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Midseason review: Rutgers

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

The warning signs were there in the preseason for Rutgers. Uncertainty at quarterback and receiver. The loss of some solid playmakers on defense. The lack of an explosive running game.

Still, those like yours truly who thought the Scarlet Knights could have a breakout year liked a few things: the experienced offensive line, which played so well at the end of last year; a solid nucleus returning on defense, which Greg Schiano always seems to whip into shape; and of course, the schedule.

It turns out that the concerns outweighed the positives in the first half. Rutgers' schedule advantage has been for naught, as the team lost its first two conference games at home. Schiano turned to true freshman Tom Savage at quarterback after two quarters in the opener, and the results have predictably been mediocre. While the defense has vastly improved since the opening 47-15 loss to Cincinnati, the offense is still searching for an identity. The O-line hasn't been as dominant as we thought.

Rutgers is 4-2 but hasn't beaten a team with a winning record. With youngsters playing key roles, this is a team that could improve in the second half. But a breakthrough season isn't happening.

Offensive MVP: Tim Brown. The lone returning veteran receiver has been terrific in his new role as a No. 1 guy. He has 28 catches for 548 yards and three scores, averaging 196 yards per reception.

Defensive MVP: Ryan D'Imperio. The veteran linebacker has been a rock in the middle. He's third on the team with 34 tackles and has a sack and an interception on an improving defense.