It's Homecoming weekend, last year's Big East co-regular season champions are coming into Rutgers Stadium at 5-1, and the Scarlet Knights have lost five of six and are in desperate need of a win.
Junior wide receiver Kenny Britt knew what was at stake. He knew the passing game needed a spark and he had to do something about it.
After racking up 152 yards and 12 receptions against West Virginia, Britt came through, hauling in nine passes for 107 yards in the 12-10 win against the Huskies.
"This is just showing that we're going in the right direction," he said. "We're making the changes we have to make, and we're working harder as a team during practice. This shows the Big East that we're underrated regardless of what Rutgers had shown early on in the season."
Success against the Huskies isn't anything new for the former Bayonne High School standout, in their last meeting, he tallied 122 receiving yards in Storrs,Ct. With Saturday's performance, he's now passed Marco Battaglia for third all-time in school history in receiving yards, and is just six receptions away from tying Clark Harris, who's third all-time in that category.
"It's really just the game plan we had going into the week," Britt said about the increased amount of passes thrown his way. "Some of the plays that work, we'll run them more. Most of the plays that were working were coming to me so we just kept going back to them."
In the first half, Britt was the hot target catching five balls for 83 yards, including four balls for 56 yards in the first quarter. His biggest play of the quarter came on a third-and-seven from the RU 35. There, he connected with Mike Teel down the middle and broke a UCONN defender's tackle for 33 yards to set up a field goal.
"That's one thing I've been working on all week with coach [Kirk] Ciarrocca is catching the ball and going up field," he said. "I would have to catch the ball and run through a gauntlet. I'm a big receiver so when I get the ball down the middle, I'm not afraid to go there."
Britt broke off another huge gain in the second quarter and showed it would take more than a lean in of the shoulder to bring down his 6-foot-4, 215 pound frame. On a first-and-10 from RU's 28, Teel threw it to the junior receiver in-between the hash marks where he shook off the initial hit and took it 27 yards to the UCONN 45.
By the end of the third quarter, Britt had already posted his school leading
ninth 100-yard receiving game.
Being the tough receiver he is, Britt was in the middle of a foray of vicious hits on the field. From watching the game, it looked as if he took the same amount of blows a running back would take. He knows he'll be sore tomorrow, but a win always lessens the pain.
"I'm feeling half dead, half alive to tell you the truth," Britt said in the locker room with a smile. "But I'll be alright."