Is It Over For The Scarlet Knights?

By Richard Kent
Updated: November 20, 2006

CONNECTICUT — Is it over for the Rutgers Scarlet Knights? Nope, it has just started. The Knights absorbed their worst and only loss of the season Saturday at Nippert Stadium, falling to Cincinnati 30-11. And it wasn’t even that close.

The Knights got chopped down in their own game. The Bearcats outhustled Rutgers, played with a lot more intensity and was not intimidated by playing the No. 7 ranked team in America.

So what happened?

Did Rutgers read too many of their own press clippings? Were they exposed as a not very good college football team? Did they choke? Was Cincinatti better? Probably a little bit of all of them but for the Scarlet Knights, the season is far from over.

They host Syracuse Saturday in a game that they should win against the worst team in the Big East. They then travel to Morgantown for a showdown game against the nearly impossible to beat Mountaineers.

Call that 10-2. Still, not bad for Rutgers. Not bad for anyone.

The Knights will then travel to a bowl game, probably somewhere in Texas and just might win their first bowl game ever. They will also earn a Top 15 rating for the first time since 1976, if that scenario plays out.

Ray Rice will not win the Heisman Trophy but he should get invited to New York if he plays well against Syracuse and against West Virginia on national TV.

He broke the school’s rushing record previously held by J.J. Jennings on a 54-yard performance against Cincinnati. He didn’t play much in the fourth quarter because Rutgers was trying to throw the ball. But Rice just might be favored to win it next year.

So what does this all mean? Good things for the Scarlet Knights. All of the above plus they will have Rice, star kicker Jeremy Ito, quarterback Mike Teel and star receiver Kenny Britt back.

Not a bad nucleus. And wait until national signing day in February. The Scarlet Knights will get some surprises from some very good New Jersey football players while schools like Ohio State, Penn State and BC will lose out.

Coach Greg Schiano has built a foundation.He won’t leave for Miami because Rutgers will sweeten the pie for him in New Jersey and he might just be national coach of the year.

So hang onto those Scarlet block R hats. They’ll certainly come in handy.