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Rutgers rips Louisville, 63-14;
Teel stars for Scarlet Knights
New Brunswick, NJ - RU QB Mike Teel set school and Big East passing records on a cold and rainy night against a Louisville defense that brought no pass rush and offered even less coverage in the secondary to allow the Scarlet Knights (7-5, 5-2) to build a 49-0 halftime lead before finishing off Louisville (5-7,1-6), 63-14. Teel threw for 447 yards and seven TD passes completing 21 of 26 attempts against a pass defense that looked as bad as their own when we saw them fall to North Carolina earlier in the year. The 63 points put on the board were the most CFF.com ever saw the Knights score in the 45th game we've seen them play in. Early miscues by Louisville accelerated the RU advantage to put the game out of reach long before the end of the first half.
RU opened the scoring at the 13:09 mark following a kickoff return to the Louisville 49. Tiquan Underwood caught the first of Teel's seven TD passes from 13 yards away. Louisville 's Josh Chichester was one yard away from tying the score, but fumbled his reception near the goal line where RU recovered on their own two. A dropped interception by the Cards allowed the Knights to continue a 98-yard TD drive capped by WR Kenny Britt on a 31-yard reverse. Louisville receivers dropped several catchable balls on key plays to stop themselves. On a fourth and one trailing 21-0, Coach Steve Kragthorpe called for a sweep that got stopped for a four-yard loss. Louisville backs seemed to stop to look for holes all night rather than hit the line quickly. Rutgers was hot, but Louisville seemed to be adding fuel to their fire.
In the second period, RU score 35 points on five Teel TD passes - two to Tim Brown, one to Shamar Graves, a second to Underwood, and one to Dennis Campbell. The last two were scored within the last two minutes when Schiano managed the clock to extend the score to 49-0. Teel could do no wrong as the Cards gave feeble pass coverage n the secondary. The best tackle of the first half came on a Jordan Brooks run where he was tackled from behind by a dreadlock! From where GGA Steve Ciesla and I sat, we thought he got horse-collared, but replays we saw later that night showed the tackler not only pulled him down by the dreadlock, but he pulled the full braid right out of Brooks' head! It's part of the uniform. Before piling on the seventh TD of the first half with :18 left, Rutgers band launched into Gary Glitter's well-known "Rock 'n Roll Part 2" which was appropriately followed by the RU students section chant of "Hey, you suck!" We had to agree. The game was a laugher, especially for one where even the loser was on the verge of "bowl eligibility." Cut down the number of bowls, and do not consider a 6-win team as bowl eligible!
We stuck around until late into the fourth quarter despite the lop-sided score figuring we may see a record-setting score or a tremendous comeback. We saw neither. Louisville scored on its first possession of the second half on a one-yard run by Brock Bolen to finish off a 59-yard drive. Schiano felt it was a big enough threat to leave the untouched Teel in the game well into the fourth quarter. The rain subsided. We saw quite a reversal of an RU team that started the seasons 1-5 seeing two of their losses against Fresno State and North Carolina. The Scarlet Knights reeled off six straight wins to end their season, one against 3-9 Army, and the rest against the Big East. It shows how bad this conference played this year.
Extra points: Former Rutgers FB Brian Leonard, now of the St. Louis Rams, was in attendance. Steve bought ups a good point. Who do the Rams play this weekend? Turns out their in Arizona. Did he miss practice Thursday and Friday?
Talk was that the Knights may match up with Ball State to put the "hot" team against the undefeated team in the Motor City Bowl. That plan was squashed when those Cardinals got upset in the MAC Championship by the fledging Buffalo Bulls.
RU fans should let go of their dislike for Joe Paterno because they accuse him of running up the score in PSU's 52-34 victory we witnessed at the Meadowlands in 1995. If that was the case, they should thank him instead because his former understudy, Greg Schiano, learned well under him. He manages the clock better than any one with a 35-0 lead against a hapless defense and scored twice more with less than two minutes to go to lead 49-0. It's not the first time either. There was Norfolk State in the same situation two years ago, and last year against Navy, he put an extra score on the board late in the game to go up 42-17 versus Navy. However, three plays later, Navy put the ball in the end zone to finish the scoring that evening. Rutgers fans don't seem to mind that. Show no mercy, expect no mercy!
Kragthorpe build success at Tulsa before coming to Louisville last year, but the result for the Cardinals are disappointing thus far. He may be on the hot-seat next season if he makes it to next year.
Teel is an alumnus of the successful Don Bosco Prep program in Ramsey, NJ. He played for Greg Toal whose son, LB Greg, Jr, came out on crutches on Senior Day at BC's Alumni Stadium last weekend. On the Louisville sideline this evening sat back-up QB Matt Simms, son of Phil, who quarterbacked at Don Bosco for Toal as well only two years ago. The red-shirt Freshman warmed up along the sideline before the game. We were not impressed by his arm strength or throwing motion.