Rutgers look to go 5-1 on Friday night (Photo by Tom Ciszek, NJ Sports Photo)
Scarlet Knights Host Pittsburgh on ESPN Friday Night Telecast
Piscataway, N.J. (Thursday, October 15, 2009) – Over the past month, the Rutgers football program has rebounded nicely from an opening weekend loss to #8 Cincinnati to pick up four straight victories, but things are about to become much more difficult. With six of their remaining seven games on tap being Big East match-ups, the time is now for the Scarlet Knights (4-1) and their freshman quarterback, Tom Savage, starting tomorrow night against conference foe Pittsburgh (5-1).
"Part of me is just excited to see him play," Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano said about Savage. "He's getting better every week. He's got all the skills to be something special, he's just so young. Everything is an experience."
Savage has proven to be both poise and athletic since becoming the starting signal caller for Rutgers, but tomorrow night will be the first start for the true freshman against a BCS conference school on a national ESPN telecast.
“We’re going to find out,” Schiano answered to questions regarding if Savage would be ready for the bright lights of primetime football. “Here it comes, Friday night, ready or not.”
On the other side of the football, the man taking the snaps for Pittsburgh says that this game is one for which he holds a personal grudge.
"We can't stress watching film more or working harder for this one," Panther quarterback Bill Stull told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Paul Zeise. "We just have to do things better. I don't want to say we need extra focus or say we weren't putting focus in the last games because that's not true, but we just have to find a way to get down and dirty this week.”
Under head coach Bill Wannstedt and during the time Stull has been at the school, Pittsburgh has yet to defeat the Scarlet Knights, with Rutgers currently owning a four-game winning streak over the Panthers.
“I just think that they’ve made fewer mistakes than we have," Wannstedt remarked. "I think every game has taken on a little different twist. I think they’ve just played better than we have. That’s been the bottom line.”
Regardless of what the reason may be, Stull insists there is something extra he will take into this contest.
"This is personal,” he stated. “I've yet to be on the winning side of the ball, and I am really taking it personal this week, as are all of our seniors."
Rutgers has currently won 11 of their last 12 games dating back to last season, with the only loss being the aforementioned meeting with #8 Cincinnati. They look to make it 12 of 13 tomorrow night when they get it on with Pitt at 8:00 p.m. on ESPN.