Notre Dame Football Opponent Preview: Rutgers Offense

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Nov 16, 2013; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights quarterback Gary Nova (10) hands off to running back Paul James (34) during the second half against the Cincinnati Bearcats at High Points Solutions Stadium. Cincinnati Bearcats defeat the Rutgers Scarlet Knights 52-17. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

Rushing (133.7ypg – 98th in the nation)

Rutgers has struggled all season to develop a rushing game.  Injuries to starting running back Paul James and inexperience along the offensive line have frustrated the coaching staff and forced Rutgers into a one dimensional offense too early in games.  But the line is coming off a dominant performance against South Florida and Kyle Flood has openly expressed confidence that his players are prepared to face Notre Dame’s front seven.

The biggest threat for the Irish defense is RB Paul James. The senior from Glassboro, NJ was averaging 143ypg (a nation’s best at the time) after Rutgers first four games of the season including a 192 yard effort against Eastern Michigan.  But James suffered a broken right fibula in the 4th quarter of Rutger’s comeback win against Arkansas which forced him to miss the next five games.   James struggled in his first three games back averaging less than 50ypg, but he eclipsed 100 yards against South Florida and looks prepared to take that momentum into Yankee stadium.

Rutgers will use James to attack the interior of Notre Dame’s defense and challenge Louis Nix’s replacements, Kona Schwenke and Jarron Jones.  If the Irish can stop this interior running, they will effectively end Rutgers chances of winning the game.

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