Friday, December 21, 2007

Scarlet Knights add another top recruit to 2008 class

Top Florida RB De-commits from West Virginia to join Rutgers
Whether or not Ray Rice decides to leave early after his junior season, Rutgers will not be lacking in depth at the RB position. This week, the Scarlet Knights added yet another talented Running Back to their depth chart as Onterio McCallebb of Fort Meade, FL verbally committed to play for Greg Schiano at Rutgers. McCallebb is a speedster, who has been timed at 4.35 for his 40-yard dash and stands at 6 foot and 170 lbs. He is an athlete who has the possibility of running back, wide receiver and kick returner at Rutgers. His aforementioned speed is very dangerous in the open field and is a great addition to the Scarlet Knights. He was originally a verbal commit to Big East rival West Virginia, yet had a change of mind after the Mountaineer's lost head coach Rich Rodriguez to Michigan. Coach Schiano and his staff were persistent and swayed this top track athlete to play in Piscataway next season. McCallebb is the second running back who has verbally committed to Rutgers this season joining Rashad White of Teaneck, NJ. White is also a very fast athlete, who has also been timed at 4.35 in his 40-yard dash. Rutgers could have a very deep depth chart at running back with or without Ray Rice and could look something like this:
1. Kordell Young
2. Mason Robinson
3. Onterio McCallebb
4. Rashad White
Coach Schiano might just have to call up USC head coach Pete Carroll for advice.
Keep Choppin'

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Big East Conference News: Rodriguez and Option-Attack head to Ann Arbor

Sorry for the lack of recent updates as not too much has changed since the last time I wrote. However, there has been a major shakeup in the conference recently as West Virginia's head coach Rich Rodriguez bolted to fill the coaching vacancy at the University of Michigan, the same team Coach Greg Schiano spurred to remain at Rutgers. This move means a lot to not only the Mountaineers, but to the entire Big East Conference. Rodriguez's departure leaves a vacancy at the head coaching position for the Mountaineers and with an interim head coach for the Sugar Bowl match up with the Oklahoma Sooners. How things have changed in the last few weeks. Rodriguez and the Mountaineers were one game away from playing in the National Championship game, but ended up losing to a huge underdog and losing their head coach. Along with Rodriguez, the Mountaineers will lose prospects, current players, coaches and most likely the offensive style that has harassed Big East conference defensive coordinators since the Mountaineers joined the conference. You would also have to believe that their star quarterback Pat White and RB Steve Slaton would leave early to enter the N.FL. Draft. Rodriguez, the architect of the Option-style attack, will bring his attack to the Big Ten, where many people believe his offensive attack will be even more potent against the slower Big Ten defenses. Although the conference loses a great coach, other Big East teams won't miss having to defend the Mountaineer's current offense.
Keep Choppin'

Friday, December 14, 2007

Top Recruits to visit Rutgers this weekend

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
This weekend, Rutgers will play host to 11 recruits, some of the most talented on the East Coast, who all hold offers to play next season for the Scarlet Knights. Of these 11 recruits, 2 have already verbally committed over the past weekend. Players from Florida, Maryland, Virginia and Kentucky are some of the states represented from those visiting. The 2 commits are highly touted QB DC Jefferson of Winter Haven, FL and WR Morgan Carter of Woodbridge, VA. One of the star prospects on the visit list is DE/TE Cory Liuget from Hialeah, FL. Liuget stands in at 6-3, 270 lbs. and is one of the top defensive ends in South Florida. ranks him the #14 Defensive End in the Nation and a 4-star recruit. Other than Rutgers, he holds offers from LSU, Florida State, Miami, South Florida and has a soft verbal commit to Illinois. Also visiting are two talented corner backs from Florida in David Rowe of Cocoa, FL and George Baker of Miami, FL. Representing Bowling Green, Kentucky is Ryan Wallace, a 6-5 Tight End prospect who is rated the #28 Tight End prospect in the nation by Other top players are DT Zach Kerr of Gaithersburg, MD and WR Keith Stroud from Fort Union, VA.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

D.C Jefferson Re-Commits to Rutgers

Star QB Drops commitment from LSU to become a Scarlet Knight.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
The LSU Tigers have lost the commitment of D.C. Jefferson, the #1 QB in the state of Florida. Jefferson, who had committed to play for Coach Schiano over the summer, had a change of mind and committed to LSU in late October only to rejoin the Scarlet Knights 2008 recruiting class this week. Jefferson stands at 6-6.5 feet and 241 lbs. and is a star for Winter Haven HS in Winter Haven, Florida. This verbal commit is huge for Rutgers---as long as he doesn't change his mind again. The Scarlet Knights have also received verbal commitments from three other players in the past several days. They are Defensive End Marquis Hamm of New Brunswick, NJ, Athelete/Quarterback Wayne Warren of Salisbury, MD and Wider Receiver Morgan Carter of Woodbridge, VA. Hamm is a 6-4, 220 lb. DE from nearby New Brunswick High. Warren stands at 6 foot 1 and is a dual-threat athlete/quarterback. Carter is a Wide Receiver who stands at 6 foot 4, who turned down Michigan State and Connecticut among others to join the Scarlet Knights. With the recent verbal commitments, Rutgers has a solid 2008 recruiting class of 12 players that clearly addresses some of the team needs on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
Keep Choppin'

