The Scarlet Knights held University of Connecticut tailback Donald Brown to a season-low 107 yards rushing, en route to a 12-10 win Saturday here at Rutgers Stadium.
The defensive effort certainly impressed head coach Greg Schiano.
"I thought our kids were relentless," Schiano said during his weekly press conference Monday at the Hale Center. "That was the key. They kept coming and coming and coming."
Brown ran for 7 yards after halftime, thanks to a stout defensive effort steered by middle linebacker Ryan D'Imperio.
The Big East named the junior Defensive Player of the Week for his game-high 11 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss.
Schiano considered D'Imperio's performance the best of his collegiate career.
"I think it was Ryan's best game," Schiano said. "As you guys know, Ryan was named defensive player of the week in the Big East and I think justifiably so. I don't know what anyone else did (in the league) but he had a great game."
Pittsburgh head coach Dave Wannstedt also admired Rutgers defense during his weekly press conference with local media.
"Well, I think they're playing as good as anyone in the conference right now," he said. "Defensively, Greg's coming up with good schemes, they're putting a lot of pressure on you, they're tackling well, they chasing the ball -- they're doing all the things that you have to do to play great defense. I'm very, very impressed."
Meanwhile, the Big East also named punter Teddy Dellaganna Special Teams Player of the Week. Not only did he average 41.7 yards on seven punts, but Dellaganna also dropped four punts inside the Huskies 20.
"Teddy was a huge part of that win and I emphasize huge," Schiano said. "He did a great job putting the ball down inside the 20, with starting spots at the 3 and the 2. You love for your punter and special teams to give you that chance."
After earning its first win over a Football Bowl Subdivision foe this season, Rutgers (2-5, 1-2) heads to No. 17 Pittsburgh (5-1, 2-0) for a Saturday afternoon showdown at Heinz Field.
The Scarlet Knights' defense, which leads the conference in tackles for loss per game (6.57), regroups for yet another dynamic running back.
"It's going to take that and more this week against Pitt," Schiano said. "They have a great back in (LeSean) McCoy and he's really got all of the things.
"He's got great elusiveness. He's got great vision, and when he breaks it, he's got breakaway speed. It's out of the frying pan into the fire, kind of."
One of the reporters asked Schiano to compare the attributes and styles of Brown and McCoy, who has rushed for 689 yards and 10 TDs on 135 carries thus far.
"I think McCoy is more elusive," Schiano said. He makes some cuts now. He's a bigger guy."
"He's a power runner as well as an elusive runner," Schiano said of McCoy. "He's the total package. McCoy is without a doubt, God willing if he stays healthy, he's going to play a lot of Sunday games. He's that good."
Wannstedt shared two words (among others) when he was asked to differentiate McCoy from other talented running backs in the conference.
Notes: Rutgers fans will not be able to watch the Pittsburgh game on TV. ESPN360.com is broadcasting the game online. The service is available at no extra charge to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection from an affiliated service provider.
Schiano briefly addressed the dilemma.
"Well, that's the way it is," he said. "I don't know if it's disappointing or not. I guess they can watch it on their computer. I'm not sure how that works. I've never done that."
Rutgers Turns To Preparation For Pitt
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