Two of the hottest teams in the nation will square off on Dec 29 in the PapaJohns.com Bowl held in Birmingham, Al. NC State boasts a four game winning streak while Rutgers closed out the 2008 regular season with six consecutive victories. Pack Pride takes an in depth look at the Scarlet Knights as they head into their matchup with the Wolfpack.
Rutgers National Statistical Rankings
Rutgers last game from CollegeFootballNews.com:
Rutgers 63 ... Louisville 14
Mike Teel threw seven touchdown passes and Rutgers rolled for 671 yards of total offense in the blowout win. The Scarlet Knights got up 42-0 at halftime helped by a 35-point second quarter highlighted by Tim Brown touchdowns from 74 and 37 yards out. A 23-yard Dennis Campbell touchdown catch with 18 seconds to play capped a half with six Teel touchdown throws and a 31-yard Kenny Britt scoring run. Louisville started the scoring in the second half with a one-yard Brock Bolen run, but Britt answered with a 44-yard touchdown catch. Rutgers averaged 11.4 yards per play; Louisville averaged 4.9 yards per play.
Player of the game: Rutgers QB Mike Teel completed 21-of-26 passes for 447 yards and seven touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Louisville - Passing: Hunter Cantwell, 24-34, 270 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Brock Bolen, 12-33, 1 TD. Receiving: Doug Beaumont, 8-97
Rutgers - Passing: Mike Teel, 21-26, 447 yds, 7 TD
Rushing: Jourdan Brooks, 11-124, 1 TD. Receiving: Tiquan Underwood, 5-88, 2 TD
What does it all mean? ... Talk about your turnarounds. With an emphatic blowout, Rutgers closed out the regular season with it fifth straight win in an utter destruction of Louisville. Mike Teel went from being a goat and unable to get the offense moving in the clutch, to the possible All-Big East passer after a flawless performance against the Cardinals. Give the coaching staff credit for settling everyone down and for righting the ship on what was turning into an ugly season. This might not have been the Rutgers of past seasons, the defense wasn't quite as good and there wasn't the same running game without Ray Rice, but overall, this might have been Greg Schiano's best job yet.
For the first time in school history, Rutgers (7-5, 5-2BIG EAST) will play in a bowl game for the fourth consecutive season as the Scarlet Knights officially accepted an invitation to the PapaJohns.com Bowl. The Scarlet Knights will face NC State (6-6, 4-4) of the Atlantic Coast Conference Monday, December 29 at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. with live television coverage on ESPN. Rutgers looks to extend the longest current winning streak in the BIG EAST and the sixth-longest streak in the nation to seven games with a victory in the Papa-Johns.com Bowl.
Looking for Third Straight Bowl Win
Rutgers will attempt to win three consecutive bowls with a victory in the PapaJohns.com Bowl. The Scarlet Knights defeated Ball State 52-30 in the 2008 International Bowl and stopped Kansas State 37-10 in the 2006 Texas Bowl.
First Meeting vs. the Wolfpack
Rutgers and NC State will play on the gridiron for the first time in the 2008 PapaJohns.com Bowl at Legion Field in Birmingham.Rutgers and NC State have two common opponents this year -USF and North Carolina. Rutgers went 1-1 vs. USF and North Carolina - defeating the Bulls 49-16 in Tampa on Nov. 15 and losing at home to the Tar Heels, 44-12.
NC State also went 1-1 vs. the two teams. The Wolfpack lost 41-10 to the Bulls in Raleigh on Sept. 27 and defeated UNC 41-10 in Chapel Hill on Nov. 22. The Scarlet Knights are 1-1 when facing an opponent for the first time in postseason play. Rutgers dropped a 34-18 contest in its first meeting against Arizona State at the 1978 Garden State Bowl, but defeated Kansas State 37-10 in its first-ever matchup in the Texas Bowl.
Thanks for the Memories
The 2008 senior class (LS Jeremy Branch, TE Kevin Brock, OL Mike Gilmartin, FS Courtney Greene, DB Glen Lee, LB Kevin Malast, CB Jason McCourty, TE Craig McGovern, John Nicola, DB Mark Orosz, LB Chris Quaye, DT Kevin Small, DB Davon Smart, QB Mike Teel, LB Brian Tracey, DT Pete Tverdov, WR Tiquan Underwood, DE JamaalWesterman) is tied for the fifth-most victories for a senior class in school history. The 18 seniors are the first class in school history to play in a bowl game in four consecutive seasons.
Best Four-Year Run in BIG EAST Play
The 2008 senior class for Rutgers is 17-11 in BIG EAST play over the last four seasons. The 17 wins are the most over a four-year span in Rutgers’ BIG EAST history. This year’s winning record in the league marks the fourth time since joining the BIG EAST in 1991 that Rutgers finished with a winning record. Head coach Greg Schiano has guided three of the squads with winning records in league play - 2005 (4-3), 2006 (5-2) and 2008 (5-2).
Looking to Extend 30-Point Streak
Rutgers can set a new school record for consecutive 30-point games in a season in the PapaJohns.com Bowl vs. NC State. The Scarlet Knights have scored 30 or more points in five straight games to equal the school record set by the 1975 squad. The Scarlet Knights have scored 231 points in the last five games, the most points ever scored by a Rutgers team in five consecutive games. Since the start of the 2006 season, Rutgers is 18-2 when scoring 30 points or more in a game.