Rice, Foster Named All-Americans

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Rutgers RB Ray Rice and DT Eric Foster have been named All-Americans for the second consecutive season. The Sporting News named both Rice and Foster to their All-America Second Team after naming Rutgers freshman OL Anthony Davis and S Joe LeFeged to Freshman All-America Teams. Rice, who was a finalist for the Doak Walker Award, ran for over 1,700 yards again this season and became Rutgers all time leader for rushing with 4,646 career yards on the ground. He is the first Scarlet Knight to rush for 20 touchdowns in back-to-back seasons. Rice was also named a Second Team All-American by the Walter Camp Foundation. Foster finished the regular season with 62 tackles, 13 tackles-for-loss, five sacks, an interception and two forced fumbles. In addition, Rice and Foster were named to the All-BIG EAST First Team for 2007.
Keep Choppin'

Friday, December 7, 2007

Schiano rejects Michigan, Davis garners more accolades

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Greg Schiano has denied reports that he is talking to another football team for the second straight season this week. Last season, Coach Schiano was contacted by Miami to become their new football coach, where he was the defensive coordinator before arriving "On the Banks". This season was no different as Schiano was a lead candidate for the head coaching position at the University of Michigan after Head Coach Lloyd Carr retired. Coach Schiano met with the team today after making a hard decision to turn down the Wolverines. When he arrived, he told the players he "still had work to do" at Rutgers. Schiano said, "this was a hard decision," which is according to a team staff member. He made a statement today saying, "I was contacted earlier this week about the Michigan coaching vacancy, but I have decided to remove my name from consideration. I look forward to our third straight bowl game and to bringing a national championship to Rutgers and the state of New Jersey. I will have no further comment." Good news for Scarlet Nation.
In other news, Anthony Davis has garnered more post-season honors, as the Sporting News named him to their Freshman All-American First Team, while fellow Freshman Joe Lefeged was named to the Honorable Mention Freshman All-American Team.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

International Bowl

Scarlet Knights to face off with Ball State
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Now that the college football season is over, most of the bowl games have been finalized. Rutgers will travel across the border into Canada this season to take on Ball State in the International Bowl on January 5th. The game will be at 12:00 noon and will be televised on ESPN2. The International Bowl is the only Bowl game played outside of the U.S. and is played at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Rutgers -Louisville Post Game Thoughts

Scarlet Knights 4th Quarter Collapse gives Cardinals their revenge
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Thursday night Rutgers could not survive their own 4th quarter collapse and in turn lost to the Louisville Cardinals 41-38 in the last regular season game of 2007. Rutgers played brilliantly for more than 3/4 of the football game; yet they let the Cardinals come back from 18 points down to capture a win on Senior Night in Louisville. Rutgers defense was able to limit Louisville's star QB Brian Brohm, yet got way too relaxed later in the game, giving Brohm and his potent offense the opportunity to win. Rutgers also slowed down offensively in what was a pathetic loss typical of the 2007 team. Rutgers couldn't stick to their motto, as they failed to chop for all 60 minutes. It was surprising to see how well Rutgers was handling Brohm and his offense, as the Scarlet Knights took advantage of the Cardinal's poor defense. Rutgers did not turn the ball over offensively and Mike Teel returned to his early season form managing the game perfectly and was attacking the Cardinal secondary any chance he got. Teel found his teammate Kenny Britt 12 times for 173 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also found Junior WR Tiquan Underwood 4 times for 63 yards making Britt and Underwood the 2nd and 3rd receivers in Rutgers school history to reach 1,000 receiving yards or more in a season. The pair joined former Scarlet Knight Tres Moses, who amassed 1,056 yards in 2004. Underwood and Britt's 1,000-yard season make Rutgers the first team to have two 1,000-yard receivers on the same team and the 26th in NCAA history. Britt became Rutgers single season leader for receiving yards in a season, passing Underwood and Moses. However, it didn't matter how well the two played in the end. Teel passed for 265 yards, which was a big surprise with the way he has recently thrown the ball due to his thumb injury. In my pre-game I said that if Rutgers could establish a passing game that they would have a good chance to win, and they did. Ray Rice may have run for over 100 yards again, but he was certainly not as dominant as I would have expected against the Cardinals defense. He did find the end zone 3 times-in the first half, to tie his career high. However, I did not expect the Scarlet Knights to ever be up as much as they were. With the lead that they had, Rutgers should've won that football game. I'm not sure whom the finger needs to point to, but the majority of the team fell asleep against the Cardinals, and you can't do that against their offense. Brohm may have been under 300 yards passing, but Brock Bolen and Bilal Powell both ran for over 100 yards against the Scarlet Knights, which no one could've seen happening.
I predicted Louisville 35 Rutgers 27; the Final outcome was Louisville 41 Rutgers 38. Looked like the Scarlet Knights were going to prove me wrong on this one, but the Cardinals rallied back from an 18-point deficit to win it on an Art Carmody field goal. This puts my predicting results to 3-2.
Keep Choppin'

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Rutgers-Louisville Game Preview

