Defense's gusty performance leads to a Senior Day victory over the Panthers
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.