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Team: Rutgers University
Nickname: Scarlet Knights
School colors: Scarlet
Location: New Brunswick, New Jersey
2012 record: 9-4 (5-2) in the Big East
2013 record: 5-6 (2-5) in the AAC
Head Coach: Kyle Flood, 2nd year
Stadium/TV: High Points Solution Stadium, ESPN 2, 7:30 PM
The Bulls come limping into the final game of the year at 2-9 (2-5) and are coming off of a tough -point loss to UCF. Rutgers, who allows 32 points a game and over 320 yards passing against them through the air, lost an ugly to Uconn their last time out. This is the final time these two teams will battle as conference foes as the Knights head to the Big Ten next season.
The Knights have gone with junior Gary Nova for most of the year. The 6'2" 220 lb. junior has completed 165 passes out of 303 attempts for 2159 yards (just 54%) for 18 touchdowns and 14 interceptions (has one rushing touchdown). Nova has struggled this season with his accuracy and getting the ball down the field. The Knights went with senior Chas Dodd in the last game. The 6' 200 lb. senior is 44 for 81 for 533 yards and 3 touchdowns his year as a reserve and then starter last week (has 14 carries for 27 yards). Look for Dodd to get the final start of the year but for Nova to be ready to go if he struggles early.
The Scarlet Knights go with a rotation of running backs. Sophomore Paul James (6' 210 lbs.) has 120 carries for 720 yards and 7 touchdowns. He also has 6 receptions for 65 yards. Freshman Justin Goodwin (6' 180 lbs.) has 101 carries for 472 yards and 5 touchdowns (has 10 receptions for 86 yards and a touchdown). Junior Savon Huggins (6' 200 lbs.) has carried it 81 times for 263 yards and 2 touchdowns (has 11 receptions for 67 yards) to round out a solid group of running backs.
The top target is sophomore tight end Tyler Kroft (6'6" 240 lbs.) who has 37 receptions for 479 yards and 4 touchdowns this season. Junior wide receiver Brandon Coleman (6'6" 220 lbs.) has 31 receptions for 459 yards and 3 touchdowns, giving the Scarlet Knights a huge target in the passing game. Senior Quron Pratt (6' 190 lbs.) has 29 receptions for 470 yards. Sophomore Leonte Carroo (6'1" 200 lbs.) has 28 receptions for 478 yards and leads the team with 9 touchdowns.
At defensive end is senior Marcus Thompson (6'2" 260 lbs.) who has 45 tackles, 6.5 TFL including 4.5 sacks on the year off the edge. Fellow end, sophomore Djwany Mera (6'4" 260 lbs.) has 30 tackles, 5.5 TFL, including 2.5 sacks. Sophomore defensive tackle Darius Hamilton (6'4" 260 lbs.) has 41 tackles including 9 TFL and 3 sacks on the year. The defensive line doesn't have a lot of big numbers, instead, they allow the linebackers to attack the gaps more.
One of the top defenders is freshman Steve Longa (6'1" 220 lbs.) who leads the team with 104 tackles, including 7 TFL, 3 sacks, and has 3 passes defended, playing well all over the field. Senior Kevin Snyder (6'3" 235 lbs.) has 84 tackles including 7 TFL (2 sacks) playing well in the run game, using his big size to shoot the gap and make plays in the backfield. With a smaller defensive line in front of them, the linebackers are key players in both the run and passing game.
At safety is junior Lorenzo Waters (6' 205 lbs.) who has 47 tackles, including 1.5 TFL and 1 interception on the year. Fellow safety, senior Jeremy Deering (6'2" 220 lbs.) has 37 tackles including 1 TFL and 1 interception (has played several positions throughout his playing career at Rutgers). Junior cornerback Gareef Glashen (5'10" 180 lbs.) has 29 tackles including 4 TFL ans 2 sacks, but has no interceptions in a secondary that gives up over 300 yards a game passing.
The place kicker for the Knights is sophomore Kyle Federico (6' 190 lbs.) who has made just 9 out of 14 field goals this year, hitting a long of 48 yards and has had one kick blocked this season. He is a solid kicker, but doesn't have strong range like Marvin Kloss for the Bulls.
The Scarlet Knights are going away next year, joining the Big 10 (which still hasn't learned to count) along with Maryland - so this very well could be the final meeting between the two schools. Rutgers started with great promise and has slid hard - needing a win Saturday to become Bowl eligible. USF on the other hand, has suffered through a dismal 2-9 season with its first loss to an FCS school and its first loss to rival UCF. However, the Bulls seem to have found the future with the freshman class, that will produce no less than five starters for Saturday's game.