Will Jeremy Ito come to the rescue again?
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
This Thursday night, Rutgers will take the field for their final regular season game of the 2007 season. Although this game may mean much less to the Big East and BCS Bowl picture as once thought, this Thursday night match up is of no less importance to Coach Greg Schiano. "I think I speak for our program when I say that there is never a game that you don't get excited for. And you throw in all the other things that go with this; we're playing a great opponent, playing on Thursday night when everyone in the country has an opportunity to watch you, that's exciting to me." Although Rutgers is already a lock to play in the International Bowl against Ball State or Bowling Green, Rutgers would like to finish the season on a high note and defeat their conference rival on their own field. Louisville will certainly be looking to get some revenge on the Scarlet Knights, who ruined Louisville's chance at a National Championship during last year's thrilling game. The key to a Rutgers victory defensively comes down to how well Rutgers can limit Brian Brohm and the Louisville passing attack. Offensively, the Cardinals are very one-minded, as they rely on Brohm and his talented receivers to attack defensive secondaries and score mass amounts of points. Brohm, who was a pre-season Heisman Trophy Candidate, has certainly held his end of the bargain this season, even though the team has not played as well as anticipated. Rutgers Defensive line must get pressure on Brohm and the secondary must be stellar to limit Louisville. Rutgers can win this game if they make Louisville run the ball. Offensively, it comes down to whether the Scarlet Knights can get any kind of passing game to compliment Ray Rice's rushing attack. With Mike Teel still injured and Jabu Lovelace (who didn’t pass the ball effectively last game against Pittsburgh), things are not looking good for R.U. Unless Mike Teel is able to play up to his abilities, I cant see the Scarlet Knights scoring back and forth with Louisville.
My prediction is Louisville 35 Rutgers 27.
It hurts for me to pick against my team, but hopefully they will prove me wrong. My all-time predicting record is 2-2.
Keep Choppin'

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bowl Scenario

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Get your passports ready. Rutgers is an almost certain lock to be invited to play in the International Bowl, which is a Toronto-based bowl game on January 5th. It is the only bowl game played outside of the U.S. The Scarlet Knights will be taking on the third place team in the MAC, which will either be Bowling Green or Ball State. First, Rutgers must take care of business in their final regular season matchup against the Louisville Cardinals. Rutgers is searching for their 8th win of the season.
In other news, Rutgers Junior RB Ray Rice is one of the three finalists for the Doak Walker Award along with Mike Hart of Michigan and Darren McFadden of Arkansas. Rice leads all active players nationally with a career average of 125.7 yards per game.
Also, Rutgers Freshman Guard Anthony Davis has been named to the First Team Freshman All-American Team by and Second Team by Davis has yet to allow a sack this season. He is the first Freshman All-America selection for the Scarlet Knights since Ray Rice and Courtney Greene in 2005. Davis displays great potential and will be a key to the future of the Rutgers running game and pass protection.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Recruiting Update

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Rutgers recruiting class of 2008 has gotten off to a solid start, with 8 prospects who have already verbally committed to play football at Rutgers next year. They include OT Caleb Ruch, WR Timothy Wright, RB Rashad White, DT Scott Vallone, MLB Eric
LeGrand, WLB Marvin Booker, QB Steven Shimko and OT Devon Watkis. Representing the Garden State are Shimko, LeGrand, Ruch, Wright, Booker and White, while Watkis and Vallone hail from New York. Ruch, a 6-8, 305 lb. OT fits the protocol of the massive, dominating O-Lineman that have played for Rutgers in recent years and is one of the top prospects in the state. He turned down offers from Florida, Boston College, Notre Dame, Clemson and others to attend Rutgers. also rates him the #18 OT in the nation. LeGrand is a MLB that appears as a D-Tackle until he runs and pursues and is very athletic for his size. He registered over 150 tackles as a junior and even rushed for 8 touchdowns at tailback. ranks him as the #15 MLB in the nation. Scott Vallone is an explosive DT from St. Anthony's HS in NY, who will likely move to DE in college. He set the sack record at his high school with 7 sacks in 2 games this season. He turned down offers from BC, Maryland, Virginia among others to play for RU. Booker is an athletic player with long arms and is following in the footsteps of former teammate Anthony Davis to become a Scarlet Knight after playing for Piscataway High. White is a RB who is closing in on 5,000 yards rushing in his high school career at Teaneck. However, this solid recruiting class has not been finalized, as the Scarlet Knights are still in the running for some of the top prospects around NJ, NY, PA, MD, VA, Florida and even Kentucky and California. They include the New Brunswick Safety Brandon Smith who is rated the #4 Safety in the Nation (, CB Brandon Harris of Miami and WR Tommy Streeter, who plays for Tim Brown's former High School at Miami Northwestern. Rutgers had what was arguably their best recruiting class in school history last season, and have a chance to challenge that with this year's class.
Keep Choppin'

