Quick Hits: No. 24 Rutgers 28, Army 7
Rutgers' defense forced three turnovers and blocked two field goals to slow Army and pull away late in a 28-7 win.
|One of the two blocked field goals that helped the slow-starting Scarlet Knights escape with a win against Army. (US Presswire)|
RUTGERS WON. The Black Knights were done in by their own mistakes and special-teams errors. The option attack, led by Trent Steelman, was working well against the tough Rutgers defense. The 279 yards rushing were the most given up by the Scarlet Knights all season, but errors were made at the wrong time and Army could not capitalize.
Twice the Black Knights fumbled in the red zone, there was a fumble returned for a score, two field goals were blocked, and punter Chris Boldt saw a snap go over his head inside his own 5-yard line. Two of Rutgers' three second- half touchdowns came off turnovers, and once the lead grew beyond one score Army had to press and eventually Rutgers pulled away.
HOW RUTGERS WON: For the most part, it was making Army pay for its errors. But give a lot of credit to the Scarlet Knights defense for their bend-but-don't-break approach to defending the option attack. Because Army had the Scarlet Knights bottled up on the other side of the ball, Rutgers' defense did not have very long stretches on the sideline between stints facing that bruising option -- which, by the way, is being run by servicemen. With the offense totaling just 253 yards, you could argue that recovering three Army fumbles and blocking two field goals provided more "offense" by taking the points off the board for the Black Knights.
WHEN RUTGERS WON: This was a 7-7 game heading into the fourth quarter. But a shanked punt and the high snap inside the 5-yard line turned the tide quickly in Rutgers' favor. The whole sequence happened in about four minutes, and Rutgers was able to cushion the lead as the game concluded.
WHAT RUTGERS WON: Avoiding a loss on Saturday became increasingly important with Louisville's loss to Syracuse. The Scarlet Knights finish the season at Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, before hosting Louisville in the regular-season finale on Thursday, Nov. 29. Facing three of the tougher Big East opponents in a 12-day span is no easy task, and entering that stretch after two consecutive nonconference losses is not ideal for first-year coach Kyle Flood. But Louisville's loss means the Scarlet Knights can afford one loss in that stretch and still get their shot to win the head-to-head in the finale.
WHAT ARMY LOST: This was a frustrating loss for Army because it did almost everything right except for the fumbles and special-teams errors. The Black Knights have one of their biggest wins of the season against Air Force, and still enter the Navy game with a chance to win the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy for the first time since 1996. But there have not been a lot of highlights for the Black Knights during this 2-8 start, so a win against Rutgers would have been another boost for the home stretch of the schedule.
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