Martinek Preparing for Senior Day

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Fullback Joe Martinek goes 1-on-1 with to discuss his thoughts on the approaching Senior Day and the added meaning of the Cincinnati game's significance to the bowl picture.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — From New Jersey high schools' all-time leading rusher to scout-team defensive back to Rutgers' leading rusher, it has been an interesting five years for Joe Martinek.

Now working as both a fullback and tailback for the Scarlet Knights, Martinek is set to play the last home game of his college career Saturday against Cincinnati.

Martinek said his focus remains on one step at a time, but he is aware and excited about the implications on the line against the Bearcats.

"I'm excited because Cincinnati is a really good team," Martinek said. "Their defense is playing very well when you put on the film. It's just another opportunity to go out, play a really good team and see what we're capable of."

After battling injuries during a trying 4-8 season as a junior, Martinek is happy to be in a meaningful game this late in the season.

"After going through last year, it helped fuel this team and myself," Martinek said. "After feeling how we felt last year, we don't want to feel the way we felt ever again. That pushed us harder this year."

Martinek's first season at Rutgers involved him working with the scout team as a defensive back and running back. After impressing so much, the coaching staff moved him to running back.

As a red-shirt freshman, Martinek emerged as a tough running back and came within 33 yards of 1,000 as a sophomore.

Martinek ran into trouble as a junior, trying to tough out an injury that limited his ability to make plays. He finished the year, not playing in two games, with 314 yards and four touchdowns.

"Everyone knows how tough that was for me being hurt," Martinek said. "I never even missed a practice in high school, so doing it in college was tough."

As a senior, Martinek moved to fullback to make use of his talents in a new offensive scheme.

Through 10 games, Martinek has the longest play from scrimmage — a 60-yard touchdown reception — and started every game.

"That honestly doesn't surprise me and it doesn't surprise my family," Martinek said on bouncing back. "They support me no matter what and know that I'll do whatever my job is the best I can. I feel like I've definitely surprised a lot of people. A lot have doubted me over these years and they still do, but I'm confident in myself and what I can do and I'm looking forward to doing it three more times for Rutgers. Whatever anyone says is not going to change that."

On a young offense, Martinek is one of the few seniors set to play in his last game on the offensive side. When asked about the meaning of Senior Day, Martinek said all that matters to him is beating Cincinnati.

"For it to be Senior Day, it hasn't really hit me yet," Martinek said. "I'm going about my business the same I have in the past for these last 10 games. The whole season, I've done my normal, Sunday , Monday, Tuesday, all week routine. I think after the game, I think it will start to hit me a little more.

"The one thing I'll remember is just playing in front of all of the students and the fans and my family. The atmosphere is always great to play in and I know I'll miss it."

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