Rutgers vs. Morgan State: Stock up, stock down
Seeking some positivity following a loss to Eastern Michigan last week, the Rutgers football team blew out an overmatched Morgan State team to the tune of 65-0.
There was obviously a lot more good than bad in this one, so there will be a higher number of players that raised their stock.
These players performed well and improved their stock
HBs Robert Martin/Gus Edwards/Raheem Blackshear
The two seniors and true freshman all ran hard on Saturday, combining for 203 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns. Edwards and Martin carried the load in the beginning of the game, with Martin spearheading the Knights' first scoring drive and capping it off with a touchdown run. Blackshear came in for mop up duty and carried the offense on a fourth quarter scoring drive, scoring his first career touchdown to put Rutgers up 58-0. On the next drive, he made an hard cut and broke away from the defense for a 33-yard touchdown.
QBs Kyle Bolin and Johnathan Lewis
While Lewis was the star of the game with 4 rushing touchdowns -- a Rutgers record for a quarterback -- Bolin deserves credit for playing a clean game and getting the Knights out to an early lead. His play was the reason Lewis got onto the field and Bolin was willing to step aside in the red zone for Lewis to put on a show. The quarterbacks accounted for 2 passing touchdowns and 4 rushing touchdowns and were able to lead the offense to 478 total yards.
Offensive Coordinator Jerry Kill
Less than a week after suffering a minor seizure, Kill had a great day calling plays. On Johnathan Lewis' first touchdown of the game, Kill called for a run/pass option, which led to a wide open Nakia Griffin-Stewart and a Rutgers touchdown. It helps having a quarterback like Lewis, but Kill always had the right play lined up in the red zone, where the Knights looked unstoppable.
The freshmen were all over the field on Saturday, making plays on offense, defense and special teams. The aforementioned Blackshear had 102 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns, Lewis had 5 total touchdowns and wide receiver Bo Melton had the first catch of his career in a 49-yard bomb. On defense, linebackers Tyshonn Fogg and Rashawn Battle each had an interception in the fourth quarter. True freshman Hunter Hayek blocked a punt that redshirt freshman Mo Jabbie scooped up. Even kickoff specialist Justin Davidovicz had a strong day, consistently booming his kicks high and right on the goal line.
These players did not perform well and need to show improvement.
HB Josh Hicks
Note that this has absolutely nothing to do with Hicks' play on the field. The fact of the matter is that Rutgers is very, very deep at running back. Edwards and Martin split time as starters and Blackshear had the best game of anyone. Hicks finds himself buried on the depth chart as the fourth-string running back and his fumble after a 22-yard run certainly did not help his standing.
While the offensive line was not bad, it did have some errors that were evident to the naked eye. With starting center Jonah Jackson out on Saturday, redshirt-freshman Michael Maietti got the start. As a unit, the line conceded 9 tackles for loss, a number that should be way lower when facing an undersized and under-skilled defensive line like Morgan State's. The group also surrendered a sack on a blown assignment on a play-action pass.