Former Player Perspective:Mike Belh - UNC

As a feature, SOR has asked a number of former players to provide their written commentary on each of the Rutgers games. This commentary is meant to give the readers of SOR a view of the game from a former player's perspective. This week's perspective is from former Rutgers standout Mike Belh.

My name is Michael Belh; I played defensive line for Rutgers from 1995 to 1999. Currently, I am a History teacher at Glassboro High School in South Jersey. Since my time on the Banks, I completed my Masters in Special Education along with some time spent coaching football, track and wrestling. One of my proudest coaching accomplishments was my tenure as the head coach of the Glassboro girls track team. This was a position I held until this past year when I retired after winning 2 championships in 3 years and having 6 individual state champions. But I am staying busy as I am in the beginning phases of training for Triathlons starting in the spring of 2009.

This game was in no doubt a tough one to call as a former Rutgers player. I thought coming in we would need to do three things 1- convert on 3rd downs 2- make turnovers and 3- have big plays in the special teams to have a chance of winning. The size of both defensive and offensive lines for North Carolina was going to be an issue if we did not do those 3 things as I have stated. I was predicting a close game, won that Rutgers would win and use as a springboard for the rest of the season. As you should know as a football fan, teams make the biggest jumps in improvement from week 1 to week 2.

From the start of the game I thought that something was missing at Rutgers Stadium, something in the air wasn't there. Not sure if it was the teams emotion or the lack of crowd support. It wasn't your normal atmosphere "On The Banks of The Old Raritan". Rutgers goes up 3-0 on San San Te's first career field goal and Carolina bounces back to tie up the score then it seemed like nothing could go right. We couldn't convert on third downs and it seemed we gave up big play after big play on defense. With Ron Girault being the only one graduating from last year's secondary we seemed lost out there. I'm not sure what the reason is but too many big plays all night long. At the half the score is North Carolina 17 Rutgers 6. Six quarters this season, only 1 Rutgers touchdown?

The second half began and it seemed when Rutgers came out we were not in the game at all emotionally. I sensed that NC could smell blood and was looking to put the final nails in the coffin. Within the next 15 minutes the Score was now North Carolina 38 Rutgers 6. The 3 things I thought we needed to do, we really couldn't get anything done, we ended the game 0-9 on 3rd down conversions, no big plays on special teams and we have yet in 2 games of football to cause any turnovers being outnumbered 6-0 in the turnover ratio. With Navy looming next week and with what happened down there in 2004(a Navy blowout win) we need a HUGE turnaround facing the triple option this week.

Prediction for the rest of the season: I think that we bounce back these next 2 games and get to 2-2. From there I think we go 6-2 in the final 8 games and win the Big East finishing at 8-4 (5-2 in Big East) I am telling you they will find a way to win! We need to circle the wagons!! KEEP CHOPPING!

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