Kitchen has been a game changer in '08

Battling through multiple injuries, there were questions whether Zaire Kitchen would ever play again. He's not only playing this season, he's found a way to leave a mark in the past four games.

"Zaire's had a great season in terms of what he's done in making plays in our nickel package and our special teams package," head coach Greg Schiano said. "He's a great story; this guy's had three knee operations and just works incredibly hard to come back form all three and doesn't complain. He's a great example for our young players in how to deal with adversity.

"He's got an amazing perseverance to go through what he's gone through to still be here," "He loves the game, loves his teammates and loves this program. That's a guy that I'm happy he's doing good here."

In the last four games, Kitchen has blocked a field goal and forced three fumbles—including his most recent against Army that Joe Lefeged recovered for a touchdown.

"I think it's a skill, but it's also being at the right spot at the right time," Kitchen said about forcing fumbles.

"It feels really good, I'm really humble," he said about having the opportunity to make big plays. "I thank God that I'm still able to play after going through a lot with all the surgeries and everything, but I'm real excited to play the game that I love."

The sack came against Syracuse and it was the first of his career. He was also able to force a fumble.

"Coach called a blitz and I just happened to be in there and the quarterback tucked it," he said about the play. "When I watched it on film, I saw my right hand hit the ball and the ball came flying out."

Rutgers will wrap up its regular season, and possibly a bowl bid, this Thursday against Louisville. Rutgers will look to win it's sixth straight game, and Kitchen said the reason for their resurgence is because they've stayed humble and continued to go after it.

"We just go out there and play," he said. "On defense, we just go out there and try and stop the run and limit the big plays. We continue to do our job and fix our mistakes."


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