Westerman Racking Up the Sacks

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – With the sacks building up, Jamaal Westerman will likely finish among Rutgers' leaders in that department.

Though Westerman added two more on Saturday, as the Scarlet Knights rallied for a 35-17 decision over Syracuse, he concentrates on victories.

"I don't know. It's great to get sacks, but it's better to get wins," he said. "All I care about is winning. My senior year, all I want to do is win and play hard and be the best this team can be."

On his second sack, Westerman mauled tailback Curtis Brinkley and then Orange quarterback Cameron Dantley. When asked to discuss the play, the senior defensive end couldn't.

"I can't even remember it," he said. "I remember the guys cheering. It's always good to see your guys cheering for you."

Furthermore, Westerman, who now has 22 for his career, deferred credit to the defensive unit.

"Really, it wasn't my sack," he said. "The defensive line, the linebackers, we all work hard together. Everybody has to be in the right space so the quarterback can't step up."

The constant pressure resulted in merely seven first downs for Syracuse (2-7, 1-4 Big East), five team sacks and lack of time to complete accurately.

The victory marked Rutgers' (4-5, 3-2 Big East) third straight win and kept faint bowl hopes alive, with a crucial conference game at South Florida next weekend.

"I don't have to talk to them about that stuff," Rutgers football head coach Greg Schiano said of the potential of a fourth straight bowl game. "When we were 1-5 we knew that was still a possibility. That's all that it is right now: a possibility. We don't have to talk about it. When you work as hard as they do year-round for something, what's the sense of focusing on that, because if you focus on that we probably won't get there?"

Westerman credited the hard work in practice for the defensive effort put forth Saturday, which limited Curtis Brinkley, who entered on a five game 100-yard streak, to an average of 3.2 yards (18-67).

"We always love the opportunity to go out there and play as a defense," he said. "These guys are my brothers. It's less about them; it's more about us. We're just preparing and trying to play hard in practice. All week we've been working. Today was the day to let it hang, let it fly, go out there and play."

TI'S BACK: Tiquan Underwood required nine games but finally found the end zone this season. Not once but twice.

He attributed the two receiving touchdowns (5 and 16 yards apiece) to quarterback Mike Teel.

"The success of our offense starts with Mike Teel," Underwood said of Teel, who finished 26-36 for 276 yards and three scores. "He always supports us and tells us to never let up and keep fighting. He is a great leader for this team."

KORDELL'S FIRST: Kordell Young found seams in the Orange defense en route to his first-ever 100-yard game. Behind a strong offensive line, the junior tailback displayed break-neck speed, cutbacks and even broke tackles ala former RU ball carrier Ray Rice.

When asked whether the 26 carries for 149 and a score showcased Young's breakout performance, Schiano responded, "There's without a doubt more (to come)."

JUMPIN JOE: The contagious Wildcat offense has seeped into Rutgers' playbook. Joe Martinek took the direct snap from center, carried it down the left sidelines for 45 yards and his second career rushing touchdown. On the ensuing kickoff, Martinek lined up with special teams, raced down the field and tackled the returner.

"He's a guy who doesn't really get worked up about stuff and we just felt he was the guy to do that," Schiano said of Martinek. "It's a way to get him involved."

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