Rutgers Football Team Report

There was a time when playing at home was no big deal for Rutgers. Heck, there was a time -- and not that long ago -- when playing anywhere was no big deal for Rutgers. All that's changed. The Scarlet Knights, who haven't played at home since Sept. 23, are now ranked No. 16 in the country. They're 7-0, and they look to win their eighth straight when struggling Connecticut comes to Piscataway ...

... on Sunday night. Sunday night. A big event.

"Our fans have been waiting to have a home game," Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said. "It's a little unusual, we're playing on a Sunday night, but I don't think that's going to much matter. I think it's going to be a pretty exciting place."

That's because Piscataway is an exciting place to be these days. The one-time home of the New Jersey Nets has actually become a football paradise because of this team, which just keeps winning.

Last week, the Knights went into Pittsburgh and beat a decent Pitt team 20-10. They still have to play league powers Louisville (home) and West Virginia (away), so the schedule is tough. This week shouldn't be all that rough, with Rutgers' Heisman candidate Ray Rice running against the 109th (of 119) rushing defense in the country.

Schiano comes in 1-3 against UConn's Randy Edsall in their head-to-head meetings. Look for that to change Sunday night, as Rutgers comes in as a heavy favorite.

Notes and Quotes
SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: Running back Ray Rice had his third 200-yard game of the season last week, going over the 1,000-yard mark in the win at Pittsburgh. He should run wild again this week, as Rutgers faces the 109th-ranked rushing defense in the country. Mike Teel wasn't as good last week at quarterback as he was the week before, but he wasn't bad either.

SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: Check out the numbers -- the Scarlet Knights are No. 2 in total defense, No. 3 in scoring defense (8.57 points per game), No. 7 in pass defense, No. 8 in pass efficiency defense and No. 12 in rushing defense. Where is UConn and its No. 66 total offense supposed to go?

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think it's going to be a great atmosphere. We can't wait to play in our own stadium in front of our fans again. We're looking forward to seeing them as much as they're looking forward to seeing us. It's going to be fun." -- Rutgers running back Ray Rice, looking ahead to his team's first home game since Sept. 23, against UConn on Sunday night.

Strategy and Personnel
THIS WEEK'S GAME: Connecticut at Rutgers, Oct. 29 - The Scarlet Knights are No. 16 in the country now and looking for more. Rutgers coach Greg Schiano is just 1-3 against Randy Edsall and UConn, but that should all change Sunday, with the Scarlet Knights huge favorites.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: RB Ray Rice - the Big East offensive player of the week for the third time this season, Rice romped for 225 yards and a touchdown at Pitt last week as he went over the 1,000-yard mark for the second time in his career. The Knights are putting out Rice notebooks this week, pumping his surge into the Heisman Trophy race.

QB Mike Teel - He had a big game two weeks ago and was OK last week, but Teel is now 9-1 as a starter in college (not bad after a 23-0 high school run).

P Joe Radigan - Big East weekly honor roll mention for the leg that dropped three of its five punts inside the Pitt 20 while averaging 45 yards a boot last week.

FB Brian Leonard - He broke the Big East record with a reception for a 41st consecutive 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.

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