Monday, November 19, 2007

Rutgers-Pittsburgh Game Recap

Defense's gusty performance leads to a Senior Day victory over the Panthers
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Sorry for the delay on the recap. As for the game Saturday afternoon, Rutgers offense was bailed out by a good defensive performance that led to a 20-16 win on Senior Day. Rutgers struggled in the passing game all day, as Mike Teel played very limited time and threw two interceptions and Jabu Lovelace couldn't find a rhythm passing either. Ray Rice managed to end with 112 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries, but as I mentioned in my pre-game keys to the game, if Rutgers did not get good balance on offense, this game would be closer than it should have. And it was, as Rutgers beat Pittsburgh by only 4 points and was saved by an interception by Devin McCourty with just 19 ticks left. With the win, Rutgers improved to 7-4 and 3-3 in the Big East. The Scarlet Knights defense played in what coach Schiano called "one of the more gutsy defensive performances that I've ever been apart of. Those kids were remarkable." Senior DT Eric Foster also added, "Today was the best defensive performance I have ever been associated with. Everyone was playing for each other. It was a gutsy performance." Rutgers defense, which came into the match up ranked 1st nationally against the pass, limited Pitt to just 158 passing yards. The Scarlet Knights D-Line also came up big, which was my defensive key to victory. Jamaal Westerman recorded 2 sacks and Eric Foster added 1.5 sacks to help get pressure on the young quarterback Pat Bostick. Rutgers was able to shut down Pitt's star freshman RB LeSean McCoy as well, limiting him to just 2.7 yards per carry. The victory was needed for Rutgers as they try to get to the best possible bowl scenario at the end of the season. However, Monday it was released that the Scarlet Knights are no longer in contention to play in the Sun Bowl, contradicting the statements made by John Folmer, the chairman for the Sun Bowl selection committee, who said Rutgers would still be in the running if they were to beat Pitt and Louisville. As for the regular season finale against Louisville, I am finding it hard to see Rutgers coming back to Piscataway with their 8th win. As hard for it may be for me to think, Rutgers offense is not going to be able to match the offensive performance Brian Brohm puts up unless Rutgers can get a passing game. Mike Teel's injury has not shown great improvement and Jabu Lovelace has not played well enough to step in and throw the ball as much as he might like to. Rutgers pass defense will need to live up to that #1 hype to beat Louisville and keep the Cardinals to a manageable score. As for the game prediction, my prediction was RU 27-Pitt 14, and the outcome was Rutgers 20- Pitt 16. Prediction record: 2-2.
Keep Choppin'

Friday, November 16, 2007

Rutgers-Pittsburgh Game Preview

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Saturday afternoon the Rutgers Scarlet Knights will take on the Pittsburgh Panthers in hopes of securing their 7th win of the season on Senior Day. This year, Rutgers will recognize 19 seniors-Robert Baham, Jean Beljour, Marcus Daniels, Gaudhi De Sedas, Mike Fladell, Eric Foster, Ron Girault, Nate Harris, Corey Hyman, Jeremy Ito, Kyle Kummer, Dimitri Linton, Chazz Lynn, Dan Mazan, Brandon Renkart, Chris Rudanovic, Pedro Sosa, James Townsend, Mike Ziarnowski and Jeremy Zuttah. So far this senior class has amassed 28 wins and trips to 2 bowl games. This senior class has the chance to be the first to lead Rutgers to 3 bowl games. As for the game, Rutgers will be facing a Pitt team that has recently turned the corner in order to try and salvage their season. Pitt is one of the 4 Big East teams still in contention to win the Big East, with a 4-5 overall record and 2-2 in conference mark. Rutgers is looking to set their Big East conference record to 3-3 for the season. The Scarlet Knights are coming off a win over Army last Friday in which they ran all over the Black Knights who ranked 109th nationally in run defense. Junior RB Ray Rice ran for a Rutgers single-game record of 243 yards and passed former Rutgers FB Brian Leonard for all purpose yards for his career. Rutgers will need another solid rushing performance from Rice to help keep the markers moving due to the fact that Mike Teel is still not 100%. However, Teel is feeling much better with the extra rest time he got after leaving the Army game after just 7 snaps. Pittsburgh is led by true freshman RB LeSean McCoy, who is second in the conference in rushing yards this season with over 1,000 yards. Pitt is also led at Quarterback by a true freshman named Pat Bostick. Rutgers will need to key in on getting pressure on Bostick and make the most of his inexperience so that they can focus in and shut down the Pitt running game. The Rutgers D-Line's play in this football game will be one of my keys of the game in deciding the final score. If Foster and the rest can get into the backfield, Rutgers will have a much easier time on defense. Offensively, the key will be how balanced the Rutgers offense can be against the Panthers. The Scarlet Knights will not have the same success running the ball if they do it as much as last week's game against Army. Rutgers will need to get a good passing game from Mike Teel and/or Jabu Lovelace.
PREDICTION--All-time record (1-2)
The trend of my picks may point to me being a "homer", yet I think that a pumped up Rutgers crowd and a fired up effort from the seniors will give the Scarlet Knights the win in the final home game of the 2007 season. Pittsburgh will not have enough options defensively to shut down Rutgers running attack, as long as Rutgers can mix in some good pass plays as well. Otherwise, this game could be close.
Rutgers 27 Pittsburgh 14

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Vote for Ray Rice for the Doak Walker Award

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Rutgers still in contention for Sun Bowl

Scarlet Knights still could play in Big East's #2 Bowl
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Rutgers season may not be as big of a disappointment as many have perceived the 2007 Rutgers football campaign has been following their 11-2 Texas Bowl Champion season. If Rutgers is able to defeat their next two opponents (Pittsburgh and Louisville), the Scarlet Knights could be off to a Texas-based bowl game for the second straight season. John Folmer, the chairman for the Sun Bowl selection committee, says the Scarlet Knights are still in the race for the bowl game in El Paso, Texas. "Rutgers has been on our radar screen since Day 1 and they still are", said Folmer. "We know what Rutgers does for us locally, we know what Rutgers can do as far as turning TV sets on, and then the history that they've developed recently, as far as lighting the Empire State Building red and their following up there. You don’t have to sell us on Rutgers." The Sun Bowl is the second oldest and one of the most prestigious bowls in all of college football. The Sun Bowl has the choice of any bowl-eligible Big East team besides the Big East Conference champion to play against the third-place team from the Pac-10 Conference. The three teams in contention for this from the Pac-10 are Arizona State, Cal and USC. The game is played on New Year's Day on CBS. Last season, 15,000 Rutgers fans made the trip up to Houston to see Rutgers take on Kansas State in the Texas Bowl.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Big East Standings

