Former Player Perspective: Mike Belh - Navy

As a new feature, SOR has asked a number of former players to provide their written commentary on each of the Rutgers games. This commentary is meant to give the readers of SOR a view of the game from a former player's perspective. This week's perspective is from former DT Michael Belh, a former standout during the Shea years.

Well first of all, I’d like say congrats to the 6-0 Scarlet Knights. You can tell as the weather is changing seasons that this is going to be a special year. My name is Michael Belh and I played football at Rutgers from 1995-99 and graduated in December of 2000. I played defensive end until a knee injury forced me to play defensive tackle at 295 pounds. I currently am 210 pounds and in good shape. You may say wow!! 295, now 210: after 7 reconstructive surgeries you can feel why I lost the weight.

I came to Rutgers to do what the current team is now doing - Winning. My class fell short but this class is giving a pulse back to that dormant university on “The Banks” that we all love.

I have been teaching at Glassboro High School (Gary Brackett’s high school) in south jersey for 5 years now. I just received my Masters in Special education from Wilmington College, Delaware. I am an assistant football coach and head girls track and field coach.

Going to the Game

I left for Annapolis, Maryland at 9:00AM with my friend Todd Trowbridge from Glassboro, New Jersey. It took about 2 hours to get down there and we met up with Gary Brackett and headed to get our tickets and hang out in the alumni tent. After running into the some friends we hung out and enjoyed the atmosphere, which was really electric. There was a plethora of scarlet among the crowd. It is really different when you are not playing, I remember taking the bus into town with a police escort, getting pumped up before the game in the locker room. Now it is all outside the stadium before the game and that isn’t such a bad thing. Our fans are relentless!

First Half

Rutgers managed to shut down the Navy offense in the first half and take a 10-0 lead into the half on second quarter scoring by Jeremy Ito(30 yd FG) and Tiquan Underwood's 25 yard touchdown catch from Mike Teel. The defensive unit made play after play and the defensive line really made things tough in the first half led by Defensive Player of the Week(Walter Camp Foundation) Ramel Meekins. The Navy offense took a major blow when Brian Hampton went down with a broken leg in the first quarter. Navy never recovered after the Hampton injury. Navy consistently had 8 men in the box making it difficult at times to run. Mike Teel showed what all of the Scarlet Nation had been waiting to see, an up field passing game. Navy consistently left the middle of the field open and Teel took advantage of what they were giving the Knights. Mike Teel to Tiquan Underwood was one of the first major strikes. The RU fans in the stands sensed blood in the water and time after time we stuffed Navy and kept their offense off the field. I knew we would win the game Saturday but I’m not sure I thought so up only 10-0 at the half. Good Job Knights.

Second Half

We picked up the third quarter right where we left off in the second: Teel to Underwood for 9 yards then a Jeremy Ito 24 yard field goal to make it 20-0. Our defense was flying around the football field all day long. George Johnson (Glassboro) was one of the true freshman that made a couple of big hits on Navy ball carriers. After blinking and 2 Navy blocked punts it was 27-0. Mike Teel seemed to get everyone involved in the passing game. James Townsend(Iowa transfer) caught his first touchdown as a Scarlet Knight with a 30 yard laser from Mike Teel. Clark Harris led all receivers with 5 catches for 63 yards. Ray Rice’s streak of 100 yard rushing games came to an end but with 93 yards he is only a hundred yards away from his second straight 1,000 yard season. The Final: RU 34 Navy 0. I’m not sure how many times Navy has been shut down to 161 yards of total offense. That is right, total offense, for a team that averaged over 300 in rushing a game that says something for the RU Defense, they are for REAL.

Prediction for the rest of the season

We will take on Pittsburgh next Saturday at 5:30 on ESPN2. This will be the biggest game in Rutgers Football History. A week later we will take on UCONN on national television on a Sunday night game. We go 2-0 here and there is something very special lurking in the air. Can you say BCS game!!! November 9th against Louisville could be a game to vault Rutgers into the #1 slot in the Big East and vying for a Bowl Championship Series Game. The “BLOCK” will be filled with excitement from RU hopeful. Yes, you read that, and I said it. With Cincinnati and Syracuse to follow I see the Knights at 11-0. For Senior Day against Syracuse it will be a great day as we say goodbye to a lot of great leaders. The fans will bring lifesavers to the game and through them on the field to honor Brian Leonard. He has been one of our saviors and if you didn’t know, his hometown is the major producer of the candy “Lifesavors” Well, 11-0 means a showdown in Morgantown for the Big East Championship, you did know that the game is scheduled on championship weekend. All conference champions are crowned this day and our game will be no different. We go into Morgantown and pull the biggest upset in major college football this season. I will be there and I will be there in New Brunswick when we parade downtown and paint New Brunswick “SCARLET”

This is #94 Michael Belh signing off. Feel free to contact me at mbelh@comcast.net


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