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News, insights and analysis on the Rutgers football program

Friday, December 5, 2008


As I was walking across the field last night from the press box toward the Rutgers locker room, the public address announcer reminded the fans who were trickling out of Rutgers Stadium to go to for information on the Scarlet Knights' upcoming postseason destination.

When the announcement was done, KISS' "Rock N Roll All Nite (and party every day)" -- a fitting tribute to such a raucous night -- came across the loud speakers.

Rutgers didn't merely beat, blow out or bludgeon Louisville. The Scarlet Knights humiliated the once-proud Cardinals, sending them to their first losing season in 11 years and tightening the noose around coach Steve Kragthorpe's neck. They also delivered one heck of a statement to bowl committees that they'll be quite an attractive commodity, riding a six-game winning streak and pulverizing every team in their path over the past month.

Today's paper has a gamer and a replay box. Tomorrow's will have a folo that will essentially finish these thoughts about going bowling.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Today's story

Today's story on Rutgers' hit king, Zaire Kitchen.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Back from the dead

That phrase describes the Rutgers football team and this blog, which is springing back to action to give you some content that was left out of The Trentonian's web edition.

Here's a link to the gamer in today's paper.

And here's the Rutgers replay, which didn't make it online.

WHAT WENT RIGHT: The passing game couldn’t have been much smoother. Mike Teel completed 22 of 33 passes for 359 yards and a touchdown, setting school career records for passing yards (8,617) and total offense (8,405) in the process. … Kenny Britt continued what is likely an All-America season with 10 catches for 197 yards. … Tim Brown scored a 19-yard touchdown on an end-around in the third quarter for his first career rushing touchdown. … Hightstown’s Zaire Kitchen forced his third fumble of the season and Joe Lefeged returned it 58 yards for his first career touchdown on Army’s fourth play from scrimmage. … The Scarlet Knights outgained the Black Knights 521-219 in total offense. … Rutgers had 25 first downs, Army 11. … Army had two passing yards. … San San Te made field goals of 27, 32 and 39 yards despite howling wind coming from both ends of the stadium. … Pete Tverdov had a tackle for loss for the 13th straight game. … Rutgers averaged 8.1 yards per play and held Army to 4.3. … Rutgers didn’t commit a turnover. … Kordell Young had a career-long 26-yard run in the third quarter. … A season-high-tying eight receivers caught at least one pass.

WHAT WENT WRONG: Teel was sacked in the first quarter and fumbled, but Rutgers lucked out when officials ruled – incorrectly, replays showed – that Teel was down before he let go of the ball. … Graves and Jack Corcoran both dropped passes when they were wide open. … Te missed a 40-yard field goal in the first quarter. … Army rushed for two first downs on its second possession to get into field goal range. … No Rutgers back had more than 53 rushing yards. … The game-time temperature was 32 degrees, with a 22 mile-per-hour wind, causing difficult kicking and punting conditions and forcing some fans to leave before the end of the third quarter.

PLAY OF THE GAME: The defensive touchdown the Scarlet Knights scored on Army’s fourth play from scrimmage set the tone.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Britt was unstoppable. It’s gone unnoticed by many because of Rutgers’ mediocre record, but the junior from Bayone might be playing his way into the first round of the NFL draft.

NOT IN THE BOX SCORE: Representatives from the Meineke Car Care Bowl and Texas Bowl were at the game scouting Rutgers.

UP NEXT: Dec. 4 at Louisville, 7:30, ESPN

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

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Schiano teleconference

Here's what Greg Schiano had to say on today's teleconference.

On how the Knights came out of the game health-wise: The guys are sore. Obviously George and Pete. Mike Gilmartin got banged up a little bit and he was able to come back and play. Greeney got an ankle and he was able to come back and play. I’m sure we’ll be sore tonight.

On the offensive line: I don’t give it a pass. We need to be able to play the five guys, whoever the five are. They were doing some things defensively that like I said last night, sometimes I think we would have checked out of a play and run something and we didn’t do that, we tried to run it right into the teeth of the blitz and see if we could. Sometimes it did (work) and sometimes it didn’t but we need to become more consistent in how the offensive line how we hold that block. When you have a blitz and you have a blitzer in the backfield we need to be able to turn that blitzer away and we didn’t do that several times.

On the running game: I think just what I said: that was mostly the reason for it. We didn’t stay on some of our blocks. I didn’t think our fullbacks, our tight ends did not block the way they’re capable of blocking. Morgan state did some things that are not easy to handle, but its your man, you need to block him.

