The Rutgers Scarlet Knights (3-7, 1-6) will get a reprieve from Big Ten action as they face the Army Black Knights (2-8) in a non-conference matchup Saturday afternoon. Rutgers has won the last eight meetings between the schools, including a 28-7 triumph at home as a 17 point favorite on November 10, 2012 in the most recent meeting.
Rutgers dropped their fourth in a row with a 31-14 defeat at home to Nebraska Saturday. Army lost their third straight and fifth in the last six with a 34-31 defeat at home to Tulane Saturday. The game kicks off at 12:00 pm ET from Michie Stadium in West Point, New York and will be televised on the CBS Sports Network. Rutgers is currently a 4.5 point favorite with the over/under set at 54.5 points in this contest.
Rutgers allowed at least 31 points for the sixth straight game as they came up on the short end of the stick. The Scarlet Knights were down 21-0 in the second quarter and never got closer than seven the rest of the way. Rutgers was outgained 362-259, gave up 16 first downs while picking up 15 and was narrowly edged in time of possession by a 30:01 to 29:59 margin in the contest. Rutgers turned the ball over twice but forced three turnovers; they just couldn’t pull out the victory as three Cornhusker scoring drives started at midfield or better.
The Scarlet Knights have a decent offense as they are currently 93rd in the nation in passing (203.6 yards per game) and 84th in rushing (159.9 yards per contest) while they average 25.3 points per game, which is tied for 91st in the nation in scoring defense; Rutgers is currently 110th in scoring defense by giving up 35.2 points per game, leaving them with a -9.9 point differential per game. Chris Laviano is hitting 60.5 percent (153 of 253) of his throws for 1,798 yards with 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Hayden Rettig is the backup quarterback and has hit 14 of 25 passes for 233 yards with two touchdowns. Josh Hicks is currently second on the team with 120 carries for 613 yards and four scores; Robert Martin (108 carries, team high 622 yards, 5 TD) and Paul James (64 carries, 357 yards, TD) help shoulder the load as well on the ground. Janarion Grant is third on the team for Rutgers in receptions with 21 catches for 181 yards along with Leonte Carroo (second on the team with 28 grabs, team high 589 yards, 9 TD); Andre Patton contributes a team high 30 grabs for 383 yards plus a touchdown and Carlton Agudosi (15 receptions, 305 yards, TD) is a decent target as well. Janarion Grant (28 receptions, 265 yards) is a solid possession receiver with reliable hands. Kyle Federico is 26 of 29 on extra points and nine of 13 field goals this year with a long of 48 yards.
Army rallied to tie the game only to give up the winning field goal with five seconds to play in the game. It was an impressive rally from a 28-7 second quarter deficit for the Black Knights, even if it went for naught. Army was narrowly outgained, 367-362, and lost the first down battle 18-16 in the contest. Both teams committed one turnover: Army gave up a fumble return for a score while the Black Knights managed to counter that with a blocked punt return for a touchdown; Army dominated the time of possession battle as they held the ball for 37:48 in the loss.
The Black Knights run the triple option and as such, are a run oriented offense: they are 126th in the nation in passing with 78 yards per contest and 9th in the nation in rushing with 253.3 yards per contest. Army is scoring 22.7 points per game while ranking tied for 78th in the nation in scoring defense as they allow 28.2 points per game, leaving them with a -5.5 point scoring differential. A.J. Schurr has hit 11 of 29 passes for 300 yards with three touchdowns and four picks while running for 384 yards and seven scores. He’s split time with Ahmad Bradshaw, who is 23 of 48 for 429 yards with five touchdowns and two picks while ranking first on the team in rushing with 468 yards and five scores. Six other Black Knights have at least 174 yards on the ground; Aaron Kemper leads Army’s backs with 83 carries for 447 yards plus two scores while Matt Giachinta (57 carries, 274 yards, TD), John Trainor (28 carries, 242 yards, 2 TD), Joe Walker (26 carries, 198 yards, TD) and Drue Harris (40 carries, 174 yards, 2 TD) all have done a decent job when given the ball. Edgar Poe leads the Black Knights with nine catches for 225 yards and four scores while Trainor has seven grabs for 153 yards and a score plus DeAndre Bell chips in five catches for 121 yards and a score; no one else has more than four grabs. Daniel Grochowski has hit all 26 extra points and 5 of 6 field goal attempts with a long of 47 yards.
Rutgers is 1-4 ATS in their last five against teams with a losing record, 2-8-1 ATS in their last 11 after a double digit loss at home, 1-5 ATS in their last six after a straight up loss, 2-10 ATS in their last 12 in November, 0-4 ATS in their last four overall and 0-4 ATS in their last four on fieldturf.
The Scarlet Knights have had all kinds of problems defensively of late and they are not too familiar with the triple option that Army brings to the table. The Black Knights took Tulane to the wire last week at home and they’re the hosts here; you have to think Army has a good shot here and the points are a nice bonus to take as well.