Game 535: No. 8 Washington gets past improved Rutgers, 30-14
New Brunswick, NJ – In Game 535 in the history of Collegefootballfan.com, the Scarlet Knight defense held a potent UW offense to a three-and out on it first offensive series pushing them back six yards – a rarity for RU in 2016. The Knight offense, led by QB Kyle Bolin, Louisville grad transfer, drove his squad 59 yards into the end zone on a three-yard TD pass to speedy WR Janarion Grant around the left side for a quick lead over the No. 8 Huskies. Rutgers’ D held “UDub” to another three and out. Two in a row? However, the RU offense continued to fizzle with a very unimaginative offense until late in this game.
A 23-yard FG by Tristan Vizcaino late in the first and a 68-yard punt return by Dante Pettis off a booming 60-yard punt by RU’s Ryan Anderson, a D-3 grad transfer from Oliver College, gave the Huskies a lower than anticipate halftime lead. GGA Wayne Mella (Rutgers) grumbled, “Special teams again.” As for the fizzling offense, he noted with the no-huddle that it was similar to the offense run by nearby Somerville High School coached by his brother-in-law. However, the HS team attained much better results during the previous season leading them into their NJ Group Championship game. It seemed to us though that RU was holding back on its offense not willing to expose certain schemes early in the season before heading into tough Big Ten Conference play. We thought that we would possibly see more deception on offense in the second half of this game if the Knights could stay close to the team that defeated them in their 2016 opener, 43-18.
RU not showing what are we not seeing?
The game plan thus far focused on Gus Edwards, a Miami grad transfer (24 rushes for 79 yards) doing the brunt of the running. Bolin’s passing game (23 of 34, 178 yards, 2TDS, 2 INTs) seemed relegated to short passes into the flats. Would he look to throw down field in the second half?
The Huskies made offensive adjustments during halftime. They started from their 17 and drove the length of the field to score on a pass from QB Jake Browning who rolled right and connected with receiver Lavon Coleman, left wide open for a touchdown. The next possession in CFF.com Game 535 resulted in three points off the foot of Vizcaino on a 22-yard FG after the Huskies started a drive from their 15 to lead, 20-7.
Frosh Byron Murphy made his second interception of Bolin on the evening on a pass attempt down field to start a Husky possession from their 39. RU HC Chris Ash got hot on the sideline. To start the final period of Collegefootballfan.com Game 535, once again the Huskies started to mush their way down the field against Rutgers. UDub scored on a TD pass to RB Myles Gaskin at the RU nine-yard line. HC Chris Peterson, former successful, Boise State HC, sent in some second teamers on his Husky defense. On fourth and four at the UW 34, Bolin lofted a high pass near the goal line and WR Dacoven Bailey made a leaping, diving reception into the end zone for a beautiful TD catch to close the gap against the four-touchdown favorite, 27-14. The Huskies moved the football starting from the 12 on its subsequent series, and Vizcaino nailed his third kick for the final score of 30-14.
Next week, Rutgers hosts Eastern Michigan of the MAC off its first winning season in years at 7-6 and a win over Charlotte of the Sun Belt Conference, 24-7. Washington goes back to Seattle to host Idaho, a program that will move back to the FCS in 2018 before they host Portland State, a current FCS squad. Collegefootballfan.com will follow Game 535 to travel about an hour west of New Brunswick to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to see two ranked FCS teams, No. 7 Villanova and No. 24 Lehigh do battle.
We came away feeling that Rutgers definitely looked improved. We were surprised that Edwards carried for the majority of the running plays and that returning RB Josh Hicks tallied no carries. Senior Robert Martin carried 13 times for 55. The roles could be reversed depending on the competition in the future. Bolin looked shaky throwing the ball over the middle. He never looked for Janarion Grant deep gathering in only three short passes for 20 yards. Ash has probably decided to keep him healthy for conference play after suffering his season-ending leg injury to Iowa in Game four last year. We expect to see more diversification to be initiated as the season rolls on. Former Minnesota HC jerry Kill was not hired to run a three-yard and “Cloud of dust” offense. The D wore down a little but looked good and will improve when the offense puts together longer drives. Aside from Anderson, special teams have their work cut out for them.
We will see Rutgers visit Penn State on November 11. We don’t see UW winning the Pac 12 North. This team is not as strong along eh lines as it was last season. Stanford, Utah, USC, and Washington State will challenge them during the regular season slate.