Kyle Flood is hoping to lead the Rutgers Scarlet Knights to a successful farewell tour of their current conference before joining the Big Ten in 2014. Before they hit their conference schedule, however, Rutgers will have to navigate a challenging non-conference schedule. None of their early games could pose a bigger challenge, though, than the Knights’ season-opener against Derek Carr and the Fresno State Bulldogs.
Rutgers will open the season on a Thursday night on the West Coast as they take on one of the top passing attacks in college football last season. Carr was surgical in 2012, completing 67.3 percent of his passes for 4,104 yards with 37 passing touchdowns to just seven interceptions. He set the MWC record for passing yards and was named the conference offensive player of the year, while also setting the conference record for 400-yard passing games in a season with four.
And that bodes ill for Rutgers. Not only will they be forced to travel to the other side of the country on a Thursday night, but the Knights’ secondary may be the biggest question mark on the team. They will lose two of their top corners from last season in Logan Ryan and Brandon Jones who provided most of the turnovers out of the secondary in 2012.
That means that Rutgers will be breaking in a slew of new faces in their defensive backfield on the road against a quarterback who can sling the football with the best of them. Flood will learn quickly just how good his young secondary is next fall and he’ll have a glaring reminder of where they might need to improve. Can they withstand the aerial onslaught of Carr and the Bulldogs on opening night or will their youth trip them up from the start?