The offensive unit was not spectacular, but they played mistake-free football and even scored three touchdowns in the red zone. That is the type of effort that could earn the Hurricanes a Big East title.
Brock Berlin threw two touchdown passes and no interceptions, a ratio that everyone will be satisfied with. However, Berlin only threw for 86 yards and missed a wide-open Kellen Winslow on several occasions.
Jarrett Payton enjoyed a gratifying final home game, as the senior gained 82 yards on 13 carries and had a nice 18-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Tyrone Moss had a quiet 56 yards and Jason Geathers gained 52 yards in garbage time.
It was nice to see Kevin Everett score a pair of touchdowns. Some people wondered if the sophomore would ever recover from the dropped touchdown pass against Virginia Tech. Winslow only caught two passes, which isn’t necessarily his fault, and top wide out Ryan Moore had his number called just once.
The o-line opened up holes for the running backs when they needed to be opened, gave Berlin plenty of time to throw the ball, and Rutgers only had two sacks, with both coming in the fourth quarter when the game was a blowout.
The defense gave the crowd many thrills, as the unit racked up six sacks and three interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown. Rutgers could not score on the defense until late in the fourth quarter.
Who is Javon Nanton? That is what many fans were asking when they kept hearing his name called throughout the game. The former walk-on had a career high three and a half sacks, and pressured Ryan Hart on several other occasions.
Jon Vilma was all over the place in his final game at the Orange Bowl, stuffing Rutgers’ tailbacks behind the line of scrimmage and not allowing many big runs. The only knock on the linebackers was that they were the only defensive unit to fail to create a turnover.
It was nice to see the nation’s top safety, Sean Taylor, make an interception and run it back for a score. Antrel Rolle joined the fun with a pick in the first half. If the secondary performs like this against Pittsburgh, the Panthers will be in for a long night.
Jon Peattie hit both of his field goal attempts, the Hurricanes blocked two punts, and Brian Monroe punted pretty well. With the special teams’ mishaps of weeks past, ‘Canes fans will gladly take this effort.
-compiled by Eric Kalis