Cioffi Embraces Target as Freshman CB

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- True freshman cornerback Anthony Cioffi is in line for his second career start after struggles in the 49-14 loss to Houston. Preparing for the Temple offense with two more starters likely unavailable, Cioffi discussed his thoughts on the secondary.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – The target is something that Rutgers cornerback Anthony Cioffi got used to during his high school career at Springfield (N.J.) Dayton. Cioffi played quarterback and cornerback for Dayton, and as the only BCS football recruit in more than 30 years, the opposition went after him.

Cioffi did not expect the target to return this quickly into his college career, but the true freshman said he is ready for it going into his second start.

"I'm in a spot where I know people are going to come at me," Cioffi said. "I've accepted that. Now I have to react and produce."

After breaking into the rotation against Louisville and starting against Houston, Cioffi enters tomorrow's game as the top cornerback option for Rutgers.

"It doesn't matter for me if there's a target or if they completely ignore me," he said. "I'm just going to make plays. I like the pressure of ‘we have to make a play' or ‘we need that shot.' I'll do the best of my ability to come through in that clutch moment."

Cioffi and the rest of the Rutgers defensive secondary spent the week moving on from the 49-14 blowout against Houston. Rutgers is down two more starters – Nadir Barnwell and Lorenzo Waters – for Temple and does not have time to feel sorry for itself.

"It's going to be tough without them, but the next man has to step up," Cioffi said. "I have to step up. We can't be sorry and get distracted by ‘oh I wish that didn't happen.' Things happen. We have to move on from it and be ready for Temple."

Only eight miles separate the home towns of Cioffi and Temple quarterback P.J. Walker. The two never faced off in high school, but saw each other in camps and on visits.

Walker has 891 passing yards, nine touchdowns and three interceptions since taking over as a starter.

"I know a lot about P.J., and I'm excited to play against him," Cioffi said. "He's a great quarterback. I've heard a lot about him from friends of mine that played him. We have to finish. That's the main thing. We know where we need to be, just finish the play and execute."

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