Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sanu and the Emergence of the Savage, Brown Chemistry

Rutgers did a lot of things right to bring its season back on track, scoring touchdowns on its first four possessions along the way to a 34-14 victory over Louisville at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. On the Scarlet Knights first possession, Tom Savage connected with Tim Brown on a key 20 yard pass play to set the tone as well as a one yard Joe Martinek TD plunge. One of the major contributing factors of success of both Tom Savage and Tim Brown this season is the development of a chemistry element between the two. Over the past few games, you can clearly see Savage throwing the ball into spaces based on where he anticipates the wide out to move, cut and handle coverage packages on the field. While Brown seems to becoming more opportunistic by identifying holes and gaps in tight space knowing that his QB has the ability and confidence to deliver the ball into him successfully.

A slightly different wrinkle from the offense that we saw in the first half was the use of Tom Savage in the option package which he ran on two occasions, once for a touchdown, during an impressive 87 yard 16 play drive early in the second quarter to put RU up 14-0.

Mohamed Sanu, stole the show though with a nearly complete game performance (he did fumble a punt) going 148 yards and two TD’s on 18 carries. Sanu showed the ability to bull and stiff arm his way through would be tacklers running out of the emerging wildcat set for much of the day. Sanu is a truly gifted athlete with the size, speed, cutting ability and vision required to run the Wildcat. Given that though, just about everyone in attendance yesterday knew he was going to be the ball carrier each time he lined up behind center. He just didn’t seem to be able to sell the fake reverses to D’Antwan Williams very well although he did just miss Tim Brown on one downfield throw in single coverage. With time, he will learn to run the Wildcat with the same kind of success that I’m sure Schiano had once envisioned for Jabu Lovelace running out of his own run-gun set which will truly encompass the vast spectrum of his talents.

Other News and Notes:
• Once again the Rutgers offense failed to put a complete game together. After scoring on four consecutive drives to start the game, Rutgers next six drives end in six punts and a total 20 yards before the game is put away in the fourth quarter on Sanu’s 33 yard run out of the wildcat
• Zaire Kitchen’s devastating shoulder to the helmet hit on Louiville’s Doug Beaumont in the 3rd quarter was the result of the inherent violent nature of the game rather then an unsportsmanlike helmet to helmet hit as called by the referees.
• Overall the O-line had a strong performance vs Louisville. However, Kevin Haslam was helped off the field following a 4th quarter Joe Martinek run and appeared to be heavily favoring his left leg. It was not clear what the cause of the injury was but he was replaced for the remainder of the game by Des Stapleton.
• Up Next: Well, our wishes for a WVU loss vs Pitt did not come true last night and it seems that the recharged Noel Devine along with thousands of ‘eers faithful will invade Piscataway next Saturday with a lot to play for. RU hasn’t played a regular season game of this magnitude since a certain December Saturday in 2006. Just like the Mountaineers exacted their revenge of sorts for the 2007 Backyard Brawl (And subsequent BCS title game birth), it’s time to get ours. With the exception of the visiting WVU section, each and every seat in Rutgers Stadium had better be filled with a scarlet wearing Rutgers Fan.


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