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For as much as the Rutgers football team has struggled on offense and defense, one area has been producing as much as possible.By default, that has been the special teams unit.A pillar in the Scarlet Knights' brand of football for years now, the role of special teams has had a new meaning in Piscataway in the midst of a three-game losing skid.The Rutgers offense hasn't found the end zone since sophomore backup quarterback Hayden Rettig threw a touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Andre Patton with 13 seconds left in a 49-7 shellacking to then-No. 1 Ohio State on Oct.
Not too long ago, Anthony Cioffi was a 180-pound cornerback thrown into the fire as a true freshman on a historically bad secondary for the Rutgers football team.In the 2013 season, Cioffi and a handful of others in his freshman class were burned by NFL prospects and spread offenses in the Scarlet Knights' lone year in the AAC. They faced the likes of current NFL starting quarterbacks Derek Carr (formerly Fresno State, currently Oakland Raiders), Teddy Bridgewater (formerly Louisville, currently Minnesota Vikings) and Blake Bortles (formerly Central Florida, currently Jacksonville Jaguars). The three first-rounders headlined a year in which Rutgers couldn't catch a break against the pass, surrendering 312 yards per game through the air.Fast-forwarding two years later, Cioffi finds himself in a similar situation now as a junior leader.
As much as they try their best to regurgitate the company line, reality has begun to sink in for members of the Rutgers football team.
Chris Laviano remembers it like it was yesterday.Roughly one year ago, then a wide-eyed redshirt-freshman, Laviano trotted out to the field at Memorial Stadium in the second half of the Rutgers football team's Big Ten road battle at Nebraska.After Gary Nova went down with a knee injury with less than a minute left until halftime, Laviano led Rutgers on offense for the third quarter and beyond in front of 91,088 in Lincoln. The Glen Head, New York, native flashed signs of promise here and there, throwing for 49 yards on 4-of-7 passing and adding 54 yards — with a long of 46 — on five carries rushing, but couldn't provide enough of a punch as then-No. 16 Nebraska ran Rutgers out of the building in a 42-24 rout."I remember we were pretty competitive in the second half and they're a tough group, they're really physical," Laviano said.Much has changed for both parties since that afternoon on Oct.
As the Rutgers football team retreats home from the Midwest after its third straight drubbing to a Big Ten opponent, the Scarlet Knights find themselves lost in a corn maze.With Nebraska (4-6, 2-4) bringing the momentum of their 39-38 upset where it handed then-No. 7 Michigan State its first loss of the season, the Cornhuskers go from on the verge of chaos in Lincoln to being one game closer to reaching the postseason with a bowl game.The Knights are right where the Huskers were about a week ago. With its back against the wall, Rutgers (3-6, 1-5) has one last legitimate shot at getting to its 10th bowl game in the past 11 years when it hosts Nebraska at 3:30 p.m.
For as long as it has been since the Rutgers football team earned its last feeling of triumph by chalking up a win, it's been just as long since the Scarlet Knights were in Piscataway for the weekend.The latter half, at the very least, changes when Rutgers (3-6, 1-5) hosts Nebraska (4-6, 2-4) on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
Senior captain Keith Lumpkin has started 34 consecutive games for Rutgers at left tackle.
Sophomore quarterback Chris Laviano has completed 41.6 percent of his passes during Rutgers' three-game losing streak. Laviano has been sacked nine times over that span.
Due to a depleted defensive backfield, Andre Hunt has had to fill in various roles for Rutgers throughout the course of the season. While the Knights have struggled to defend against the pass lately, the sophomore safety said adjustments come on converted assignments.
Tommy Armstrong ignited a rout for Nebraska last year, handing Rutgers a 42-24 loss in Lincoln. He takes aim at vulnerable Knights defense.
The last three games have been the worst in the brief career of Chris Laviano. The sophomore quarterback went a combined 25-of-60 for 245 yards and three interceptions against then-No. 1 Ohio State, No. 25 Wisconsin and No. 16 Michigan.The Rutgers football team has failed to protect Laviano with the Scarlet Knights signal-caller seemingly running for his life over that span.Against the Wolverines alone, Laviano was sacked four times and hurried on another two occasions.But to his credit, the first-year starter has refused to point fingers to excuse the failures of his offense, instead he's taking ownership of the mistakes he's made in the pocket.