With the win over Army on Nov. 22, Rutgers finished the month of November undefeated (3-0) for the first time under head coach Greg Schiano. The best record for the Scarlet Knights in November during Schiano’s tenure was 2-1 in 2006. In 2008, the Scarlet Knights averaged 38 points per game during the month of November and outscored the opposition 114-36.
Takeaways Key to Victory
In Rutgers’ seven wins this season, the Scarlet Knights forced 17 turnovers (7 interceptions, 10 fumble recoveries). In stark contrast, Rutgers did not record a takeaway in its five losses in 2008.
Rutgers has scored 201 points in its last four BIG EAST games, the most by a Scarlet Knight team over a four-game stretch in BIG EAST play. The Scarlet Knights posted 54 points in a 54-34 victory at Pittsburgh and one week later tallied 35 in a 35-17 triumph over Syracuse. In the USF victory, RU had 49 points. Last time out, RU scored the most points in any conference game in school history in a 63-14 rout of Louisville. In Rutgers’ 54-34 victory at No. 17 Pittsburgh on Oct. 25, the Scarlet Knights secured their first road victory over a ranked team since Sept. 24, 1988 at No. 15/13 Penn State (21-16 win). The 54 points scored were the most points scored against a nationally-ranked opponent on the road in Rutgers’ history.
1,000 for KB
Kenny Britt is the first player in Rutgers history to record two consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons. Britt set the school record for single-season receiving yards in 2007 with 1,232 yards. In 2008, he broke his own school record with 1,252 yards receiving in just 11 games. Britt has also tied the school record for single-season receptions with 81 in 2008.
Inside the Numbers
During Rutgers’ current six-game winning streak, the Scarlet Knights have outscored the opposition 243-94 and are averaging 472 total yards of offense per game and 40.5 points per contest. Here are some other notes during the streak:
-Rutgers is 19-of-25 in the red zone (76%) while limiting the opposition to just 9-of-17 in the red zone (53%)
- Rutgers has 18 sacks
- Rutgers has outscored the opposition 103-27 in the second quarter
- Rutgers is converting 54% of third-down conversions while the opponent has been held to a 32% conversion rate on third downs
- Rutgers has been penalized just 45.5 yards per game
- Rutgers is averaging 327.5 passing yards per game and 144.5 rushing yards
- Mike Teel is averaging 321.5 passing yards per game and has completed 68% of his passes, including 20 touchdown passes
Sack the Quarterback
Rutgers sacked Syracuse’s quarterbacks a season-high five times in the 35-17 victory over the Orange. After totaling just three sacks through the first three games of the season, Rutgers has posted 24 sacks over the last nine games.
Rutgers limitedMorgan State to 109 yards of total offense on Sept. 27, the fewest yards ever allowed by a Rutgers squad under Greg Schiano. The Scarlet Knights limited the Bears to eight first downs and 32 yards rushing in the 38-0 victory. Rutgers yielded just 168 yards in the win over Syracuse on Nov. 8. The 168 yards allowed was the ninth-lowest showing under Schiano. It marked the second-lowest total vs. a BIG EAST opponent during Schiano’s tenure for the Scarlet Knights. Syracuse totaled 82 yards on one play – Doug Hogue’s touchdown – in the first quarter.
Slowing Down the Nation’s Best
The Rutgers defense held the nation’s leading rusher in Connecticut’s Donald Brown to 107 rushing yards on 27 attempts, including just seven yards in the second half on Oct. 18. It was his lowest output of the season by 39 yards and was 70.8 yards below his per game average.
The game vs. UConn also marked the second time in 2008 Rutgers played against the nation’s leading rusher. On Sept. 20 at Navy, the Scarlet Knights faced that week’s national leading rusher in Shun White of Navy, who was held to 85 yards.
D’Imperio Manning the Middle
JuniorMLB Ryan D’Imperio, a second-team All-BIG EAST selection, has manned the middle of the Rutgers’ defense in 2008 and has been one of the team’s top defenders. He is fifth in the BIG EAST with 7.3 tackles per game. D’Imperio recorded 11 tackles in the 12-10 victory over Connecticut on Oct. 18 and was named the BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts. On the season, D’Imperio is second on the team with 88 tackles. He recorded a career-high three sacks in the win at USF Nov. 15.
Airing it Out
Senior QB Mike Teel set a school record with 20 touchdown passes in 2007. He also finished second in single-season school history with 3,147 yards passing. In 2008, Teel broke his own school record for touchdown passes with 23 through 12 games. He needs 49 yards passing in the PapaJohns.com Bowl to establish a new single-season record at RU. Teel is the second player in Rutgers history with three consecutive 300-yard passing games. Ryan Hart (2002-05) holds the school record for consecutive 300-yard passing games with seven during the 2004 season. Teel is second in Rutgers history with nine, 300-yard passing games. He threw for a school-record 447 yards and seven touchdowns in the win over Louisville en route to BIG EAST Player of the Week honors. The senior from Oakland, N.J. is 28-13 as Rutgers’ starting quarterback. He has started 38 consecutive games under center.