When Connecticut kicker Tony Ciarvino’s field goal bounced off the right upright with just over a minute to go last Saturday, Rutgers football had survived Homecoming 2008 with a 12-10 win over a rival.
Now sitting at 2-5 overall and 1-2 in the Big East, the Scarlet Knights have found some life in their defensive front seven to offset a lack of offensive production.
RU pressured Huskies quarterback Zach Frazer all game, forced a game-winning safety (Blair Bines) and held the nation’s leading rusher in Donald Brown to 107 yards.
However, their reward for the grind-it-out victory is a trip to Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field on Satuday to face the No. 17 Panthers. Dave Wannstedt’s Pitt team has won five in a row after an opening game loss to Bowling Green.
Highlighting the Pittsburgh attack is future NFL running back, sophomore LeSean McCoy. He has rushed for nearly 700 yards and has 10 touchdowns through 6 games, leading his squad to 27.8 points per contest.
On defense, All-American and fifth-year senior linebacker Scott McKillop leads the way in almost every category. His 61 tackles (44 solo) are tops on the Panthers, as are his 9.5 tackles-for-loss. McKillop has added 3 sacks as well.
Pittsburgh’s passing game has been mediocre, with red-shirt junior Bill Stull compiling only 4 touchdowns and 5 interceptions so far, despite a trio of stud wide receivers in Derek Kinder, Oderick Turner and Jonathan Baldwin.
NOTE: Pittsburgh has not defeated Rutgers since 2004.
RADIO: The game is NOT on television. You can listen to Chris Harring and me on play-by-play, with coverage starting at 2:00pm on WRSU 88.7FM or www.wrsu.org