By Austen Arnaud, CycloneFanatic.com Football Analyst
Rutgers Resume: 8-4, 4th in Big East
Notable Wins: Cincinnati, Pitt, Ohio Key Losses: North Carolina, Connecticut, Louisville
Iowa State is looking to finish its season with a win and finish above .500 on the year.
Rutgers is a very similar team to Iowa State. Rutgers has a tough, physical defense that has made good offenses look average during the latter part of the season. This Scarlet Knight defense only allowed a stingy 18.8 points per game this season and is led by physical defensive back Khaseem Greene, who leads this team in tackles with 127 on the year.
Interesting fact: Rutgers held seven of their 12 opponents to 20 points or less. Similar to the Cyclones, this Knight defense carries the entire team in times of need.
On the other side of the ball, Rutgers plays two quarterbacks in freshman Gary Nova and sophomore Chas Dodd. Nova has thrown for more yards and touchdowns than Dodd, however both have combined for 20 TD’s and 16 INT’s, so the pair is far from stellar in that category.
Dodd played all season as a freshman last year and it seems as if Nova is carrying more of the load right now between the two. However, the bright point of this offense is junior wide receiver Mohamed Sanu. Sanu leads the team with 109 catches for 1,144 yards and seven touchdowns. Justin Blackmon of Oklahoma State finished the year with 113 catches. That’s how much of an impact Sanu brings to this offense. They go to him almost all the time. In the backfield, Rutgers sort of has a running back by committee approach. Sophomore Jawan Jamison is the main ball carrier, however he only eclipsed the 100-yard mark twice this season.
This shapes up to be a great matchup and from the looks of it, a low scoring ball game. Both teams are very defensive minded and have two very good minds coaching them in Rhoads and Greg Schiano. These teams have never met in football, however they have met before in NYC for basketball. Cyclone fans probably remember the 2004 loss in the postseason NIT tournament. Curtis Stinson’s 32 points weren’t enough as Iowa State lost 84-81.