Senior Day Approaches

This Saturday will mark the final home game for many Rutgers Football (6-4, 2-3) players when they host Pittsburgh (4-5, 2-2). This senior class has totaled 28 wins to this point, which ranks ninth all-time among senior classes in Scarlet Knights history.

These seniors will potentially go to their third straight bowl appearance as Rutgers became bowl-eligible following its 41-6 win last Saturday. With the recent success, Rutgers Stadium has now sold out for every home game and the culture of the program including the on-campus buzz missing for so long at RU, has indeed been changed "On the Banks."

"That was one of the reasons I came here to be the start of something special," RU offensive lineman Jeremy Zuttah said. "Coach (Schiano) is doing a great job and he is going to continue to do a great job. I was glad to be apart of the start."

Along with the seniors, this could be the final home game for RU running back Ray Rice who has the option to declare for the NFL Draft this spring. Rice could be a high draft pick and Rutgers Head Coach Greg Schiano said during his press conference on Monday that he has already begun to do some research to help Rice with his decision following the season. During the 2007 campaign Rice has rushed for 1500 yards and ranks third the nation with an average of 150 yards per game.

Whether or not Rice will be back is something to consider for the off-season as his focus remains on the task at hand. Nevertheless, Rice also reflected on what has transpired at RU during his time. For starters, he has noticed a striking difference between playing at Rutgers today as opposed to three years ago as a freshman.

"It's a lot different," Rice said. "It is something that the program has come a long way and it is going to continue to build."

Different players have had their own special moments to remember. Rutgers kicker Jeremy Ito will be remembered by Scarlet Knight fans for his game winning field goal kick that toppled #3 Louisville 28-25 last season, a game that put Rutgers on the college football map.

"Definitely after that game when everyone ran onto the field," Ito said. "I don't think there is any feeling like that. I don't know how many people were out here, but it felt like the whole thing was covered."

For some, like Zuttah, the culmination of their time at Rutgers was best exemplified by becoming a captain. It is a high honor to be considered a leader among your teammates and Zuttah couldn't be happier.

"There is a lot of talent on this team," Zuttah said. "A lot of leaders and for everyone to elect me captain it is pretty special."

Because Senior Day can tend to be an emotional one for players, the coaching staff wants to ensure that it gets the best of out its squad against Pittsburgh. Despite the fact that it is the final home game for a lot of players, it still is just another week and Rutgers is trying to finish the season on a strong note.

"I'm not going to get into too much other than to warn them to not let it become an emotional issue," Rutgers Head Coach Greg Schiano said. "You don't want your last game to be remembered as the game you played poorly. All these years that you've done well, keep doing what you have been doing."

On that note, Zuttah has not allowed himself to get too caught up in his final days as a Scarlet Knight and is focused on finishing out the season strong.

"We are always just focused on the next game," Zuttah said. "We don't try to make games about more then they are. It is another game here at Rutgers Stadium and we have to prepare the best we can or else we won't have a chance."


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