10 in 10: Rutgers vs. Pittsburgh

Gary Nova

ScarletReport.com's post-game package goes much deeper than the stats and the nuts and bolts of the game. The "10 in 10" feature gives Rutgers fans 10 not-so-noticeable notes that each can be read in 10 seconds or less. The breezy format is perfect for office water-cooler talk the day after a game.

Pittsburgh -- As part of ScarletReport.com's post-game coverage, the "10 in 10" segment gives you 10 not-so-noticeable things that took place in the just-completed game.

It is designed for each of the 10 quick-hitters, each to be read in 10 seconds or less. Here are the 10 from Saturday's 27-6 loss to Pittsburgh.

1. Clock management
On third-and-5 from the Rutgers 36 with less than two minutes to go in the first half, the Scarlet Knights went hurry up and threw an incomplete pass. It allowed Pittsburgh to get the ball back with 1:19 to play and the Panthers scored a touchdowns to make it 21-0 with seven seconds left in the half.

2. Man-to-zone
When Mike Shanahan scored on a 16-yard pass early in the second quarter, it came when most of the defense was playing man-to-man. However, cornerback Brandon Jones passed Shanahan off as if it was zone coverage, and Wayne Warren was nowhere near the play.

3. Missing the open man
On several occasions Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova missed open receivers. He had Jamison open on a dump off on a third-and-5 midway through the first quarter but threw to another receiver, and on a first-and-goal incomplete pass to Tim Wright Beau Bachety was uncovered in the back of the end zone.

4. Miscommunication
On Nova's fourth quarter interception, it was a miscommunication in which Nova expected receiver Quron Pratt to stay to the outside but Pratt ready the cover and ran a post. Who was wrong? Turns out it was a mix-up because Pitt used a coverage Rutgers hadn't seen before, so each player read something different.

5. Tight problems
Rutgers linebackers were either victimized by pressuring the quarterback or could not keep up with the Pittsburgh tight end in coverage.

6. Recognizing pressure
Pittsburgh did a superb job of countering Rutgers' blitzes by attacking where the blitz came from. Several times it enabled running back Ray Graham to get into open space on a screen pass, and left the Rutgers defense chasing the play.

7. Watkis over Alexander
When right guard Andre Civil went down with a re-injured ankle, it was Devon Watkis who went in instead of Taj Alexander. Rutgers doesn't pull its right guard often, and Watkis has the girth and strength to better handle a physical defensive line. Alexander started the game, but was replaced earlier by Civil.

8. Where's The Opening?
On many occasions, Rutgers' receivers couldn't get open. When Nova had time to stay in the pocket and look down the field, often there wasn't an open receiver to be had.

9. Biting again
Rutgers strong side linebackers have had trouble in coverage near the goal line the last few seasons, and it happened again in the second quarter when Jamal Merrell was fooled on play action to allow quarterback Tino Sunseri to compete a third-down pass to get to the 2-yard line.

10. Kicking game woes
Perhaps overshadowed by the poor offensive display was a Rutgers kickoff out-of-bounds and 11 punts for a 36.1 yard average (long of 45) in which Justin Doerner was unable to pin Pittsburgh deep in its own territory in the first quarter despite being in position to do so several times.

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