Toler Readies for Familiar Foe

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Fifth-year senior Lewis Toler brings three games worth of experience against Eastern Michigan to the table when Rutgers takes the field Saturday at 1 p.m.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – When Eastern Michigan comes to High Point Solutions Stadium Saturday, Lewis Toler has a score to settle. Eastern Michigan ruined Toler's senior night at Western Michigan with a 29-23 victory in his final career game at Kalamazoo, Mich.

Toler graduated early and transferred to Rutgers for his final year. Toler earned a co-starting role at cornerback after a backup role in training camp and feels excited to get another shot at former rival EMU.

"It's definitely special to be able to compete against those guys once again," Toler said. "It was a rivalry. They beat us last year and that was the only time in my years that they beat us. I'm very happy to get another shot against them."

Eastern Michigan threw for 174 yards and two touchdowns behind quarterback Tyler Benz in the victory.

"I just know from experience that they're a physical, tough team," Toler said. "They like to run downhill and get after it. [Benz] is a good quarterback. He's got a nice arm and he makes adjustments and check downs."

Toler has eight career tackles in three starts against Eastern Michigan and will play his final game against the Eagles as a member of the Scarlet Knights.

Toler joined the Rutgers program during the summer after a coaching change at Western Michigan put former Scarlet Knight assistant P.J. Fleck in charge. Similarly to fifth-year transfer R.J. Dill in 2012, Toler began as a bench player and had to earn a spot with the starters.

Toler made his first career start at Rutgers Saturday against Norfolk State and could see the same role against Eastern Michigan – currently listed as a co-starter alongside Gareef Glashen.

"We'll make the final decision probably after the Thursday practice," Flood said. "Regardless of who starts the game, I feel like we have got two guys there that can start for us and both are going to play quite a bit."

Toler and the defense targeted better tackling after surrendering an un-Rutgers-like 52 points to Fresno State in the first week.

Shutting out FCS-level Norfolk State was a step in the right direction, Toler said.

"I feel like we're coming together as a defense more than anything," Toler said. "We've come together and we weren't as much together the game before. We're communicating better and guys are more confident out there. It's definitely great as the weeks go on. We're going to keep getting more improved."

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