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Midseason review: Rutgers

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Record: 3-2 (1-0 Big East)

It's no stretch to say Rutgers' season was hanging by a thread going into last week's conference opener against Connecticut.

The Scarlet Knights had suffered back-to-back home losses against North Carolina and Tulane thanks to truly brutal offensive performances. A loss to the Huskies would have left them 2-3 with all kinds of question marks hanging over their heads.

Instead, true freshman quarterback Chas Dodd came to the rescue, helping ignite a long-dormant offense and lead it to a 27-24 win. Now, Rutgers can exhale a little bit and focus on fixing some problems the rest of the way.

Greg Schiano's team has the pieces to contend for the league title. There was talk before the year that this might be Schiano's best defense yet, and that unit has not disappointed. It is allowing just 14.4 points per game, and aggressive special teams play has helped the Scarlet Knights lead the Big East in the all-important turnover margin category.

Those attributes weren't enough earlier in the season because they couldn't score points. The offensive line was mostly new this season and has already been shuffled again a few times. Rutgers ranks last in the league in rushing. Quarterback Tom Savage couldn't find a rhythm before getting hurt, and Schiano had to rely way too much on using Mohamed Sanu in the Wildcat. But Dodd has breathed life into the offense, and if that trend can continue, Rutgers might just turn things around.

Offensive MVP, WR/QB Mohamed Sanu: For a while, it seemed like Sanu was the team's only offensive player as much as Rutgers relied on him. He leads the team in rushing with 252 yards and four touchdowns. He leads the team in receiving with 23 catches for 245 yards and two scores. He has even thrown a touchdown pass. Where would the Scarlet Knights be without him?

Defensive MVP, S Joe Lefeged: Every year it seems likes Schiano has a senior step forward and become a star. Last year, it was Devin McCourty, and this year it's Lefeged. He's second on the team in tackles while leading the way in pass breakups and forced fumbles. Throw in his two blocked kicks and good work on kick returns, and Lefeged has been as valuable to the defense and special teams as Sanu has been to the offense.