#15 Rutgers over #3 Louisville

Do you think folks are starting to believe in Rutgers? I was doing some musing prior to the game and here’s how I thought it might play out between Rutgers and Louisville–

“The Rutgers’ defense will have to step up big to win this game against Louisville’s potent offense. They’ve been good all season, keeping the Knights in every game. They’ve limited opponents to 9.1 PPG. Defensive back Courtney Greene has scooped 3 passes from opposing QBs, while Manny Collins, Devin McCourty and Ron Girault have taken 2 away—for a total of 6 interceptions. Rutgers has twice as many interceptions as the Cardinals.

RB Ray Rice (1,203 Total YDS, 5.4 YPC) is the major component of the Scarlet Knights’ offense. Rice has scored 13 touchdowns thus far. Although he hurt an ankle against Connecticut this past week, Rice says he’s fine and will be ready to go in 2 weeks. This is Rutgers’ bye week and it’s perfectly timed, giving Rice a chance to rest up. Tailback Brian Leonard (2 TDs, 4.6 YPC) adds another important angle to the run game and Kordell Young (4.6 YPC) has seen limited but effective action, scoring 3 touchdowns. They have one of the top 5 running games in college football.

Second-year QB Mike Teel (109.2 rating) has thrown 6 TD passes and 8 interceptions. He’s done a good job of spreading his passes amongst Clark Harris, Brian Leonard and Tiquan Underwood.

Kicker Jeremy Ito has been responsible for 60 points in the first eight games, including 11 field goals. Ito is 2 for 2 at 50+ yards.

But Louisville is ahead of Rutgers in almost every major category, outscoring them 38.7 to 29.3. The Cardinals have a balanced attack and are led by junior QB Brian Brohm (144.7 Rating). Kicker Arthur Carmody has been close to perfect all season.

Can the Knights beat the Cardinals? It won’t be easy. But if they do, it will be tough to keep Rutgers out of a BCS Bowl.”

I wrote that last week. Interesting how Rutgers managed to score it’s average number of points but they limited the Cardinals to 25 points– about 14 below their averge.

In the second half the Rutgers defense stepped up big, sacking and hurrying QB Brian Brohm, stopping the run and putting pressure on the Cardinals sputtering offense.

In the end, it was two field goals by Ito in the 4th. The first tied it and second won it with just 21 seconds left on the clock.

Now, after a 28- 25 come from behind victory, it’s tough to doubt that the 9 and zip Knights are for real. They have one more big test– West Virginia. It’s their final regular season game. A BCS Bowl bid? It may be tough to deny the Scarlet Knights when the 2006 NCAA football season is over.

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