Rutgers Team Report

Oct. 15, Noon Kickoff -- Both teams are desperate for a win. Rutgers (3-2, 1-1) can get back in the Big East race with a win, while Syracuse (1-4, 0-2) needs a victory to salvage a season that is quickly spiraling out of control. Syracuse beat Rutgers, 41-31, last year.

Inside Slant

Senior Ryan Hart threw three touchdown passes and became Rutgers' all-time leading passer in a 37-29 victory over Pittsburgh on Sept. 30.

Two weeks later, as the Scarlet Knights prepare for Saturday's game at Syracuse, he's no longer battling for his starting job after a poor performance in a 27-14 loss last weekend to West Virginia.

Hart, who completed 9-of-16 passes for 66 yards and threw an interception against the Mountaineers, has been facing increasing competition from freshman Mike Teel, who saw extended action last week, going 9-for-16 for 106 yards with two interceptions.

Coach Greg Schiano, earlier this week, said he still hasn't figured out exactly how much time each QB will get Saturday when the Scarlet Knights (3-2, 1-1 Big East) travel to the Carrier Dome.

However, Rutgers will open up with Mike Teel at the helm.

Schiano added, "I'm not sure what the playing time situation will be," making it likely that Teel, who is 15-for-26 on the season for 197 yards, will continue to see significant time under center.

Hart, who went the first three games of the season without throwing an interception and has now tossed eight touchdowns and three interceptions, said he's not fazed.

"I'm going to prepare the same way I have for the past three years: to the best of my ability as if I'm the guy," Hart said. "I have all the confidence in the world in myself. I'm looking forward to playing football. I'm not going to get caught up in the discussion."

Notes and Quotes

SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: Regardless of who is under center should be weary of a Syracuse defense that has forced 12 turnovers in its first five games.

SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: Rutgers had trouble stopping West Virginia's running attack last week. The Mountaineers rushed for 236 yards and averaged 5.5 yards per carry. That's not a good sign going into a game against a Syracuse offense that features mobile QBs, Perry Patterson and Joe Fields, and a top-notch running back in Damien Rhodes.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Not at all. We're both competitive players and we both want to play as much as possible, but we're both out there trying to do whatever we can to help our team win." -- QB Mike Teel on whether talk of a QB controversy has damaged his relationship with starter Ryan Hart.

Strategy and Personnel

PLAYERS TO WATCH: QB Ryan Hart -- He's started more consecutive games (32) than anyone in school history, but that streak will end on Saturday. Hart has the highest QB rating of his career (91.4). How will the signal-caller react when/if called upon on Saturday? It may not matter if the Scarlet Knights lose their second-straight Big East game Saturday.

QB Mike Teel -- The freshman has shown flashes of potential. But Teel, who is completing 57.7 percent of his passes, needs to cut down on the mistakes. He's thrown three interceptions this season and zero TD passes. The lights will be squarely focused on Teel who has been proclaimed the future of Schiano's program.

FB Brian Leonard -- The heart and soul of the Rutgers offense continues to produce. He rushed for two touchdowns and 76 yards last week on 23 carries. Several busloads of his own personal fans are making the trip to the Dome to watch him play.

RB Raymell Rice -- The freshman will try to rebound after his first poor game of the season. He rushed four times last week for zero yards. Rice, along with Leonard, were both recruited by Syracuse and both selected to attend Rutgers instead.

P Joe Radigan -- Rutgers had a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown last week, but Radigan still managed to have a decent day, averaging 40.5 yards per kick.

ROSTER REPORT: LB Will Gilkison (groin) is expected to miss Saturday's game against Syracuse. OL William Vogt (shoulder) and LB Quintero Frierson (groin) are both questionable.

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