Cincinnati running back George Winn had certainly seen holes appear this season -- he just needed to know where the lane was opening. The Bearcats were engineering an impressive 226.8 yards per game on the ground heading into last Saturday, but the noon derby on their home turf saw Winn desperately looking for running room in his own backfield.
He didn’t get to look for very long either, as he was quickly hounded by Rutgers’ front seven after virtually every handoff. Cincinnati finished with 3.2 yards per attempt thanks to Scarlet Knights’ defenders Khaseem Greene, Steve Beauharnais, Scott Vallone, and Jamil Merrell, who proved to be menacing run-stoppers in a virtuoso performance from both Rutgers’ o-line and d-line.
Rutgers overpowered the line of scrimmage, and was able to maintain long, clock-eating drives, controlling the time of possession for 37:13 of the game’s 60 minutes. Once again, it was Rutgers’ playmakers on defense who set the tone.
In the first half, in fact, it was a transcendent play on defense that allowed Rutgers to flip possession -- a possession that enabled the Scarlet Knights to score the game’s only touchdown.