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News, insights and analysis on the Rutgers football program

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Bowling in South Florida

   The Big East made two improvements to its bowl lineup today when the NCAA certified the inaugural St. Petersburg Bowl.

    The St. Petersburg Bowl, a creation of ESPN Regional Television, will air on ESPN and pit a Big East team against a team from Conference USA. The Big East’s participation in the bowl was in concert with a change in the Papa John’s Bowl, which will now pit a Big East team against a team from the SEC.

   Previously, a Big East representative played a Conference USA representative in the Papa John’s Bowl. Last year, Cincinnati beat Southern Mississippi 31-21

   Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese has long talked of wanting to play a bowl game against teams from the SEC and/or the Big Ten, and one of those goals was realized yesterday.

    “We have always wanted to have a bowl relationship with the Southeastern Conference,” Tranghese said in a statement. “We believe the game will continue to prosper under the Big East and SEC banners.” 

Monday, April 28, 2008

Draft day

A couple links:
Trentonian sports editor Matthew Osborne filled in and wrote a story on Ray Rice's selection by the Baltimore Ravens in the second round of the NFL draft.
Rice's teammate, Jeremy Zuttah, was taken in the third round by the Tampa Bay Bucs.
And according to published reports, RU defensive tackle Eric Foster signed a deal with the Indianapolis Colts.
An interesting sidenote to Ray landing in Baltimroe is that Craig Ver Steeg will now be the only coach other than members of the New Rochelle High School staff to coach Ray for four or more years. Ver Steeg was the offensive coordinator for the Knights from 2003-06 and the running backs coach last year.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

No-win at Penn State?

Pretty strong stuff -- and certainly really interesting stuff -- from's Stewart Mandell regarding the situation at the State U. to our west. 
What should Penn State do with JoePa? 
Look, I know the guy has done a whole lot of good for the program (which he essentially built himself) and the university. And I know college football doesn't exactly operate under the same guidelines as corporate America. But I think its important to ask this question: in what other profession would an employer let an employee continue working until he was 81, while the product the business is putting out suffers more and more as time goes by? 

Sunday, April 20, 2008

In the stands at the spring game

There's a bunch of stuff I couldn't fit in the paper today about the spring game, in which the scarlet team, made mostly of Rutgers' first-team offense and second-team defense, beat the white team 28-14 before a spring school record crowd of 14,501. 
I have to stretch out some of my quotes and use them for future stories (and probably future blog posts), but one thing that's certainly worth mentioning here is the presence of recruits. 
Greg Schiano said there were more than 100 of them there. There were high school players of all ages and positions -- so many that Schiano said spending time with all of them caused him to miss practically the entire scrimmage -- but none are likely to have a bigger impact on the future of the Knights' program than quarterback Tom Savage, who committed to Rutgers at a press conference on Friday afternoon. 
Savage, who sat near the 50-yard line wearing a red Rutgers t-shirt and a Phillies hat ("a big fan," he said), said he has the highest of hopes for his future team. 
"I think they're going to make a big run for it this year and in the upcoming years," he said. "They're going to be a great program." 
Savage said he has been corresponding with starting QB Mike Teel on facebook, and that he was looking forward to getting to know that man who holds the job that will likely someday be his own. 
He raved about the Rutgers "family" and said that now that he's a part of it, he's going to do his best to bring along some of his friends, including a couple of his Cardinal O'Hara High School teammates who joined him at the game. 
"I'm going to try to pull in as many as I can," he said. "I'm going to tell them that this is going to be the place in the future." 

Friday, April 18, 2008

Savage commits

Rutgers landed perhaps the most highly-touted recruit in school history today when Tom Savage, a quarterback from Cardinal O'Hara High School in Springfield, Pa. announced at a press conference in the school's auditorium that he spurned scholarship offers to more than 20 others schools and verbally committed to Rutgers.
Savage is rated the No. 5 QB in the class of 2009 and the No. 24 overall player in the country by
This is great news for everyone at Rutgers who isn't a quarterback. If you're Jabu Lovelace, Chris Paul-Ettiene, D.C. Jefferson, or Ewing's Steve Shimko, your hopes of becoming the Knights starting QB and/or getting substantial playing time in the future took a big hit.
But for everyone else in Piscataway, this is certainly reason to celebrate.

Mercer men

Couple of features for your reading pleasure on Rutgers players from Mercer County:
One on Hightstown's Zaire Kitchen, who's looking to add his name to the short list of players who have had successful careers after three knee surgeries.
And a shorter one on tight end Craig McGovern, of Lawrenceville and the Hun School, who's looking to finally make an impact after four years toiling in obscurity on sidelines from East Lansing, Mich. to Piscataway.
And for some hard news: Rutgers finalized its schedule yesterday by adding a game with Morgan State on Sept. 27 at Rutgers Stadium.
The season opener is Sept. 1 against Fresno State -- three months and a week away if you're scoring at home.
The Scarlet-White spring game is tomorrow at 2 p.m.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Rutgers' model citizen

Funny story from spring practice that I wrote about in today's paper. 
Turns out, Tiquan Underwood was in a fashion show, with the highlight of the show -- and the grand finale -- being an appearance by the former Notre Dame High School standout in a gold speedo. 
I doubt Ti is going to make a habit out of appearing in these shows, and I doubt even more seriously that he'll stop pursuing a career in the NFL in order to become a professional model. 
But as long as he's focused on getting better as a receiver and preparing for the upcoming season --- which he seems to be -- I think it's a good thing that he's having some fun, and that he seems to be cherishing his role as a Big Man On Campus. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Rutgers adds one more

Almost two months after National Signing Day, Rutgers added the 21st member of its 2008 freshman football class yesterday when the Scarlet Knights signed Kevin Eagan, a 6-foot-4, 235-pound defensive end from West Hartford, Conn.
Eagan, a first-team all-state selection by the Hartford Courant, delayed his signing because he was still torn between Rutgers and UConn.
He also received a scholarship offer from Temple after making 75 tackles and 10 sacks last year and leading Northwest Catholic High School to the Class S state semifinals.
Four of Eagan’s high school teammates signed letters of intent to play at Division I schools, including Notre Dame-bound Mike Golic, whose father, also named Mike, was a defensive lineman at Notre Dame and for the Eagles, Miami Dolphins and Houston Oilers.