Two freshman quarterbacks will likely be in the staring lineup Saturday when Rutgers travels to Connecticut for an important Big East clash.
Rutgers (4-2, 2-1) will be led by redshirt freshman Mike Teel, who threw for 203 yards and two touchdowns last week in his first career start, an impressive 31-9 victory at Syracuse. On the other side of the ball, true frosh Dennis Brown will be making his first career start for Connecticut (4-2, 1-1). Brown is filling in for the injured D.J. Hernandez, who broke his left wrist in last week's loss at Cincinnati. Hernandez was making his first start for the Huskies in place of junior Matt Bonislawski, who broke his collarbone against Syracuse.
Rutgers coach Greg Schiano is trying not to get caught up in UConn's musical chairs act at QB.
"You don't want to overreact (to Brown starting at quarterback) because all you do is wind up screwing yourself up instead of playing good, solid fundamental football," Schiano said.
Rutgers will face an undermanned Connecticut team that's reeling from a slew of serious injuries. Connecticut will likely be without six starters, including four key players on defense, when they take the field in East Hartford.
Still, strong safety Ron Girault said he's preparing for Brown just like he would any other QB.
"We'll still prepare like we're getting ready to play a veteran quarterback who has started 20 games," he said. "I'm sure they have confidence in (Brown). That's why he's starting."
Notes and Quotes
SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: QB Mike Teel was solid in his first start at Rutgers, throwing for 203 yards and two touchdowns. He'll have another opportunity to put up impressive numbers this week against a UConn secondary that will likely be without two injured starters.
SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: The Scarlet Knights are coming off their best game of the season. Rutgers held Syracuse last week to 238 yards of total offense and forced five fumbles, one of which was returned for a touchdown. They'll try to keep the momentum going this week against a Connecticut team starting a true freshman at QB.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm not saying it doesn't matter because we have to change our thinking a little bit from a game-planning standpoint. You have to be ready for more actually, I think, because you don't know what to expect. So we definitely are aware of it." -- Coach Greg Schiano on preparing for new Connecticut starting QB Dennis Brown.
Strategy and Personnel
PLAYERS TO WATCH: QB Mike Teel -- Lost amid all of the positives of his first start last week was the fact Teel tossed two interceptions, bringing his season total to five in only 53 attempts. If he cuts down on the mistakes, he could be special.
QB Ryan Hart -- The senior spent last Saturday watching from the sidelines. But you get the feeling that given coach Greg Schiano's history of shuttling QBs in an out of the lineup, he's only one or two bad series away from regaining his spot in the huddle.
RB Raymell Rice -- The freshman led the Scarlet Knights last week with 82 yards on 17 carries. He's quietly getting better every week.
FB Brian Leonard -- He touched the ball 22 times last week, rushing 18 times for 34 yards and catching four passes for 66 yards.
CB Corey Barnes -- The senior led Rutgers resurgent defense last week by returning a blocked punt and a fumble for touchdowns.
ROSTER REPORT: Linebacker Will Gilkison (groin) is questionable for Saturday's game against Connecticut.