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
With UConn's loss last night to Cincinnati, it appears as if Rutgers most likely scenario would be a 4th place finish in the conference. Rutgers unfortunately has lost to all 3 teams atop the current Big East Conference standings so even if they are tied with Cincinnati for example, the Bearcats would go to the better bowl game because they beat the Scarlet Knights. Only by some major meltdown could the Scarlet Knights finish 3rd in the conference. This would happen if West Virginia lost all 3 of their remaining games against Cincinnati, UConn and Pitt. Keep in mind for any of this to happen Rutgers would need to beat both Pittsburgh and Louisville to finish 4-3 in conference play. As for Bowl games, we will have to see how the remaining games pan out with the mess that is this year's Big East Standings. Who would have predicted the UConn Huskies and Cincinnati Bearcats would be trailing the West Virginia Mountaineers this late in the season? Or that Rutgers and Louisville’s match up on November 29th would be an afterthought for a game with BCS implications? How about how USF could make its way all the way up to the 2nd ranked team in the land only to lose 3 straight games? This year has certainly been a head-scratcher for those who tried to predict this college football season. Here are the current Big East Standings as of 11/10.
----------------Conf All
Connecticut (25) 4-0 8-1
West Virginia (5) 3-1 8-1
Cincinnati 2-2 7-2
Pittsburgh 2-2 4-5
Rutgers 2-3 6-4
Louisville 2-3 5-5
South Florida 1-3 6-3
Syracuse 1-3 2-7

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Rutgers-Army Post Game Recap

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Friday night Rutgers weathered the elements up in West Point, NY against the Army Black Knights to stop a two-game losing streak. The game was nationally televised on ESPN2, however many of the Rutgers faithful made the trip up to Michie Stadium for the Scarlet Knights final out of conference match up for the 2007 regular season. Rutgers got on the board early after a great kickoff return by Tiquan Underwood set up a 7-yard touchdown run by Jabu Lovelace. From there on it was clear sailing for the Rutgers defense which shut out the Black Knights. Army got on the board in the first quarter after a Mike Teel pass was intercepted for a 65-yard touchdown with a missed extra point attempt. That was the only time the Black Knights would get on the scoreboard as the Scarlet Knight defense recovered 4 fumbles and intercepted one pass. As I said in my preview article, a major key to the game would be how Rutgers played on special teams against Army. The Scarlet Knights were able to block a punt for a touchdown, recovered a muffed punt return by Army and got good field consistently from their return men. Offensively, the Scarlet Knights ran up and down the field on the Black Knight's defense, which came into the game ranked 109th nationally against the run. Army certainly didn't help improve that statistic as Rutgers amassed 404 yards on the ground behind a outstanding effort from Junior RB Ray Rice who ran for a Rutgers-record 243 yards on 34 carries and two touchdowns. QB Jabu Lovelace and true freshman RB Mason Robinson also paced the Scarlet Knights on the ground with career highs of 88 and 82 yards. Rice had his 22 career game of rushing for 100 yards or more, which makes him 2nd All-Time in Big East Conference history. Rice also passed former Rutgers FB Brian Leonard in all-purpose yards for a career with 4,734 yards. This road win was the first in November for the Scarlet Knights since Nov.7, 1998 and the first of the Greg Schiano era. Kicker Jeremy Ito set a new Big East record for points by a kicker with 374 career points. Rutgers was able to unlock the door to victory with both of my keys to the game with an improved special teams game and a shutdown defensive effort.
I finally get my first prediction win as Rutgers wins this one convincingly 41-6 as my prediction was Rutgers 35-Army 17. The Scarlet Knights surpassed my expectations both offensively and defensively. This sets my all-time predicting record to 1-2.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Rutgers-Army Game Preview

