Friday, December 30, 2011
Instant analysis: Rutgers 27, Iowa State 13
By David Ubben
The Big East ended the Big 12's perfect record in bowls by way of the 27-13 Rutgers win over Iowa State in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, played Friday inside Yankee Stadium.
Iowa State fought late, but it's a solid win for the Scarlet Knights, playing only about an hour away from their campus.
How the game was won: Rutgers climbed out of an early 6-0 hole with a 17-point second quarter to take control of the game. The Scarlet Knights used a powerful running game to dominate Iowa State's front seven, while Iowa State's offense sputtered for much of the final three quarters.
Turning point: Iowa State made it interesting with a 20-yard touchdown run by Jeff Woody to cut the lead to 20-13, and the Cyclones got the ball back. But after a punt, Chas Dodd hit 6-foot-6 Brandon Coleman for an 86-yard touchdown with 5:47 to play. That basically wrapped this one up. Matching up 5-foot-7 Jeremy Reeves against Coleman? Not a great idea.
The Cyclones had a drive reach the red zone, but a fourth-down pass to Darius Reynolds in the end zone fell incomplete.
Stat of the game: This one was the antithesis of a thrilling nightcap Thursday, won by Baylor over Washington, 67-56. These two teams combined to convert just four of 26 third downs. So many punts. So few first downs.
Stat of the game 2: Rutgers won the turnover battle 3-0.
Player of the game: Jawan Jamison, RB, Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights averaged just 91.5 yards per game on the ground entering today's game. Only five teams in college football were worse, but Jamison's diminutive size (5-foot-8, 198 pounds) didn't prevent him from bruising the ISU defense and running hard for 134 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries. He had topped that production only once all season, with a 200-yard game in a win over Cincinnati. He and the Rutgers' running game took control in the second half.
Best call: Iowa State got off to a nice start with a gutsy move from coach Paul Rhoads. He faked a field goal on fourth-and-2 from Rutgers' 31-yard line on his second possession of the game. Holder Brett Bueker narrowly got the first down, and extended the drive by taking the snap and running straight ahead. It swung momentum, but after a sack, Iowa State had to settle for a field goal just 3 yards closer, which gave it a 6-0 lead. The Cyclones didn't score again until Woody's touchdown.
Second guessing: Rhoads' reluctance/refusal to put Jared Barnett back in the game after benching him for Steele Jantz. Jantz had a few nice runs to spark the offense when he came in, but he didn't help the offense convert very many third downs and wasn't much of an improvement over Barnett, who struggled early, completing just two of seven passes for 23 yards. Jantz's passes sailed on him for much of the night, while Barnett most often threw passes at receivers' shoelaces. Not a sharp day for the ISU quarterbacks. Barnett was a bit gimpy when he left the game in the first half, but if he was capable of playing, why not give him another shot in the second half?
Jantz finished 15-of-31 for 197 yards and two interceptions.
Well wishes: Big East defensive player of the year Khaseem Greene announced his plans to stay at Rutgers another year, rather than enter the NFL draft. The junior linebacker went down with an ugly right leg injury late in the fourth quarter, though, after a hit on Jantz. It didn't look good, and he was attended to by trainers on the field for several minutes, while in obvious pain. His teammates came on the field to encourage Greene before he left on a cart with his right leg in an air cast.
What it means: This wasn't the way Iowa State offensive coordinator Tom Herman wanted to go out. He'll leave Iowa State to join Urban Meyer's staff as his offensive coordinator and playcaller at Ohio State next season. Cyclones coach Paul Rhoads was denied his second bowl win in three years, but Rutgers coach Greg Schiano won his fifth consecutive bowl game.
Jantz also failed to recapture his fourth-quarter magic from early in the season. He quarterbacked the Cyclones to three fourth-quarter comebacks against Northern Iowa, Iowa and UConn, but the effort wasn't enough in this one.
Record performance: In the first half, Rutgers junior receiver Mohamed Sanu snatched the school record for receptions. He finished his season with 210 career catches, breaking running back Brian Leonard's record.