The Scarlet Knights are seeking their first win over WVU since 1994 (Photo courtesy of ScarletKnights.com)
14 Seniors Prepare for Final game at Rutgers Stadium
Piscataway, N.J. (Thursday, December 3, 2009) – 14 Scarlet Knight seniors will play their final game at Rutgers Stadium this Saturday when the team plays host to West Virginia University at noon. Both programs currently sit with an 8-3 record, and a win would give the Scarlet Knights their sixth nine-win season in the 140-year history of the sport at the university.
“We have not had a very successful track record against West Virginia,” Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano said this week. “We'll see if we can play our best. I don't know where that will put us against West Virginia, but I'd like to play our best and see."
The Scarlet Knights are in search of their first win against the Mountaineers since 1994 and just the fifth overall win in the 37-game history of the series. West Virginia is the only Big East program that Schiano has not defeated in his tenure at Piscataway, and a win this Saturday would likely send Rutgers to the Meineke Car Care Bowl on December 26th in Charlotte, North Carolina.
"You can sit there and figure logically, but I don't think logic always plays out,” Schiano stated about the bowl possibilities. “I think the situation is bowls have a pecking order and they get to pick and work in conjunction with the Big East. I don't worry about that stuff, but I don't bury my head in the sand if there's something I can do to better our position."
But before the team can worry about figuring out its bowl status, it must focus on figuring out West Virginia for the first time in 15 years.
“To worry about what happened in the past won’t help us this year,” fifth-year senior cornerback Devin McCourty said of the rivalry with the Mountaineers. “We’re a different team (and) they’re a different team than last year, so we just have to worry about this year.”
Not only are the Scarlet Knights a different team from years past, but the program during the Schiano era has almost no resemblance to that of its predecessor that played over the first century and a half of its history. The last time Rutgers knocked off West Virginia, NFL journeyman quarterback Ray Lucas was taking the snaps. When the NFL announced its ballot for the upcoming Pro Bowl, five former Scarlet Knights were on the list including Indianapolis Colts linebacker Gary Brackett, New York Giants center Shaun O’Hara, Baltimore Ravens tailback Ray Rice, Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive guard Jeremy Zuttah and rookie Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt. Maybe not the pro factory of powerhouses Florida University and the University of Southern California just yet, but the Rutgers football program is on a steady rise to prominence.