Rutgers Football Team Report

Back in 1973, when the New York Mets were trying to charge from last place and win the National League East, reliever Tug McGraw coined the phrase "Ya Gotta Believe!" Don't look now, but it's time to believe in Rutgers. Yep, the Scarlet Knights are still undefeated. They're 7-0 (2-0 Big East) after Saturday's 20-10 win at Pittsburgh. They're No. 16 in the country in the newest AP poll. No.

Rutgers, one of the three Big East undefeateds -- it just doesn't sound right, but it's happening.

If the Knights can dispose of struggling Connecticut in Piscataway on Saturday, they will be home against No. 6 Louisville on Thursday, Nov. 9, in what should be a very special event.

"Everyone says this was a big test," star running back Ray Rice said after running all over Pitt on Saturday. "But we passed it. So I guess the next one will be a big test. But I think more people outside of this locker room are starting to believe now."

Rice is a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate -- at least you'd think he'd be. "Why wouldn't he be?" said running back Brian Leonard. "But we're still Rutgers. Nobody picked us to win this game, either. If (this) doesn't (make Rice a candidate), I don't know what everybody is thinking. He definitely should be."

Saturday, Rice ran for a career-high 225 yards and a touchdown on 39 carries, and his 63-yard run late in the game iced the game.

Notes and Quotes
GAME BALL GOES TO: RB Ray Rice -- All he did Saturday was run for a career-high 225 yards and a touchdown on 39 carries, giving him 1,124 yards for the season. Late in the game, his career-best 63-yard run assured the victory.

KEEP AN EYE ON: QB Mike Teel -- After his big three-TD game from the previous week, he was quietly efficient Saturday, going 10-for-18 for 72 yards and a touchdown in the win over Pitt.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It feels good. It puts us in position to keep moving forward." -- Rutgers coach Greg Schiano after his team moved to 7-0 Saturday.

Strategy and Personnel
LOOKING GOOD: The Rutgers defense -- The Knights' D came in as the top defense in the country and they limited Pitt quarterback Tyler Palko, who came in on a hot streak. Palko was 16-for-26 for 169 yards, nowhere close to what he'd been the previous four games. They also sacked him five times. "Relentless, that's what our defense was," said defensive tackle Eric Foster. "We knew we had to be with Palko."

RB Ray Rice -- If he's not a Heisman candidate, he should be. He ran for a career-best 225 yards and a touchdown on 39 carries in Saturday's 20-10 win at Pittsburgh.

FB Brian Leonard -- He broke the Big East record with a reception for a 41st straight game and also tied the Rutgers all-time reception record with 192.

TE Clark Harris -- He caught a pass for a 37th straight game, tied for the third-longest streak in Big East history.

PK Jeremy Ito -- His two field goals gave him 45 for his career, one shy of the school record.

STILL NEEDS WORK: The Knights want to see consistency from QB Mike Teel, who had a strong game two weeks ago and was solid enough Saturday. That's about it -- things are clicking on all cylinders with this team.

ROSTER REPORT: No injuries were reported.

Freshman WR Kenny Britt made his first career start.

Leonard is a semifinalist for 2006 Draddy Trophy, awarded to a senior for academic success, football performance and community leadership. He's also a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete Award.


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