Run and Shoot: Halftime On Exit 9

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Halftime On Exit 9

PISCATAWAY, NJ - So far, this game has been the Big East battle most people expected to see out of these two teams. Ray Rice is running effectively, Matt Grothe is directing his offense like a pro, and both teams have come up with some off-the-board brilliance (see fake punt and blocked field goal, respectively). Grothe’s 18-yard touchdown run was matched only by Hester’s 28-yard touchdown catch, although Rutgers’ 3-yard strike from Teel to Underwood wasn’t so bad, either. The 17-13 halftime score tells the story of this one very accurately – it’s a skin-of-their-teeth battle, and these fans are in for two more good quarters of football.

To win this one, USF is going to need to get some turnovers. They’ve been very close on a few plays, but close does not cut it, and the defense needs to make a few more stands. Rutgers is moving the ball rather effectively downfield, and even if they have settled for two field goal attempts so far, USF needs to keep Rutgers out of Bull territory. Specifically, George Selvie needs a sack. Scratch that – anyone on this USF defense needs a sack. Or several. Mike Teel has sufficient time in the pocket to pick his spots and make his throws without hurry. The ones he’s missing are throws he’s directing off target, but USF cannot count on Teel’s inaccuracy to help them win this game.

The Bulls get the ball first in the second half, and after that missed field goal Alvarado pulled left at the end of the second quarter, USF badly needs a score, and a field goal probably won’t cut it. USF needs to sustain a drive to start off the second half and set their tone with a touchdown.

If Rutgers is going to come back and win this one, they’re going to have to find a way to stop Grothe from scrambling so freely. Nearing the end of the second quarter, USF found itself in a 2nd and 26 situation, and Grothe single-handedly ran the Bulls right out of it and into a first down. The Rutgers offense is moving the ball well enough to keep doing what it is doing, perhaps with an extra dose or two of Ray Rice thrown in there, but the defense needs to contain Grothe. They have showed that they can, with a pair of huge sacks during the first half (one that we all heard the hit on from way up here, when two Scarlet Knight defenders collided on Grothe at full speed, dropping the QB for an 8-yard loss), but they will need to do so with more consistency if they’re going to win this one.

The thing we’d like to see less of in the second half is penalties. Together, these teams have been penalized seven times for 54 yards, and that has got to stop.

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