2012 report cards: Rutgers

January, 23, 2013
1/23/13
9:00
AM ET
Time to hand out Rutgers' grades.

OFFENSE: I am aware that most every Rutgers fan does not want to relive what happened on offense in 2012. For those who do not want to be reminded about the offense's failures, skip down to the defense section. For those who want another reminder of what could have been, hello! I do not think anybody truly believed Rutgers would be an offensive juggernaut headed into 2012. But this group was worse than the year before, even with the same starter at quarterback for all 13 games. Maybe that was the problem. Gary Nova was ineffective save for one game all season. He ended the season with 14 interceptions in his final seven games, including four in a three-game losing streak to end the year. Once Jawan Jamison hurt his ankle against Army, the ground game came to a halt. This team never replaced the productivity of Mohamed Sanu, either. Rutgers ranked in the bottom three in the Big East in total offense, scoring offense, rushing offense and passing offense. Jamison did get his 1,000 yards -- the lone bright spot in an otherwise dismal season. GRADE: D.

DEFENSE: We all expected Rutgers to be top-notch on defense, and it did not disappoint. In fact, this is the group that helped the Scarlet Knights stay in contention for the Big East title until the final game of the regular season. Khaseem Greene was outstanding once again, winning Big East Defensive Player of the Year honors. Three others made the All-Big East first team: cornerback Logan Ryan, safety Duron Harmon and defensive tackle Scott Vallone. Rutgers ended up ranking No. 6 in the nation in rushing defense and No. 10 in total defense -- making its biggest strides against the run. One year after allowing an average of 141 yards per game on the ground, that number dropped to 97.2. Rutgers only gave up six rushing touchdowns all season. In 2012, it allowed 17. The honest truth: who knows what type of season Rutgers would have had without this defense. GRADE: A.

OVERALL: Rutgers won a share of its first Big East title, but that achievement rings hollow when you consider the missed opportunities. The Scarlet Knights opened 7-0 before inexcusably losing at home to Kent State. Then another inexcusable loss to Pitt. A win there would have given Rutgers its first BCS berth. This team had one more chance to make the BCS, with a win at home over Louisville in the final regular-season game. Rutgers blew a 14-3 halftime lead. The bowl loss to Virginia Tech prevented Rutgers from winning 10 games and ended its five-game bowl winning streak. Rutgers did make history this season, and first-year coach Kyle Flood shared Big East Coach of the Year honors. But there could have been much more. GRADE: B.

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