Putting Last Year Behind Them

The practice week has just begun and the players are already tired of talking about it. The media continues to point to last year's game against Cincinnati and how the Bearcats dominated Rutgers, after the Scarlet Knights had reached the top ten following a huge home victory over Louisville.

For the RU players, it is time to move and look forward to this year's match up and not be concerned about what happened last year.

"It definitely gets old," Rutgers running back Ray Rice said. "Last year is last year. They are a different team and we are a different team. You have all off-season to remember that, but once you start playing games again, with a different team, everything gets a little different."

The questions about last year's game have been magnified by the loss over the weekend to Maryland. Media members have reminded the players that they don't want to lose two games in a row, lose to the same opponent twice in two years, and that they do not want to lose the first game of Big East play.

Rutgers players remain focused on the task at hand and work to get better everyday, while taking lessons from the lumps along the way.

"It is tough to win ballgames," defensive tackle Eric Foster said. "We are used to winning around here, but it is very tough to win college football division one games."

On the positive side, the Scarlet Knights still can aim for winning the Big East title and perhaps play in a BCS Bowl game at the end of the season. For that to happen, Rutgers must begin to focus on each opponent as they come and the first team on the schedule is an undefeated Cincinnati team.

"I think we need to go out there and play our best football," Rice said. "As much as you say Cincinnati, we have to come out there and play our best game. I think that will be critical for us this week."

Cincinnati is ranked in the top ten nationwide in scoring offense and defense and ranks first in takeaways. However, the five teams the Bearcats have beat have combined to win seven games on the season.

Cincinnati Head Coach Brian Kelly stated in his media conference call yesterday that this game is the first true test for the Bearcats on the season. On the other hand, RU Head Coach Greg Schiano said that Cincinnati was "the hottest team in college football."

The Bearcats will pose some challenges to Rutgers on both sides of the ball and because Coach Kelly took over at the end of last season, Coach Schiano will not be able to take a lot from last year's game and apply it this week.

"Their offense is completely different," Coach Schiano said. "Their defense is a little bit different toothis offense is as close to a run and shoot as you will find these days."

Injuries remain a question mark for Rutgers. Safety Ron Girault hurt his leg during the Maryland game - the severity of his injury was obvious during the on-the-field timeout but the Senior's status for the game still remains unknown. Defensive tackle Eric Foster was also dinged up last weekend. It appears that Foster is more likely to go than Girault and if Girault can't go, junior Glen Lee will start in his place.

"He might, I am not sure," Coach Schiano said. "I think he will do fine. If he has to, he will do fine."

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