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News, insights and analysis on the Rutgers football program

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Rutgers at Pitt

Greetings from the Steel City, where The Blog is making a triumphant return from a three-week absence to bring you some live action between the Scarlet Knights and the Panthers, who are set to kick it off at 3:30. 

The game is not on TV, but if your internet provider enables it, you can watch it at 

Pitt leads the all-time series 19-6, but the Knights have won three straight, including a 20-16 win last year in Piscataway and a 20-10 win here at Heinz Field in 2006. 

Here's the game day page in today's Trentonian. 

Big day for Pennsylvania sports teams: Pitt in action here, followed by Penn State at Ohio State later tonight in Columbus and weather permitting, the Phillies hosting the Rays in the Game 3 of the World Series. 

Update, 3:19: We're 10 minutes before kickoff and I'm going to take a wild guess and say there will be a few more people here tomorrow when the Steelers host the Giants. The student section in the end zone to my left is packed, but there are full sections of empty bright yellow seats. The Pitt band is color guard are on the field performing the Panthers' fight song. 

Update, 3:25: One lineup change to pass along: Caleb Ruch will start at left guard for Rutgers over Howard Barbieri. 

Update, 3:35: That was quick: three plays, 59 yards, one touchdown -- on a 33-yard run by LeSean McCoy, and it's 7-0 Pitt with 13;36 left in the first quarter. 

Update, 3:38: Wow. Talk about quick. Rutgers out-did Pitt, scoring on just TWO plays, when Mike Teel hit a WIDE OPEN Tim Brown for a 60-yard touchdown pass, putting the Knights on the board. Two plays, 71 yards, 55 seconds, and it's 7-7 with 12:41 left in the first quarter. 

Update, 3:58: Where has this been all season? Teel's pass to Brown had been the Knights' longest play of the season, but not anymore. Teel hit Britt on a 79-yard strike with 6:09 left in the first quarter, and the Knights lead 14-7. Brown had been wide open on his touchdown reception. Britt had a man on him, but went up and grabbed it, then took it to the house. 

Update, 4:04: All of a sudden, Rutgers is getting every break. Connor Lee's 45-yard field goal attempt bounced off the right upright, and the Knights' lead is still 14-7. Dom Natale is in at QB for Rutgers. 

Update, 4:11: At least for now, the Mike Teel of 2007 is back. Sure, he threw his first interception in three games. But he also has 200 yards passing and two TD passes at the end of the first quarter, and the Knights lead 14-7. 

Update, 4:17. Rutgers struck again, two plays into the second quarter, when Teel hit Britt for a seven-yard touchdown strike. San San Te's extra point was blocked, and with 14:04 left in the first half the Knights lead 20-7. 

Update, 4:24: Pass, pass, LeSean McCoy touchdown. Pitt reeled off that sequence in the first quarter and did it again in the second, with McCoy's 22-yard touchdown run getting the Panthers to within 20-14 with 12;53 left in the first half. 

Update, 4:31: Is that Dan Marino out there or Mike Teel? Teel threw his fourth touchdown pass of the game -- his career high, and one more than he had in the first seven games combined -- hitting Kenny Britt in stride to put the Knights up 27-14 with 10:34 left in the first half. Raise your hand if you saw THIS coming. 

Update, 4:38: The combined score of Rutgers last two games was 23-22. There's 8:45 left in the first half here at Heinz Field, and it's already 27-21 after LeSean McCoy's one-yard touchown run -- his third of the game -- got the Panthers back within striking distance. 

Update, 4:46: This Pitt defense is ABSOLUTELY INCAPABLE of stopping Rutgers. Teel marched the Knights down the field on a five play, 69 yard drive capped by a three-yard TD strike to Kevin Brock. Teel has five TD passes and somehow, some way, leads 34-21 with 5:26 left in the first half. The five TD passes ties a school record, and Teel still has more than 35 minutes of clock time left to work with. 

Update, 4:58: Connor Lee's 43-yard field goal made it 34-24 with 1:14 left in the first half. The Scarlet Knights stopped LeSean McCoy for no gain on third and one, forcing the field goal unit out and getting what, in this shootout, has to be considered a big stop. 

Update, 5:04: Rutgers leads 34-24 at the half. 

Update, 5:25: We're about to kick off for the second half. A cool stat on Teel, who completed 12 of 15 passes in the first half for a season-high 311 yards and five TDs: the five TDs are the most ever thrown in the first half of a Big East game. 

Pitt will kick off to start the second half. 

Update, 5:40: Rutgers is putting forth by far its best offensive output of the season, but not only is Pitt not going away, LeSean McCoy is putting on a show. The sophomore just found scored on a one-yard touchdown run for his career-high fourth TD of the game, and with 8:58 left in the third quarter, the Panthers are within three at 34-31. 

Update, 5:49: You just can't make this stuff up. Pitt forced Rutgers to go three and out, with Teddy Dellaganna punting out of the Knights' end zone. But Zaire Kitchen forced a fumble, Colin McEvoy recovered, and Mike Teel threw a 36-yard touchdown pass -- his Rutgers record sixth of the game -- to Tim Brown, and with 7:37 left in the third quarter, the Knights lead 41-31. 

Update, 6:13: Kevin Malast's 74-yard interception of Pat Bostick (in for an injured Bill Stull) set up an eight-yard Kordell Young touchdown, and Rutgers leads 48-31 with 31 seconds left in the third quarter. 

Update, 6:27: Conner Lee's 40-yard field goal made it 48-34 with 11:16 left in the game. Pitt drove to the Rutgers 23, but the Knights came up with a big stop when Bostick threw an incomplete pass on third and eight. 