On first three opponents: I thought they were good teams when we played them but I don’t ever think much about that. It’s in the past. What we need to know is where we failed to get the job done in those games and the reason for that, and try to get it corrected. That’s what we’ve been trying to do. It’s a work in progress every day.

On how running backs ran: thought we had a couple of plays that we just flat-out couldn’t make because we didn’t run them. It’s hard though with running backs. You start questioning a running back’s eyes than he starts questioning them. After the fact when you teach you try to present what we want them to do next time.

On the play of wideout Tim Brown: Well I thought the fact that he got to play, he’s played a little more each game. The fact that he made an extraordinary catch, obviously that continues to boost his confidence. Tims a guy who we’d like to get more and more involved in the offense.

On how ready the team is for West Virginia: We have a long way to go. There’s no doubt about that. But I think that’s how most coaches feel right about now. You had your first three or four or five games. This is where you sart to define your season.

On whether or not West Virginia QB Pat White’s thumb injury makes preparation difficult because White may not play: I think they’re both athletic quarterbacks. Pat White is certainly one of the premier players in the country. But we saw the backup quarterback two years ago and he’s a fine player. We know him well, we recruited him out of high school. They’re a very talented football team and a very talented offense as well.

On Courtney Green’s late hit in the second half: It was a tough one. I know part of the rationale is that it was away from the play, but it’s hard to tell if the whistle was blown and I’m not sure if the whistle was blown. We all teach our kids to play one way: you play through the whistle and whether you’re away from the play or you’re not away from the play, you play through the whistle because if you’re away from the play and you’re watching you might get hurt. I can see where somebody might say that’s away from the play, why’s he doing it? But that’s on us because we tell our guys you have to play through it.

On whether defensive pass interference should have been called on Chris Paul-Etienne’s fourth-quarter interception: I’m not going to get into that. You can watch the tv replay and figure it out. I think its very hard; one of the things I like about how our officials are doing things now is, if you need a tv and a remote control to determine if it was a defensive pass interference, than you know what? We’re asking those guys to do too much with the naked eye because if you have to slow it down to figure out if it was simultaneous contact or if there was contact before the ball got there … so I’m in agreement with the philosophy that we’re playing with in this league that it’s got to be a DPI to be called a DPI.

On Kordell Young’s status: He’s made improvement each week so im hoping that one of these weeks coming up he’s going to be ready to go because he ads another dimention to our running game.

On the status of Pete Tverdov and George Johnson: Those two guys I’m sure are going to be sore tonight. They were sore after the game. But they’re going to be sore. But I think they’re going to be able to go next week but tonight I would question if they were going to be able to go.

On whether or not it’s a new season with the start of Big East play next week: I know this sounds like coach speak but every game is a new season, every game is its own season, and that’s the way we approach it. We play 12 one game seasons. The previous week has nothing to do with the current week and the week after this has very little to do with it. You only play 12 games, every game is its own season.

.. Everything is a product of your experiences. Im not saying that’s the case. But you try to limit that. You try to teach the players not to go there because other than the experiences you learn from, you want to drop all that stuff because otherwise it creates clutter in the mind. As a player, you think this is why it happened last time, and then they apply a different scheme and they employ a different coverage scheme, and if its all running together then its dangerous. As coaches you need to make it very clear what they need to take from the previous games and what they need to learn from those games and everything else you have to flush it.

On the importance of turnovers in a game like next week’s: That is critical. That is the game of football. You need possession to score points. There’s only one way you can score points without a possession and that’s a safety so just the football is the number one thing. That’s the name of the game literally and its also the name of the game figuratively because you have to have the ball and when you turn it over whether it be an interception or a fumble it has more of an effect than just you don’t have the ball anymore. It has a mental effect, it has an effect on crowd involvement. I think that’s where it gets you on the road. You get the home crowd going on a turnover and it just boosts the momentum even more. That’s a key moment in the game.

On Mike Teel’s performance: I think Mike, in the Navy game I thought Mike really had a really good mentality up until the very end when he got frustrated. This game I thought he kept that mentality and really played the way we’d like him to play so hopefully he can feel good about that but again the only thing that’s going to matter is if he comes out with that same approach against west Virginia but there is some human element that carries forward, some good feelings and bad. The procress is what we’d like to carry over and that’s what we’ll try to really emphasize.