Working Hard To Improve & End Strong

Rutgers is coming off a tough, hard fought 24-17 loss to WVU. The defense played especially well, holding the fast WVU offense to 333 yards, their lowest total of the season. While the stat is very impressive, fifth year senior defensive lineman Jamaal Westerman doesn't buy into it. Being the competitor he is, the only statistic he cares about is the final score, and the Knights came up short.

"Lowest total offense and all those numbers don't mean anything," he said. "The only thing on defense that matters is points allowed. We allowed too many points and they came out with the win."

When the defense needed to step up, they did just that. With WVU looking to milk the clock late in the fourth quarter, Westerman and linebacker Damaso Munoz teamed up to stop fifth year senior quarterback Pat White on a third-and-four. The offense stayed on the field and went for it, only to be stonewalled by defensive lineman George Johnson for a nine-yard loss and the turnover.

Westerman modestly said he didn't remember his play, but thought Johnson made a big play when it mattered most. He's disappointed with the end result of the game, but said the defense played as a cohesive unit.

"That was a good play," Westerman said about Johnson's play. "The whole defense played hard and played together. We just kept chopping. We didn't come out on top, but we just kept fighting."

After being prone to the big play, the defense has played a lot better since the North Carolina game. Westerman noticed this also. He said the guys are preparing more in the film room together.

"I think guys are doing more film study," he said. "You see guys here at 10:30 at night or 7:30 in morning just working hard in the film room. Everyone is trying to be better than the previous day, the previous week. That's what we keep doing-working hard with our training and working hard in practice."

Now Rutgers must move forward as they head to Cincinnati to take on a tough Bearcats team in another Big East road game. Westerman knows the defense will have their hands full.

"They're offensive line is big, they can move," he said. "They have good backs. Their quarterback, even though he's a freshman, is making plays and we have to treat him as a starter. They're a very hardnosed team."

Westerman was on the 2006 team when they were upset by the Bearcats. He's not going to let what happened there last time effect him.

"It's a different day, different year," he said. "You can't let the past effect the present. We just have to keep working hard this week."


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