Friday, October 19, 2007

Rice Runs Over Bulls in Rutgers Win

The Bulls had not given up 100 yards to a running back in the past 14 games, but the last running back to do it was Ray Rice, and he did it again. Rutgers road Rice all game and he amassed 181 yards on 39 carries. He was not only able to run up the middle, like many thought he could, but somehow he was also able to get to the outside against the Bulls speedy defense. Rice has a history of running over the Bulls and I expected him to get his hundred, but 181 is a surprising number from a defense that was playing so well. The Bulls seem to struggle with the backs that run downhill with power and are not trying to get to the outside like WVU does. Rice showed why he is still a Heisman candidate on a team that does not have a very good record and once again ran on a great defense because he is that good.

Even with Rice running for that many yards is was not an easy victory for the Knights, who needed to use all of their trick plays to pull the upset. You knew that Rutgers was going to pull out all the stops when the used a fake punt on the first drive of the game. They later scored on a fake field goal, which USF actually looked to be ready for, but there was a great pass and catch on the play. Rutgers knew that they needed to win this game and they went all out to do so.

Special teams was not so special in this game. Rutgers muffed two punts that USF was able to capitalize on and score points. It looked at times like Rutgers was trying to give the game to USF with the dumb plays and bad play calls. USF's kickoff coverage played terribly and allowed Rutgers to get good field position with great runs and because of stupid penalties at bad times. USF's special teams was not very good in any aspect of the game. They had a field goal blocked and also missed a field goal in the game to go with the poor coverage on kickoffs. They were able to overcome these problems in the Auburn game, but not last night against Rutgers.

The obvious problem in my mind is that the offense is Matt Groethe. His wide outs dropped passes that he put right into their hands. The running backs were not able to get anything going and once again Matt Groethe was the leading rusher for the Bulls. The big gains for Groethe came in the first half when Rutgers was running man and did not have a spy on him. After half time the Knights adjusted and made sure they were running containment or had a linebacker spy on Groethe to make sure he could not run. Once they were able to keep Groethe in the pocket they were able to stop the Bulls offense. The Bulls wide outs were unable to get open and when they did they dropped the ball. Groethe was able to get a couple runs, but for the most part he was lying on his back due to the 7 sacks in the second half. Rutgers adjusted at halftime and the Bulls were unable to deal with the adjustment.

Much will be made by Bulls fans about the officiating. I have already heard and read enough to know that the refs are being blamed for the loss. It is easy to use the refs as an excuse, but the fact is that if you play well enough it does not matter what the refs do. They did get a touchdown called back, but they had the ball and could have marched down he field and scored a touchdown, but they did not. You have to deal with adversity and just get back on the field and do your job. The push off in the end of the game was a blatant push off and had to be called, but the fact is they should never have put themselves in that spot. The were only 20 yards away from FG range and allowed Groethe to be sacked. He then spiked the ball for some unknown reason and put the offense in a very bad spot. It is useless to complain about penalties because they could have been overcome if the Bulls had played their game.

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