Lost in the murky waters of its worst season in five years, few could fathom the Rutgers football team having one of the nation's best linebackers on its roster. But the Scarlet Knights do possess one who is currently in the midst of staging the finest performance at the position in the last 25 years of the program.Steve Longa is a tackling machine, sweeping sideline-to-sideline to bring down any ball carriers on his radar.
As his teammates slugged their way through the Rutgers football team’s third blowout loss in three weeks, Paul James was helpless as he watched it all unfold from the sidelines.The senior running back dressed for last Saturday’s game at then-No. 16 Michigan, but didn’t see the field as the Scarlet Knights eventually went on to drop the Big Ten road contest, 49-16, to the Wolverines at Michigan Stadium.Head coach Kyle Flood said after the game that James, who was listed as questionable in the most recent injury report leading up to the game last Friday with a lower body injury, would have only entered the game on offense in an emergency situation.But as the battle spiraled out of control, James remained a spectator.“It hurts a lot.
Junior wide receiver/returner Janarion Grant ran a kickoff back 98 yards for a touchdown in the 49-16 loss at Michigan Nov. 7. Grant also returned a punt 67 yards en route to posting 263 all-purpose yards in the loss.
Janarion Grant is back.And he chose the biggest of stages to prove it, showcasing his returning talents in front of 109,789 fans clad mostly in Michigan's trademark maize and blue. One week after setting the school record for kick return yards (now 2,235 yards) —just eight games into his junior season — Grant returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown and set up a field goal with a 67-yard punt return on his way to 263 all-purpose yards on the afternoon."It feels great,” Grant said two days after setting the record.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — On the first play from scrimmage, the Rutgers football team was pretty much destined to not have luck in its favor.With a crowd of 109,789 — the largest Rutgers has ever played in front of — dominated by maize and blue settled in at “The Big House,” No. 16 Michigan looked like it had just handed the Scarlet Knights a welcoming gift to Ann Arbor.Out of the shotgun, Jake Rudock’s toss to Drake Johnson fell to the ground before Rutgers came up with it.
It’s been a little more than a year since the a Blackout crowd at High Point Solutions Stadium poured out of benches and onto the field after the Rutgers football team’s historic 26-24 triumph past Michigan.The first Big Ten win in the Scarlet Knights’ inaugural season came against a reeling Wolverines team that spiraled out of control and fired former head coach Brady Hoke after a 5-7 year in Ann Arbor. But that didn’t change the magnitude of the victory in Piscataway.As the party began on the Banks, it eventually paved the way for an 8-5 finish where the Knights claimed the sixth bowl championship in program history with a dominant 40-21 win over North Carolina at the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit.But one year later, a complete 180-degree turn ensued for both teams.When Rutgers (3-5, 1-4) heads out to the Great Lakes State this time, similar bowl implications are on the table in its rematch with Michigan.But the No. 16 Wolverines (6-2, 3-1) present a far greater challenge than the shadow of a team that limped into Piscataway last October.
The image is forever ingrained in the minds of those who witnessed it. Through a sea of outstretched arms and black jerseys with pink accessories last October, No. 58 for the Rutgers football team almost jumps out of the photo itself. He is the most prominent figure in this iconic image — body fully extended, triceps bulging, along with seemingly every other muscle in his 6-foot-6, 240-pound frame — focused on getting his fingertips to the football.
Sophomore defensive end broke out in last year's 26-24 win over Michigan, securing Rutgers first ever Big Ten victory with a blocked field goal. In the second ever meeting between the two schools, Turay is eager to equal his impact.
Head coach Kyle Flood said the biggest threat from Jabrill Peppers in the Wildcat is not the pass, but the two-back run out of a one-back set. The Knights will face their second straight two-way player at Michigan on Saturday, after Wisconsin's Tanner McEvoy had a career game in the 48-10 over Rutgers last week in Madison.