Rutgers Football Team Report

With success comes attention. With attention come rumor and innuendo. And such is the new situation over in Piscataway, New Jersey, where the Scarlet Knights find themselves in uncharted territory.

Greg Schiano has that to deal with as Rutgers is off to its first 3-0 start since 1981 and looks for its first 4-0 beginning since 1980. His team has become a real player in the Big East. With Miami (Fla.) off to a 1-2 start, there are rumblings Schiano could return to the Hurricanes to replace Larry Coker if Coker doesn't survive his latest siege.

Schiano would rather deal with his own team.

"I really don't listen to that stuff," he says. "I tell our football team all the time: handle the things you have control over."

Clearly, though, as Rutgers keeps winning -- and few expect much of a fight from I-AA Howard this week -- there will be more and more talk that the former defensive coordinator of the Hurricanes will be back to save the school next season.

The Scarlet Knights, who have given up only seven points in the past two weeks, have Howard this week and then travel to South Florida with the chance to go to 5-0 for the first time since the 11-0 1976 season.

While the defense has been great, the special teams have done their job and running back Ray Rice has been as good as anyone in the country, Rutgers still has a quarterback situation to deal with. Mike Teel was 6-for-16 for 83 yards with three interceptions in last week's win over Ohio.

"I know Michael. He's a tough sucker and he will battle through this and be ready to play on Saturday," Schiano said.

Notes and Quotes
SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: Ray Rice has forged his way into at least a little Heisman consideration with his play the first three weeks, but Rutgers has to be concerned with quarterback Mike Teel. RU coach Greg Schiano is openly confident Teel will be there when all is said and done but wants him contributing soon.

SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: The Knights made the plays needed to win at North Carolina and have been lights out in the past two games. They held Ohio to minus-6 yards rushing and 119 yards of total offense while forcing four turnovers last week.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I want it better. I've seen it better. I know it can be done. I'd be concerned if I hadn't seen it better. We just need to tighten that up, close the loop a little bit on that and try to get it to be more efficient." -- Rutgers coach Greg Schiano on the shaky play of quarterback Mike Teel.

Strategy and Personnel
THIS WEEK'S GAME: Howard at Rutgers, Sept. 23 - When you're 3-0 and looking for the program's first 4-0 start since 1980, this is a great time to have a Division I-AA team coming to Piscataway. Look for Rutgers to cruise in this one and head to South Florida still perfect.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: RB Raymell Rice - He's gained 499 yards and scored six touchdowns already this year. He is the fifth RU running back with five straight 100-yard games (the school record is seven) and he has eight 100-yarders in 15 college games, and his coach won't rule him out of the Heisman race. "If Ray continues to do what he's doing, certainly," Greg Schiano said. "It's all about production and he's definitely producing." Rice made the Big East's weekly honor roll this week.

QB Mike Teel - His coach remains confident Teel will come out of his slump, but he was 6-for-16 for 83 yards with three interceptions in last week's win over Ohio. For the year, his percentage is fine at 34-for-60, but he's thrown for just 373 yards and has one TD to go with four interceptions.

LB Davraun Thompson - His two sacks led the defense against Ohio and earned Thompson a spot on the Big East's weekly honor roll.

ROSTER REPORT: The Scarlet Knights are healthy.

Schiano wants to get fullback Brian Leonard more involved in the offense. Defenses have been keying on the All-America candidate and he's been quiet. "We'll find some ways to get the ball in his hands," Schiano said.

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