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Will Cincinnati Provide Breakout Game For Rutgers Quarterback(s)?

If Rutgers has a chance to win this game and hold on to their slim bowl hopes, Tom Savage and/or Chas Dodd really need to step up and play a big game.

Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano has not yet named a starting quarterback for Saturday night’s road game at Cincinnati. The decision could go a long way in determining the outcome.

It is a reality that both quarterbacks, Tom Savage and Chas Dodd, may split time. While not the ideal situation, with neither player completely stepping up it may be the best way to ride the hottest arm.

Cincinnati has a high powered offense that can score in bunches. The Bearcats, under head coach Butch Jones, are averaging 409.2 yards per game, tops in the Big East. They are a balanced offense that can do damage on the ground as well as through the air.

A Rutgers defense that has been on the field a lot this season has at times looked tired. Hard to blame them as the Rutgers offense continues to struggle and stay on the field. Cincinnati is likely to put up some points on Saturday unless the Rutgers defense can some how put together another dominating game.

Rutgers will need it’s offense to put points on the board, something it has rarely done much of this season. The Scarlet Knights are averaging just 20.6 points per game.

Cincinnati’s defense has struggled against both the run and pass. The Bearcats rank seventh in the eight team Big East, giving up 361.7 yards per game. Opponents are averaging 125.1 yards per game on the ground and a Big East worst 236.6 yards per game in the air.

If you believe in statistics, Rutgers should be able to use the wildcat package to produce some yards on the ground. Jeremy Deering had a break out game last week against Syracuse and did his best to single handedly carry Rutgers. Running back Joe Martinek appears to be ready for his most significant work in a long time, giving a boost to the traditional running game.

While Rutgers may be able to move the ball on the ground, an aerial attack would be even better. The Cincinnati secondary has had trouble covering receivers all year. Savage or Dodd must step up and play a big game.

I will not go into who should start. Regardless which quarterback is under center, the Rutgers coaching staff needs to allow it’s signal caller to gain a rythmn. If they can establish that rythmn, Saturday could be a break out game for the Rutgers offense.

Top wide receiver Mohamed Sanu is still battling a leg injury but should see limited time on Saturday. Despite not having Sanu at full strength, Rutgers has plenty of other options.

Mark Harrison is developing into a big play receiver. He has the size and speed to stretch a defense.

Rutgers offensive line must continue improving, giving Savage and/or Dodd time to throw. With time, the quarterbacks need to be accurate with their throws and hit open receivers.

Spreading the ball around will be key as well. Using tight end D.C. Jefferson as another option will only help the quarterbacks. Screen passes out of the backfield to players like Jordan Thomas and De’Antwan Williams would give Savage and Dodd even more options to look for.

Cinicinnati can score, they just struggle on defense. That’s why they come into the game tied with Rutgers for last place in the Big East. If Rutgers has a chance to win this game and hold on to their slim bowl hopes, Tom Savage and/or Chas Dodd really need to step up and play a big game.

It’s time. They are well over due for a big game.



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