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Rays Rutgers Ruminations: Jayhawk Down Edition

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Random ramblings from Ray on Rutgers and other things that start with R.

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Cleaning out the notebook from a convincing, if not completely satisfying Rutgers win over the Jaykaws of Kansas.

  • Coming into the game, there was a legitimate question of whether or not the team would still be fighting for embattled Coach Kyle Flood. While the game was an ugly one, there's no question this team is pulling together and won't let this season go to waste. Ultimately, this is the most important takeaway for Scarlet Knights fans from this game.
  • First, the bad: Discipline issues everywhere. Like, what's going on here? That's Anthony Cioffi, your best remaining defensive back, lining up half a yard into the backfield.
(To be fair, while it is a funny image taken an the perfect angle for the joke, he was lined up based on the receiver, who was lined up too far off the ball)
  • Another game, another 10 penalties, most of them stupid ones like the offsides above. The lack of discipline on this team on and off the field is the most concerning development of the Kyle Flood era.
  • Kansas threw for almost 300 yards with a terribad passing game. This is what happens when you only have 4 scholarship cornerbacks on your roster, but there were coverage breakdowns across the board. Based purely on talent, this should have been a shutout, but execution and inexperience led to undeserved points for the Jayhawks.
  • 2 real turnovers isn't terrible (the hail mary at the end of the half was a gimme), but the interception in the end zone could have been a game-changer against a more talented team. Laviano makes a lot of great throws and great decisions, but that was a terrible looking pass.
  • Laviano had his moments, but was way too conservative vs. an inferior opponent. No big plays down the field in the passing game, despite the presence of a number of very good playmakers.
  • It's almost as if Laviano is trying to prove that he has a strong arm; he rifles the ball in on everything throw at maximum velocity. Working on some intermediate touch and letting his playmakers run with the ball after the catch (see Grant, Janarion) is the next level of development for this guy.
  • Paul James just isn't the same player after his knee injury. Here's hoping he plays into shape for the end of the season, because he's a special player when healthy. Still, solid yards and productive running.
  • The worst of the week was definitely the "WOW WURST GAME IN P5 HISTORY LOL GO SEC" meme bandwagon that everyone had a good old timing jumping on. As ridiculous as it was to compare Rutgers to Kansas, in terms of football, the actions of the minority have indelibly influenced the perception of the majority here at RU. Not a fun week.
  • Onto some of the good!
  • Well, I guess that answers the question of which team was better on the field, and it wasn't as close as the score would indicate. Did the SEC Fan Network ESPN really have two people pick Kansas in this game?
  • While the defense - especially the pass defense - gave up a lot of yards, the red zone play was very good. Not much running room and a number of key stops meant 14 points on the board. That should win you most games.
  • Great INT by Lewis on a nice rush by Hogan. Two players who have stepped up this year.

  • Great adjustment by Agudosi on the ball. Laviano trusted him make a play and he didn't disappoint.

  • Laviano gets a lot of heat, but he has a gutsy, aggressive style that I like. He's not afraid to tuck it and run and he's always diving forward for the extra yard. Can't say I've ever seen him slide.
  • While Laviano doesn't always make the best decisions, when he does he is decisive and has a quick release. The quick-hit passing game was working well and the red zone offense has been humming. The kid has potential if he can fend off Rettig.
  • Speaking of Rettig, the calls are getting louder and louder. Guess there's something about a blue chip prospect that gets people excited or something?
  • On the ground, the Knights got it done, with both Hicks and Martin making big plays and going over the century mark. The game was never really in doubt, as it was clear the Knights could just march up and down the field at will against an overmatched Kansas defense.
  • Martin had some big runs in this game. He doesn't have the same power through the hole as Hicks or James, but if he gets space, watch out.
  • On the other hand, Hicks had some great moves. Both backs have potential in this offense if the deep passing game can start to open things up on the second level.

  • Matt Flanagan has turned into a real solid red zone option and a good player overall. Former Walk-On turned staple of the offense.

  • Turay is pretty fast. You might consider blocking him.

  • Janarion Grant is also fast. The offense needs to find a way to get him the ball more. He should be closer to 10 touches than 2 in any given game.
  • Some might say this game was ugly, but this is how this team is designed to play ball. Grind out touchdowns on the ground to get a lead, protect it with an opportunistic defense and ball-control offense, and walk away with the win.
  • While there were a few discipline issues and clock management snafus, Coach Norries did a solid job getting the team ready, executing the gameday plan, and running the operation from the top-down. This was the perfect storm for an epic trap game (coach suspended, players suspended, players injured, etc.) and they were able to play to their own level and get the job done.
The weeks coming up are not going to be kind to the Knights, though they shouldn't be boring either. With the nation's top-2 teams coming to town, along with undefeated Indiana, the odds of an 0-3 stretch are fairly likely (though the Knights do match up reasonably well with the Hoosiers, at least on paper). Further, rumors off all kinds swirl around the program - Will Carroo get reinstated? What is Coach Flood's fate? What influence will our mega-donors have on the direction of the department?

Stay tuned for the next episode of As The Rutgers Turns...