Sunday Notebook: Rutgers Rising in Polls

The 6-0 Rutgers Scarlet Knights soared to No. 19 in the weekly AP poll and are in good shape heading into the first BCS poll tonight. Rutgers became bowl eligible with its 23-15 victory yesterday over Syracuse. With a chance to review the tape, head coach Kyle Flood spoke with the media this morning to discuss the latest.

Rutgers coach Kyle Flood is the only 6-0 first-year coach in the country and the first to do it in Rutgers history. With a 23-15 victory over Syracuse yesterday, Rutgers is bowl eligible and gaining momentum in the national spotlight.

The best start since 2006 has the Scarlet Knights ranked as the No. 17 team in the country in the just released USA Today top 25 poll – also the highest since 2006.

"We don't really reflect on the halfway point," Flood said. "For us, we kind of did that after the first four games and then we'll take the temperature of everything, really, after the next four games. We've got two more remaining."

The Scarlet Knights checked in on the Associated Press Poll as No. 19 and project to earn a similar spot when the initial BCS poll comes out tonight.

"Those things can go as quickly as they come," Flood said. "… We're at the halfway point of the season and we've got a lot of football coming up. We've got an opponent coming up that's undefeated in conference play just like we are."

Greene's Big Game

Senior linebacker Khaseem Greene continues to receive recognition for his elite performance in the victory. The fifth-year senior captain forced a career high three fumbles to go along with 14 tackles and an interception.

Greene became the third player in school history to earn Walter Camp Player of the Week honors, joining Ray Rice and Ramel Meekins.

"I think people know how good Khaseem Greene is," Flood said.

Greene now has 314 career tackles, which put him in eighth place in school history in front of Tim Blanchard (1975-78). Keith Woetzel (1980-82) and Aaron Brady (1995-98) are the next two on the list with 323 and 354 respectively. Greene is nowhere near Tyrone Stowe's school record 533 tackles, but could climb as high as third where Brian Sheridan currently stands with 389.

"He's a spectacular player," Flood said. "I think what we saw was Khaseem with many opportunities to make plays and he made them and then he also created some. To have the kind of production that he has, that's a special day."

Jamison Stalled

Syracuse snapped the six-game streak for running back Jawan Jamison of 100 yards or more rushing. Falling two games short of Rice's school record, Jamison remains in good shape to be the first Rutgers back to 1,000 yards since Rice in 2007.

"The consistent thing that hampered us was Syracuse's defensive front seven," Flood said. "They've got excellent personnel and they do a really good job schematically and that always creates problems for us. When you look at it from our perspective, we had some breakdowns in different spots."

With seven games left on the schedule, Jamison has 665 rushing yards and 110.8 per game. Rutgers is bowl eligible, making Jamison on pace for 1,440 rushing yards

Nearly Penalty Free

Rutgers had by far its best performance in terms of limiting penalties. Averaging 10 per game going in, Rutgers had just four against Syracuse with one being an intentional delay of game.

"I'm pleased that there were only three penalties yesterday," Flood said. "Had the game not turned out the way we wanted it to, I'm not looking to have three penalties and lose a football game."

Offensive Play Calling

The Rutgers offense has not been big on points since the outburst against Arkansas, but Flood is pleased with the play calling by coordinator Dave Brock.

Quarterback Gary Nova has now gone four games and 153 pass attempts without a turnover and Rutgers won the time of possession battle against the Orange.

"I think every game is unique," Flood said. "I think when you get into the second half of a game, the clock, to a certain degree, dictates how you play the game, and we've been fortunate the last two weeks to be up by multiple scores. And that always affects how you play the game."

Attendance Drop

Rutgers drew a season-low 48,011 fans to the Syracuse game, but Flood said yesterday after the win that fan support played a role in the victory by flustering the Orange offensive attack.

"[I] can't say enough good things about our student section," Flood said in his post-game press conference. "I thought they did such a tremendous job. As you can see, three false starts by the other team, it makes a difference. It's what hopefully your home-field advantage should yield for you as you go forward during the season."


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