Rutgers Preview

With their first bowl appearance in 27 years, the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers make their way to the desert as the Big East representative in the Insight Bowl. Ironically, the last time Rutgers made an appearance in the post-season was in the 1978 Garden State Bowl with Arizona State as the opponent.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

2005 Record: 7-4
Head Coach: Greg Schiano, 5th season
Offensive Coordinator: Craig Ver Steeg

OFFENSE

*Projected Starters

WR Tres Moses (Sr)
OT Pedro Sosa (So)
OG Jeremy Zuttah (So)
C Darnell Stapleton (Jr)
OG John Glass (Sr)
OT Sameeh McDonald (Sr)
TE Clark Harris (Jr)
WR Shawn Tucker (Jr)
QB Ryan Hart (Sr)
FB Brian Leonard (Jr)
RB Ray Rice (Fr)

Two seniors will close out their prolific careers at Rutgers this Tuesday. One of the two is quarterback Ryan Hart, averaging just under 200 yards a game. Hart has completed 60% of his passes and thrown for 15 touchdowns and two interceptions. The senior will go down in the Scarlet Knight record books despite his understudy, freshman Mike Teel, taking a good amount of snaps away from him this season. Teel, however, has been a turnover machine with only 2 scores to go along with the 10 interceptions he's thrown.

Wide receiver Tres Moses will also be closing the book on his career this week. Moses is the school's all-time leader in receptions and has notched 38 of those catches this season. Moses leads all receivers with 645 yards and 4 touchdowns. Junior Shawn Tucker has 31 grabs and 1 score. Juniors Willie Foster and Marcus Daniels have combined 9 catches. Tight end Clark Harris is a good receiving target for Hart and has caught 32 balls for 3 touchdowns. Sam Johnson, the other tight end, also has 3 scores this season.

The Rutgers backfield features two 1,000+ yard players. Freshman Ray Rice averages just under 6 yards per carry and has gone off for a total of 1012 yards and 5 touchdowns this season. The other member of the 1,000 yard club is fullback Brian Leonard, arguably the nation's best at his position. Leonard has 718 yards on the ground and 470 in the air, adding up to a total of 15 touchdowns for the junior. 10 rushing and the other 5 have come by way of the pass.

DEFENSE

*Projected Starters

DE Val Barnaby (Sr)
DT Ramel Meekins (Jr)
DT Luis Rivas (Sr)
DE Ryan Neill (Sr)
LB Chenry Lewis (Fr)
LB Devraun Thompson (Jr)
LB Quintero Frierson (Jr)
S Ron Girault (So)
S Courtney Greene (Fr)
CB Derrick Roberson (Jr)
CB Corey Barnes (Sr)

Schiano, former Defensive Coordinator at Miami, has restructured the Scarlet Knight defense into an improving unit. The Rutgers defense has recorded 46 sacks this season, with most of those coming by way of the defensive line. Defensive end Ryan Neill anchors the line and was recently tabbed as an honorable mention All-American by Sports Illustrated. Neill is adept at wreaking havoc in backfields with 9 sacks and 24 quarterback hurries. He has combined with Val Barnaby, at the other end spot, for 104 tackles. Barnaby leads the team in sacks with 10. On the interior are Ramel Meekins and Luis Rivas. Meekins, a junior, has 9 sacks.

At middle linebacker, Devraun Thompson has notched 85 stops, 2 sacks, and 1 interception. Flanking the junior are Quintero Frierson and Chenry Lewis. Frierson has 41 tackles while Lewis has 29. A pair of juniors come off the bench at linebacker, William Beckford and Kenny Gillespie. Both have a combined 10 tackles.

Courtney Greene has emerged as a solid player at safety this season as a freshman. Greene leads the team in tackles with 104. Sophomore Ron Girault has shored up the other safety spot and has 75 tackles to go along with his 3 interceptions. The two corner spots are manned by junior Derrick Roberson and senior Corey Barnes. Roberson has accrued 47 stops while Barnes has 32 and an interception. Two juniors see sometime in relief, Manny Collins and Joe Porter. Both have a combined 49 tackles and Porter has notched 7 pass break ups, best on the team.

SPECIAL TEAMS

P Joe Radigan (Jr)
K Jeremy Ito (So)
PR/KR Willie Foster (Jr)

Placekicker Jeremy Ito is 16 of 23 in field goal attempts. His longest of the year came from 51 yards out. Joe Radigan is averaging 38 yards per punt. 15 of his 57 punts have been downed inside the 20 yard line. Both specialists have each had a kick blocked this season.

Junior receiver Willie Foster is a big play threat in the return game for the Scarlet Knights. Foster has scored twice this season on a punt and kick return. He's averaging just under 11 yards returning punts and about 23 yards on kick returns.

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