Teel Tearing It Up

The life of a quarterback on any team can be summed up as the guy that takes the blame when the team does poorly, but can also become a star when his team succeeds. Rutgers may have a star in the making in Mike Teel. Since Teel has taken over the starting job for Rutgers at the beginning of last season, the Scarlet Knights are 13-2.

Mike Teel has stood out in the first three games of the season, racking up 863 passing yards with a 67 percent completion percentage. Perhaps most impressive is Teel's eight to one touchdown to interception ratio. Last season, Teel threw 13 picks to 12 scores, which is not the kind of ratio a quarterback wants, but this season has seen the Junior signal-caller improve significantly upon that mark.

However, stats do not always tell the whole story. The only interception that Teel threw this season was the first one Teel had thrown in 266 pass attempts, a streak that dated back to the game against Cincinnati last season, when Teel got picked off four times. The Bearcats handed Rutgers a defeat for the first time all season by the score of 30-11. Teel looks back to this game as a turning point in his career at Rutgers.

"I don't like to talk about what happened last year, but we just went out and got whooped at Cincinnati," Teel said. "We didn't play well and the players ourselves were not ready to play. They (Cincinnati) came out and played a better football game then us. "Then after that, it's just something that clicks. When you have a group of guys with a common goal, we're just going to work and work and work no matter what happens. Really it just all came together."

Teel has played well since that game against Cincinnati, losing only once to West Virginia in triple overtime. His high level of play has begun to grab the attention of regional media members.

It was Teel's teammates that knew he had it in him. Following the first game of the season when RU wide out Tiquan Underwood set a school record with 248 receiving yards against Buffalo, Underwood unprovoked praised Teel.

"We know what Mike Teel can do, he is a great quarterback and he is going to lead us to the promised land," Underwood said.

Teel has the complete backing of his teammates. It is not unusual to hear players screaming out Teel's name right after practice. His receivers often mention how well he plays when speaking about their own play.

Despite his solid play so far this season, Teel will not allow himself to get away from the overall picture. The philosophy begins with Head Coach Greg Schiano to his captains all the way down to the freshman. The focus this week in practice has been all about Maryland and will move on to Cincinnati next week.

"We need to continue to take it one practice at a time, one game at a time," Teel said.

"We can't get ahead of ourselves and to think about next week or the week after that."

The development of the program to becoming a top tier team and the arrival of Teel come almost hand and hand. The mistakes are fewer and farther in between, but the work still goes in as hard as ever to correct any issues.

"We are at the point in this program where we can learn from our own mistakes," Teel said. "You don't have to look outside like we had to a couple of years ago."

Scarlet Report Top Stories