By Richard Kent
Updated: September 10, 2006
—Rutgers is ranked #29 according to the Sagarin ratings.Ray Rice is one of the leading rushers in the country and he isn’t even the school’s self designated Heisman trophy candidate.That would be Brian Leonard.Are the planets aligned correctly?Rutgers,once the doormat of college football is a legitimate contender for a New Year’s day bowl.That comes after a 21-16 win over North Carolina and a 33-0 massacre of Illinois at home before over 43,000 fans.
Most of the above accomplisments are a direct results of Rice’s very strong performances.He rushed for 201 yards on 31 carries against North Carolina and 108 yards on 23 carries against Illinois.He now has rushed for over 100 yards 4 straight times for the Scarlet Knights, 3 short of the school record held by JJ Jennings.He has averaged 6.0 yards per game in that impressive streak.
The sophomore from New Rochelle New York almost went to Syracuse but they changed coaches and he opted for Rutgers instead.He is glad that he did.So are the Scarlet Knights.He is not about himself either.He is all about team and getting to another bowl game.He said after the game that “We approach every game like it is our first.”Never used the word I.
Rutgers does not have the most difficult schedule in the world and should go 4-0 quite easily.That would bring up a key road contest at South Florida.A win should put them in the top 25 and if the can split with Louisville and West Virginia they can be in the top 15.That would be quite a jump for a program that was in the bottom ten as recently as 2 years ago.The fan base knows that and comes out in droves for games.
Rutgers plays its home games in Piscataway New Jersey and is coached by former Miami assistant Greg Schiano.It played the first college football game ever against Princeton, a 6-4 win.Princeton won’t play Rutgers anymore.For good reason.