU can't take care of business against the Mids, Morgan State steps up next. The only team in the Big East living up to expectations at 3-0 is South Florida. UConn is a tenuous 3-0.