Looking to Enjoy the Bowl Game

The International Bowl will mark the last game for some of the most prominent Scarlet Knights before they head off into the NFL or into the general workforce. However, the whole team will enjoy one last month together, including a visit to internationally renowned Toronto.

Most of the players on the team are excited about the chance to visit Toronto, as many of them have never been to Canada.

"I am kind of interested to see Toronto," RU linebacker Brandon Renkart said. "I heard it was a lively city and pretty interesting."

Rutgers has actually used Toronto as a recruiting base in the past, most notably defensive end Jamaal Westerman. Ironically, Westerman has not been to his home in Toronto very much since coming to Piscataway four years ago.

"You don't really get time to spend at home," Westerman said. "But there is a lot to do in Toronto and there are a lot of places to go. It is similar to New York with a lot of different ethnicities and different types of people."

A big theme among the players is that they are proud to be a part of Rutgers history by going to a bowl game three years in a row. The RU players feel that they were setting the standard for all the players following behind them.

Prior to 2005, when Rutgers went to the Insight Bowl, the last bowl game that the Scarlet Knights had been to was the now defunct, 1978 Garden State Bowl.

"It's a great feeling to be apart of something that you actually started," Foster said. "We know that this program is on the rise and it is going to continue to rise, although this season did not turn out the way we wanted, it definitely feels good to be a part of that and start something."

Despite the fact that there were high expectations for this year's Rutgers team, the players are trying to look at the positives as opposed to dwelling on the negatives.

"The season did not turn out quite like we wanted it to," Westerman said. "You can't regret going to a bowl game because it is a great reward for all the hard work you have put in."

The fans are the ones that keep the bowl system going. It is imperative that people go out and support their respective team. It is the sacrifice of those fans traveling across the country and going to these games that enables schools like Rutgers to play in Arizona, Texas, and this time around, Toronto.

"To travel the way they travel and be behind us through the thick and thin, just hats off to them," defensive tackle Eric Foster said. "That's why I play so hard, that's why the guys that I play with play so hard."

Spending time in different places is one of the thrills for college players and perhaps one of the defenses for why the bowl system works. The word that coaches and players use is reward.

"To be able to experience different cultures and different types of atmospheres, is something that a lot of people don't get the chance or the opportunity to do," RU quarterback Mike Teel said.

The Scarlet Knights are only one of 25 BCS conference schools to go to a bowl game three straight years in a row and ultimately, bowl games are a time for football teams to appreciate the accomplishments of the past season.

"I see bowl games as a reward for all the hard work that we have all put in, and we are going to prepare and be the best football team we can be on January 5th," Rutgers Head Coach Greg Schiano said. "But we're going to let the players, as we have the past two years, enjoy the experience."

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