Rutgers at Army
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Friday evening, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights will travel to Michie Stadium in West Point, N.Y. to take on the Black Knights of Army. Kickoff time is set for 8:00 p.m. and the game will be televised nationally on ESPN2. Rutgers will be looking to bounce back once again this week after two disappointing losses to conference foes West Virginia and Connecticut. Rutgers comes into the game still looking for their 6th win to make them bowl-eligible. This will be the last out of conference game the Knights play in the 2007 regular season. Last week, Army (3-6) lost 30-10 to Air Force extending their losing streak to three straight games. However, Army has been undefeated at home this season, with wins over Rhode Island, Temple and Tulane. Army is certainly not a team to take lightly, as no team should be for the Scarlet Knights this season. Coach Schiano commented on the improved Army squad Rutgers faces Friday night. "Army definitely presents a challenge. They are an improved football team. They have won some tight games, you know they have won two overtime games. I think, as you watch their tape, you see them getting better. It's a new head coach, new coaching staff, some of the same, some new, you can see them getting more comfortable every week.”
The game key to a Rutgers victory this week will need to be a combination of improved special teams play and defense. Last week, Rutgers rolled up 511 yards of total offense, yet were continuously hurt on special teams. The Scarlet Knights gave up a touchdown, had a punt blocked and started many of their offensive possessions inside the 20-yard line against the Huskies. Defensively, the Knights missed too many tackles and paid for their mistakes throughout the ball game. Coach Schiano spoke about the team’s defensive play in the last 2 losing efforts. "We are just a little bit off. I have a feeling that's all going to get straightened out. We've just been a little bit off. It's not a single guy; otherwise you remedy that by making an adjustment on depth. I don't think it's a big schematic issue, although every game you come out saying I wish we had done this or I wish we had done that, really it's more just being a little bit off, different guys being a little bit off at different times. And when you're playing the best teams, being a little bit off can be exposed sometimes.” Another x-factor will be how Rutgers plays in the red zone as they were held to 4 red zone field goals last weekend against the Huskies.
PREDICTION (Career Prediction Record 0-2)
Call me crazy, but I can’t see the Scarlet Knights losing this game. At worst this game will be a close game for Rutgers. But then again, I have been wrong before.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Scarlet Spotlight: Eric Foster

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
This is the first installment of Scarlet Spotlight, a new feature of the Scarlet Fever Blog about a key member of the Rutgers Football team. The first player under the Scarlet Spotlight is Rutgers’ 5th-Year Senior DT Eric Foster.
Eric Foster is the definition of Coach Greg Schiano's slogan- Keep Choppin'. Foster committed to Rutgers believing in the "Rutgers Dream" that Greg Schiano preached to his recruits just several years ago when that was practically all he could offer. Eric Foster came to Rutgers to leave his mark on the program and to get the Scarlet Knights the respect from across the nation they had never received before. Foster was an All-Dade County selection at middle linebacker during his senior season at Homestead High School in Homestead, Florida while registering 107 tackles and three sacks. He also played basketball at Homestead High, helping clinch the District 16-6A championship. Foster believed enough in Schiano and Rutgers and his dedication has paid out for both Foster and the program. As a true freshman, he practiced with the Defensive-line to help prepare him to endure the rigors of playing on the Defensive Line in the Big East Conference. Next season, as a redshirt freshman, Foster factored into Rutgers' defensive line towards the end of the season finishing with 22 tackles, 2 Tackles For Loss and 1.5 Sacks on the season. Eric came into the 2005 season ready to contribute and had a strong showing in the season opener against Illinois with 8 tackles and 2.5 tackles for a loss. Unfortunately for Rutgers, he never was given the chance to show his talent and contribute to the Scarlet Knights' first winning season since 1992. Eric sustained a season-ending knee injury in the early part of the Scarlet Knights second game against Villanova on September 10th. Yet, the injury could not slow down the Chop-Master, who rehabbed hard and persevered in order to return for his junior season better than ever. Foster's hard work led to a season in which he emerged as a defensive monster and the face of the Rutgers defense. He became a fan-favorite and played at a high-level all season starting all 13 games for the Scarlet Knights as a Co-Captain. Foster played a crucial role during Rutgers' magical 2006 campaign in which the Scarlet Knights started off 9-0 and won the first bowl game in Rutgers Football history. He re-emerged as one of the nation's top defensive linemen on one of the nation's top college football programs, finishing the season with 51 tackles, 6.0 sacks and a team-best 14 tackles-for-loss. Eric ranked among the nation's elite in sacks and tackles-for-loss and was recognized as a First-team All-America Selection by the Football Writers Association of America, First Team All-Big East Selection, Honorable Mention All-American and the Defensive Tackle of the Year by the New Jerset Sports Writers. He was also the recipient of the David Bender Trophy, given annually to the top defensive lineman at Rutgers. Eric entered the season as a preseason candidate for the Nagurski, Outland and Lott Trophies, some of the most prestigious awards in college football. The 6-2, 265 lb. Foster has progressed along with Rutgers as the two have chopped their way to national prominence that was just a dream 5 years ago when Foster made the commitment to Rutgers and Greg Schiano. Foster has certainly helped change the future of this program, as his name will forever be linked to Rutgers history.
Keep Choppin'.
-Mike Briggs

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Rutgers-UConn Post Game Thoughts

