Sluggish start for Rutgers

Someone remind Rutgers that it is playing Norfolk State, not North Carolina.

I know it's only Sept. 2, but the Scarlet Knights just turned in a very dispiriting half against their FCS opponent. They lead just 6-0 and could be a lot worse if Norfolk hadn't fumbled an exchange in the red zone and missed a field goal. Or if there hadn't been mass confusion by the officials at the end of the first half.

Mohamed Sanu caught a pass inside the 5 with one second left. Rutgers had no timeout, so when they tried to get back to the line of scrimmage, officials wound the clock and called it a half. Then the officials said Sanu went out of bounds, which he clearly didn't. Then they reviewed it, said Sanu stayed in bounds, and the half was over. But Schiano protested that it was a first down, so the clock should have stopped. Officials give Rutgers a free play, and San San Te kicked a field goal.

Whew. Terrible job by the refs, who got an earful by Norfolk's coaches, but it illustrated just how hard it is for Rutgers to score right now.

The Scarlet Knights' offense, particularly its line and wide receivers, was a concern coming into the season. And it still is. The line isn't dominating the lower-level competition, and has allowed Tom Savage to be sacked three times. The wide receivers had just one catch until Sanu made two in the final minute.

Savage is 7-for-14 for 110 yards, half of which came in the final minute.The game plan has been pretty conservative and vanilla as you'd expect. But Rutgers ought to be able to move the ball even with a basic attack.

One positive has been the play of true freshman Jordan Thomas, who has 30 rushing yards and 19 receiving yards in heavy use so far. He's shown a nice burst of speed that's been missing from the Rutgers backfield the past couple of years.

There's still another half for Rutgers to blow this one open. But so far, it's been anything but encouraging.