CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — In its first legitimate test of the 2011 season, the Rutgers football team’s offense failed to maintain a balanced attack against North Carolina.
Sophomore quarterback Chas Dodd threw 45 passes, but that number was more indicative of the running game’s ineptitude than the air assault’s effectiveness.
As a team, the Scarlet Knights managed just one net yard on 25 carries against the stingy Tar Heels defense.
“They’re a good defense, but it’s disappointing,” said head coach Greg Schiano. “We need to continue to work on it. We didn’t get to that position overnight. We’re not going to get out of that position overnight. We’re better than we were. We’ll get better.”
Junior running back De’Antwan Williams owns 334 rushing yards against Football Championship Subdivision opponents during his career.
But he totaled just 15 yards rushing on nine carries. Both numbers led the team.
Freshman running back Savon Huggins only carried the ball seven times, and toted the ball for the last time on the second play of the fourth quarter.
Huggins scored two touchdowns on the ground in Rutgers’ season opener against North Carolina Central, but only managed 3.2 yards per carry in that game.
He was not available to the media following the Knights’ 24-22 loss.
“We need to run the ball more effectively,” Schiano said. “We have to sit down and figure out if it’s schematic, if it’s personnel.”
The lack of a rushing attack manifested itself when the Knights opted for a pair of play-action passes at the goal line in the first quarter, when the offense failed on four downs to score.
Sophomore left tackle Andre Civil left the game in the third quarter, prompting Schiano to make wholesale changes along the offensive line.
Senior right tackle Desmond Stapleton shifted to left tackle, and senior Caleb Ruch entered the game at center, where he practiced during training camp.
Sophomore center David Osei moved to right tackle, but Civil returned later in the half.
“I feel good,” Civil said. “It was just cramps.”
With Saturday’s loss, the Knights’ class of fourth- and fifth-year seniors went its entire career without earning a victory against North Carolina.
The Tar Heels won, 44-12, in Piscataway in 2008 before returning last season for a 17-13 win.
The last time Rutgers defeated North Carolina was in 2006, when Ray Rice rushed for more than 200 yards and three touchdowns.
Sixth-year senior Edmond Laryea made his collegiate debut in the 2006 win.
Freshman linebacker Kevin Snyder earned more playing time with the first-team defense after making his debut last week against NC Central.
Snyder split time with sophomore Jamal Merrell and also maintained a presence on special teams.
The Mechanicsburg, Pa., native piled up back-to-back tackles in the third quarter and found himself in on the action when UNC quarterback Bryn Renner fumbled a handoff attempt.
Senior kicker San San Te tied a career-high with three field goals at Kenan Memorial Stadium.
Te, a Conover, N.C., native, booted a 50-yard field goal in the second quarter and is now 7-for-7 this season on field goal attempts.
Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Targum.