Louisville and Rutgers each beat their FCS opponents on Saturday. Here is a brief recap.
For the second consecutive game, Rutgers' offense left something to be desired and that has to be a major concern headed into a big game against USF on Thursday night. The Scarlet Knights managed just 16 first downs, and Gary Nova went 15-of-27 for 130 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. There were no big plays in the receiving game for the second contest in a row. Brandon Coleman led the way with ... 48 receiving yards. In fact, Rutgers averaged 4.8 yards per attempt.
At least Rutgers had Jawan Jamison, who ran for more than 100 yards for the third straight game. But there was some bad news after the game. Coach Kyle Flood said starting center Betim Bujari and offensive guard Andre Civil are highly questionable against USF, and so is running back Savon Huggins. All three got hurt against Howard.
The defense and special teams played well again, though those two areas are never in question. Miles Shuler blocked a punt, and defensive back Brandon Jones scored, his second touchdown of the season. Howard ended up with 149 total yards.
Teddy Bridgewater had another outstanding performance, going 30-of-39 for 344 yards with two touchdown -- his first 300-yard game for his career. Bridgewater now has 11 incompletions and no interceptions in his first two games of the season, doing nothing to dispell the talk that he is the best quarterback in the Big East. He certainly has played that way.
While Louisville had two 100-yard rushers last week against Kentucky, it had none against Missouri State. Senorise Perry ran for 72 yards and a touchdown to lead all rushers. Dominique Brown sat out for the second straight game. Receiver Charles Gaines had a nice debut, catching three passes for 73 yards.
Louisville did enough in this one, and a fumble return for a touchdown late was enough for the final margin. Coach Charlie Strong is not going to be happy about the nine penalties for 87 yards in the game, either. The Cardinals face a much tougher test next week when North Carolina visits.