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Dreadful. Miserable. Disappointed. These are some of the feelings Rutgers fans stomached during the Scarlet Knights latest loss. The Scarlet Knights may have had a better showing than in the previous rout from the West Virginia Mountaineers, yet this loss may have hurt even more. With the loss to Connecticut, Rutgers has found another way to lower the post-season expectations for the 2007 campaign. In just 3 short weeks, the Scarlet Knights have descended from the National Top 25 Picture, Big East Conference Championship race and the latest loss practically eliminated the Knights from traveling to a better Bowl game this season. This season has been similar to a long wait for an amusement park ride with the expectation that I will be the most thrilling ride you have ever been on. Rutgers fans anticipated an exhilarating season after last year's magical campaign that came with national attention. The season started strong with three home victories, but with two losses to Maryland and Cincinnati, Rutgers fans began to realize this season might not be as amazing as anticipated. Since then the Knights have showed sparks of emotion and the will to win against Syracuse and in a thrilling upset of #2 South Florida at Rutgers Stadium. Yet, the Knights couldn't seem to find that same will to win against West Virginia and Connecticut. Saturday night against UConn, Rutgers was outplayed from the start on special teams play as Connecticut blocked a punt for a safety and also returned a kickoff for a touchdown. UConn had its way on special teams, while Rutgers struggled mightily, also dropping two kickoffs that gave Rutgers starting position inside their own 10-yard line. I don’t care how amazing your offense is because if you have to start each offensive position with 90+ yards to get a touchdown, you are not going to win the game. This season we have realized how young these Scarlet Knights are and even though this season may not be as glamorous as projected, this season will be a great learning experience for Greg Schiano's club. The Knights still can muster a respectable bowl game if they win out against Army, Pitt and Louisville, yet no opponent should be overlooked. Lets hope the Knights can stick to their motto and keep choppin' for the rest of the 2007 season.
As for my prediction, The UConn game sets me back to 0-2 in predictions since creating this blog. Rutgers 24 UConn 17 didn’t seem so crazy last week, but UConn 38 Rutgers 19 didn't seem so likely either. What can you do. Lets all hope the Knights bounce back Friday night @ Army.
-Mike Briggs

Friday, November 2, 2007

Rutgers-UConn Preview and RU-WVU Post-Game Analysis

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Last week's prediction: Rutgers 28 West Virginia 27
Game Outcome: West Virginia 31 Rutgers 3
My All-time Picking Record: 0-1
Sorry for the last few days without updates. As for the West Virginia game, what’s there to say? It's a game that fans, players and coaches all want to put behind them. It was evident that the Scarlet Knights were not ready for a team like the Mountaineers and superstars like Pat White and Steve Slaton. The downpour and Mike Teel's bruised hand certainly didn’t help the cause, either. Rutgers was clearly overmatched, most evidently on defense as Pat White and Slaton did whatever they pleased against the Knights porous defense. This week we will see how the Knights rebound from a demoralizing defeat in front of a national TV audience on ABC. This week comes the easiest 16th ranked team the Knights have ever played, or may ever play for that case. Connecticut may hold key wins over South Florida and Louisville, yet both those wins were at home. Connecticut should've lost to both Louisville and Temple if it wasn't for bad calls later admitted to by the referees. UConn will be facing a bonafide, bruising back in Ray Rice Saturday night in East Hartford. Rice is currently second in the nation for carriers per game and it will be expected that Rice have another 30+ carry, 100+ yard game against the Huskies. Rutgers will be best off handing the ball of to their Heisman trophy candidate as he tries to bull through a defense that held him to 79 yards rushing. Quarterback Mike Teel's hand will be a key factor in the passing game, and hopefully we will see more time from Jabu Lovelace if Teel is not able to produce. Most people have been pointing the finger at Teel for Rutgers' 3 losses this season, yet there have been many negative factors from these losses. I predict a Rutgers rebound victory this week, despite my horrendous pick last week. Rutgers will add another win and put a Big East Conference loss in the UConn conference record.
Rutgers 24 Connecticut 17
Keep Choppin',

Friday, October 26, 2007

Game Preview: Rutgers vs. West Virginia

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
This week the #6 West Virginia Mountaineers travel to Rutgers Stadium for a much-anticipated showdown between two Big East rivals with B.C.S. Bowl implications in jeopardy for each team. The game will be covered on television on ABC with kickoff at 12:10 p.m. The game will be on radio stations WOR (AM-710), WCTC (AM-1450) and WENJ (AM-1450) and XM Radio channel 203. This game marks the first time in 138 years in Rutgers football history that the Scarlet Knights will face a team ranked in the top-10. Rutgers is coming off a thrilling victory over previously ranked #2 South Florida last Thursday at Rutgers Stadium. Since losing 2 heart-breaking games to Maryland and Cincinnati, the Scarlet Knights have bounced back with convincing victories at Syracuse and then versus the previously unbeaten Bulls. West Virginia is 6-1 this season, with their only loss coming against South Florida on September 28th. The Mountaineers are 1-1 in conference play, with their victory coming over Syracuse. Since the Greg Schiano era, Rutgers is 0-6 against the Mountaineers and has lost 12 straight games to West Virginia. Last year's game proved to be a thriller, as Rutgers dropped a 41-39 decision at West Virginia in Triple Overtime. This year's game brings similar implications, as Rutgers must win out their remaining schedule to have a chance to win their first ever Big East Conference championship and salvage the season. Greg Schiano reflects on his 0-6 record against the Mountaineers since he became the Scarlet Knights' head coach. "We haven't beaten them. That's just stating a fact. Last year I thought we played very well, we were just a couple plays short of winning. When you're playing at that level, it's a very fine line. I don't think we were playing with the same weapons in the early years. We have had opportunities to win later and we've found a way not to, so hopefully we can play our best and hopefully that will be good enough, but I don't know if it will."
Key Defensive Match-up: Rutgers defense vs. Pat White and Steve Slaton
Rutgers defense will be in a world of trouble come Saturday afternoon if they can't limit the dynamic QB Pat White and RB Steve Slaton. Slaton and White, two Pre-season Heisman trophy candidates, excel in an option offense that creates headaches for defensive coordinators. Last year, Rutgers did not play against White, who was nursing an injury during the Mountaineer's win. Slaton is second all-time in Big East history with 41 touchdowns and leads all active rushers. He is currently the second leading receiver on his team with 215 yards, however he is 300 yards shy of the mark of rushing yards he had accumulated at this point last season. Last year vs. Rutgers, Slaton ran for 112 yards, including a pair of 1-yard TD runs, and had three catches for 37 yards. Rutgers linebackers will have to play their A-Games to limit Pat White's scrambling ability and keeping Slaton from busting big runs into the Rutgers secondary. Rutgers must get into the backfield and create pressure for White and Slaton, as they did against South Florida last week sacking USF's quick Quarterback Matt Grothe seven times.
Key Offensive Match-up: Rutgers QB Mike Teel vs. his bruised hand
Ray Rice can bull into the opposing defense as hard as he can, but if Rutgers does not create balance on offense, they will not move the ball against a talented West Virginia defense. Mike Teel has been battling a deeply bruised throwing hand since the loss to Cincinnati and this will prove to be a deciding factor in Rutgers passing game. If Teel is unable to play, back-up QB Jabu Lovelace is ready, but he has only been used as a running QB this season. Teel is determined to play, but if he is not effective, look for Lovelace to come to the rescue. Teel needs to return to his past success that he enjoyed early this season if Rutgers wants to have a chance in this football game. Coach Schiano has been vague on Teel's condition as of Thursday, so we will see game time how he turns out.
Rutgers wins a thrilling game on the banks. Rutgers is able to limit Pat White and Steve Slaton to a degree and Ray Rice carries the offense with a mixture of Mike Teel and Jabu Lovelace at Quarterback.
Rutgers 28 West Virginia 27

