Friday College Football: 15th Ranked Rutgers hosts Navy Print
Thursday, 06 September 2007 17:00
NCAAF Headline News

Rutgers vs. Navy

When it comes to Navy and its triple option offense, No. 15 Rutgers likes to take a patient approach.

``You can't guess, you have to read your keys,'' defensive tackle Eric Foster said as the Scarlet Knights prepared for Friday night's game at Rutgers Stadium. ``The moment you guess what type of play they're running, that's when they gut you for 80 yards. You have to follow your keys and you have to stick to your assignment.''

Rutgers did that to perfection last season in beating the Midshipmen, 34-0. The Scarlet Knights limited the nation's top rushing offense to 113 yards on 50 attempts as Navy was shut out for the first time since 2002. The Midshipmen had only nine first downs.

There was a catch, though. Early in the game, Rutgers knocked out starting quarterback Brian Hampton (who'd miss the entire season) and Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada, the Middies current starter, was pressed into emergency service.

``He's got the benefit now of a whole, half a season plus a training camp and a spring of repetitions and he's physically better,'' Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said of Kaheaku-Enhada.

``With 10 more pounds on his frame and the way he runs, this may be the biggest threat we've faced at quarterback since we've started playing.''

Both teams opened the season last week with victories.

Oddsmakers from Bodog.com have made Rutgers -17 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Friday's game, the over/under has been set at 49 total points (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 84% of bets for this game have been placed on Rutgers -17 (View College Football bet percentages).

Navy beat Temple 30-19 as Kaheaku-Enhada ran for 102 yards, including a 44-yard TD run, and completed two passes to set up TDs. Adam Ballard also ran for two touchdowns.

Rutgers extended its home winning streak to eight games with a 38-3 win over Buffalo.

Ray Rice gained 184 yards rushing and ran for three touchdowns. He needs 17 yards to surpass Terrell Willis (3,114 yards) as the school's all-time leading rusher.

Tiquan Underwood also had 10 catches for a school-record 248 yards and two TDs, while QB Mike Teel passed for a career-best 328 yards.

Navy coach Paul Johnson said Rutgers has as many options as Navy's offense.

``You've got Ray Rice, you've got them throwing for over 300 yards, the receivers,'' Johnson said. ``They've got good weapons. What we've gotta do is try to limit big plays and keep it in front of us. Temple's not Rutgers, nobody's gonna confuse the two.''

Johnson said his team can't turn the ball over like last season, when Rutgers defensive tackle Ramel Meekins single-handedly forced three fumbles.

``They got after us and played hard and we didn't play very well,'' Johnson said. ``We'll see. Who knows? Maybe they'll shut us out again. That's why you play the game. The prior years we played them, we moved the ball some. We'll see what happens.''

Foster, who likes to put pressure on the opposition and create mayhem in the backfield, said the hardest part of dealing with Navy's offense is preventing the offensive linemen from cutting the rushers' feet out.

``They got it down pat, cut blocking,'' Foster said. ``One guy will take out three guys, that's how good they're at it. So we have to follow our assignments.''

Schiano said Navy will be a tough challenge for his team, with Meekins and middle linebacker Devraun Thompson not around this season.

``I'd like to say we can score some points and get them on that mode, but they've played us very, very tough,'' Schiano said. ``They kind of just hang on you and don't let you get that big play. You're not gonna get those big pass plays that you saw against Buffalo. They just don't let you do that.''

Rutgers had five plays of 30 yards or longer last week, including TD runs of 41 and 34 yards by Rice and TD catches of 66 and 65 yards by Underwood.

by: Anthony White - theSpread.com - Email Us

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