Update, 6:40: Kordell Young's one-yard touchdown run made it 54-34 with 5:26 left in the game, and despite Pitt blocking another San San Te extra point, seemingly half the fans remaining in the stands started to head for the exits. Rutgers will win its second straight, improve to 3-5 and 2-2 in the Big East. 

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Rutgers at West Virginia

Greetings from Mountaineer Field, where Rutgers is trying, in its 16th attempt, to win in Morgantown for the first time. 

Today's paper has a game day page and a story on the Mountaineers' Noel Devine and Pat White. 

I walked past the mountaineer on my way in. Even at 9 a.m., he was carrying that musket around while tailgating. My $0.02 is that the mountaineer and the Syracuse orange are the two best mascots in the Big East. What do you guys think? 

Kickoff is set for noon on SNY in the New York market, ABC6 in the South Jersey/Philly market, and ESPN game plan nationally. If you're in a car somewhere, you can catch it on the Rutgers radio network, WRSU, or if you're out of town, on the Westwood One network with Phillies TV voice Tom McCarthy and former Maryland coach Bobby Ross. 

We'll keep the post open for updates. 

Update, 12:05:Rutgers shifted its starting offensive line, giving walk-on Howard Barbieri a second straight start at left guard and sitting redshirt freshman Caleb Ruch, who had started the first four games at right guard.

  With left tackle Anthony Davis back after serving a one-game suspension, Kevin Haslam shifted to right tackle and Mike Gilmartin, the previous starter at right tackle, moved to right guard. 

Update, 12:07: Davon Smart forced Ellis Lankster to fumble on the opening kickoff and Sorie Bayoh recovered for Rutgers at the West Virginia 33. Officials reviewed the play and determined Lankster was down before fumbling, so the Rutgers offense had to jog off the field. 

Update, 12:35: The entire Rutgers defense bit on a play-action pass play, leaving tight end Tyler Urban wide open in the end zone. Pat White's pass was on the money, and the Mountaineers a 7-0 lead with 5:45 left in the first quarter. 

Update, 12:45: West Virginia leads 7-0 after a quarter.  With a nine-yard scramble, Pat White moved past Indiana's Antoine Randal-El for second on the all-time NCAA quarterback rushing list. 

Update, 1:00: Pat McAfee's 40-yard field goal made it 10-0 with 9:06 to play in the first half. Rutgers has done a good job so far defending the run, but has been burnt on a few key passing plays and has done virtually nothing offensively. 

Update, 1:11: San San Te's 23-yard field goal capped a 10-play, 56-yard drive that included a pass completion from Kenny Britt to Mason Robinson, and the Knights are in the board, trailing 10-3 with 4:28 left in the first half.  

Update, 1:23: Pat White's 14-yard completion to Jock Sanders, who alluded two tacklers on his way to the end zone, gave West Virginia a 17-3 lead with 55 seconds left in the first half. 

Update, 1:27: Mike Teel led the Knights on a five-play 56-yard scoring drive that took only 31 seconds and resulted in Teel's first career rushing touchdown. Teel completed four passes, all to Kenny Britt, then kept the ball and ran up the middle to make it 17-10 with 19 seconds left in the half.  Teel has been extremely sharp so far and would have an additional 50 yards -- at least -- if he hadn't been victimized by several drops. 

Update, 1:29: 17-10 WVU at the half. 

Update, 2:22: Jarrett Brown's one-yard touchdown run capped a 14-play, 68-yard scoring drive that gave WVU a 24-10 lead with 4:05 left in the third quarter. Pat White was banged up on a scramble and came out of the game, then headed for the locker room. Big drive coming up for the Knights, who still haven't scored a single point this year in the third quarter. 

Update, 2:56: Mike Teel hit a wide-open Tim Brown in the back of the end zone, bringing Rutgers to within 24-17 with 6:23 left in the game. 

Update, 3:15: Rutgers took over on downs at the WVU 40 but came up empty when Mike Teel's pass on fourth-and-five was broken up by Scooter Berry. WVU can run out the clock. 

Final score: West Virginia (3-2, 1-0 Big East) 24, Rutgers  (1-4, 0-1) 17

Thursday, October 2, 2008

New oversight post for Rutgers athletics

TRENTON (AP) -- Following intense scrutiny over the cost of its football stadium expansion and disclosures about the compensation package for football coach Greg Schiano, Rutgers University created a new financial oversight position for its athletic department.

The university on Thursday hired Richard J. Costello to the position of deputy director of athletics-finance and administration. He starts next month.

Costello, currently the athletic director at Delaware State University, comes to Rutgers as some faculty, students and alumni are questioning the university's investment in big-time college sports.

Phone and e-mail messages left for Costello on Thursday were not immediately returned.
Rutgers President Richard L. McCormick said in a news release that Costello "brings an impressive background in finance, budget planning and management of intercollegiate athletics to this very important position."

William C. Dowling, a professor of English who has been one of the chief critics of the athletics expansion, called Costello's appointment a "last desperate attempt in damage containment."
Costello will receive an annual salary of $195,000, receive a temporary housing allowance of up to $15,000 over eight months and get an annual automobile stipend of $12,000.

Dowling said McCormick is merely adding another layer of bureaucracy. "The only logical outcome I can see to this is he will then appoint another director of oversight to watch this director of oversight and pay the next guy $400,000," Dowling said.

University spokesman Greg Trevor said Costello's salary is similar to what he was making at Delaware State.

Schiano, whose contract this year is worth $1.6 million, gets an additional $250,000 per year from Nelligan Sports Marketing, a firm the university hired in 2000 to market the athletic program. The payment is guaranteed by Rutgers if sponsorships don't cover it.

In July, McCormick ordered an internal review of financial controls in July as a series of reports in The Star-Ledger of Newark raised questions about athletic department expenditures.

The state comptroller's office has requested documents on the athletic department, including financial details of the $102 million expansion of Rutgers Stadium