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Big Three

The Big Three: Underwood, Britt and Brown create havoc for opposing defenses
Rutgers sophomore and junior wide receivers Kenny Britt, Tim Brown and Tiquan Underwood certainly took advantage of the late season opportunities they were given during Rutgers 2006 season. Each receiver played a crucial part in the team's success later in the season and has been able to use that experience from the start of the Scarlet Knights recent quest for a B.C.S. Bowl Bid and the first Big East Conference championship in Rutgers school history. Each receiver brings a different game to the table, yet the most impressive attribute each has are their unselfishness on the football field. You will never see these three talent young receivers complaining to Rutgers quarterback Mike Teel over the number of passes they get each game, yet they work together to create a triple threat that is almost impossible for opposing defenses to stop. Underwood, Britt and Brown have all had their share of recent success and punish defenses when they center in on one or the other. Underwood emerged as a threat last season after the injury to top receiver Shawn Tucker during Rutgers game against Howard with impressive performances against Pittsburgh and other teams until an in jury forced him to miss the West Virginia and Kansas State games. Underwood continued where he left off when he exploded in the season and home opener against Buffalo tallying over 200 receiving yards and breaking the school's single-game record for receiving yards in a game. Britt also enjoyed success late last season as a true freshman during the Scarlet Knight's thrilling victory against Louisville and through the rest of the 2006 season. Kenny also showed great strength and speed with his 176 receiving yards at the first half. Brown played a crucial role in the Knights first ever bowl victory over Kansas State with two touchdowns. The uniqueness that each of these receivers’ exhibits on the field has paid its dividends for all three and has given headaches to opposing defensive coordinators. Underwood became the first Rutgers receiver to have a string of 4 games in which he had 100 yards receiving or more. He and Britt are on pace to accumulate 1,000 receiving yards each. In Rutgers 138 seasons of college football, the Scarlet Knights have only had one 1,000-yard receiver (Tres Moses in 2003). The three are a close unit who can usually be seen arm-locked when running out for pre-game and half time warm ups. The future certainly looks bright for Rutgers behind these three young stars, and especially dim for their Big East challengers.
-Mike Briggs
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

First Post

First Post: Mike Teel update and recruiting update
Hey and welcome to my blog: Scarlet Fever: The Rutgers Football Blog. First off, I'd like to get to some recent recruiting news. Former Rutgers commit D.C. Jefferson of Winter Haven Senior HS in Winter Haven, Florida has changed uniforms after a recent visit to Louisiana State University. Jefferson, who stands at 6-6.5 feet and 241 lbs., verbally committed to Rutgers over the summer, changed his mind after a visit to the Bayou. Jefferson is regarded as one of the nation's top quarterback recruits and has been compared to former LSU Tiger and Oakland Raider QB JaMarcus Russell. Ouch, that hurts. In other quarterback news, Mike Teel has been limited in practice this week due to the bruised thumb he has yet to heel from the Cincinnati game. Teel, who injured the thumb after hitting a players' helmet, only completed 11 of his 29 pass attempts in Rutgers win over South Florida last Thursday. Coach Schiano commented on Teel's update at this week's press conference. "Mike Teel's hand is sore. Three days rest I think helped all our guys, especially Mike. I think he'll practice, but he'll be limited in what he can do, and we'll see what his effectiveness is." Teel is expected to play, however Jabu Lovelace is ready in case Teel is incapable of playing. As much as many Rutgers fans have ridiculed Mike Teel, he is having a good season. Despite only completing 11 passes against South Florida, Teel passed for 2 touchdowns to Junior Wide Receiver Tiquan Underwood. Teel has been playing with the injured thumb since the home loss to the Bearcats, yet has stayed in the lineup and provided a steady passing game to compliment the determined running game of Ray Rice. That's all for today.
Keep Choppin'
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket