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Fireworks and cannons smoked through the crisp Piscataway air on numerous occasions Saturday night, but it wasn't until High Point Solutions Stadium's student section emptied and fans rushed onto the field that it all meant something special.A 26-24 victory against college football's most storied program signaled not only the Rutgers football team's first-ever Big Ten win, but perhaps the biggest moment in Scarlet Knights history.
The Daily Targum caught up for a Q&A with Alejandro Zuniga, one of four reporters on The Michigan Daily's football beat, to discuss the week leading up to Saturday night's first-ever meeting between Rutgers and Michigan.The Daily Targum: How would you describe the overall state of Michigan football, from the downward trend on the field to what has transpired this week?Alejandro Zuniga: Michigan is absolutely in a state of crisis, and that's true even if you ignore the Athletic Department's handling of Shane Morris following a concussion he suffered last week.
RU vs. Michigan Game Day Wrap
Since his five-interception game Sept. 13 against Penn State, senior quarterback Gary Nova has completed 71 percent of his passes for four touchdowns and only one turnover. He will have to keep playing efficiently for Rutgers to beat Michigan.
Courtesy of Paul Sherman / The Michigan Daily | True freshman defensive back Jabrill Peppers played high school football with three current Rutgers players from 2010 to 2011. But Peppers, last year’s No. 3 overall recruit, opted to leave his home state for Michigan.
Junior wide receiver Leonte Carroo might line up across from Peppers, whose status for Saturday night’s game is unknown after he suffered an undisclosed injury last week. Carroo and Peppers played together at Don Bosco Prep.
Senior fullback Michael Burton insists the Knights stick together no matter what through thick and thin. Burton said beyond seeing his teammates in the Hale Center during the season, players reunite during spring, summer and winter breaks to build something special at Rutgers.
Senior right tackle Taj Alexander said that outside of football, his teammates are the only people he hangs out with. The Knights form a close bond off the field.
Courtesy of Paul Sherman / The Michigan Daily | Michigan head football coach Brady Hoke has come under immense criticism for not only the team’s poor play, but also his handling of Shane Morris’ injury.
Junior defensive lineman Darius Hamilton noted that Rutgers’ defense feeds off the atmosphere in High Point Solutions Stadium, especially when the game is sold out.
Long before Michigan head football coach Brady Hoke came under fire for what was allegedly a mishandling of a concussion injury to quarterback Shane Morris, he was already on the hot seat for the team’s poor performance, at least by the standards of Wolverine football. The winningest school in Division 1 college football comes to Piscataway this Saturday for the first time in history. The Rutgers football team (4-1, 0-1) and Michigan (2-3, 0-1) are the two oldest football programs in the nation.
Entering Saturday night’s game between Michigan and Rutgers under the lights of High Point Solutions Stadium, one storyline is garnering much more attention than the rest. It isn’t that two of the oldest college football programs in history are facing off for the very first time.
In the aftermath of a dreary second half against Penn State in which Gary Nova admitted he let down the Rutgers football team, offensive coordinator Ralph Friedgen sought out the senior.Friedgen had spent much of the spring and summer working tirelessly with the Scarlet Knights’ much-maligned quarterback.
When junior wide receiver Leonte Carroo arrived late to media availability on Monday after his tutoring session, a swarm of media members surrounded him and fired off questions. Picking up on the rather unusual horde of reporters, junior defensive lineman Darius Hamilton and senior quarterback Gary Nova also made their way over. Hamilton pulled out his recorder and imitated the rest of the journalists, while Nova made mocking faces to unnerve Carroo.
It has been four years since they were teammates for one season at Don Bosco (New Jersey) Prep, but Gary Nova still remembers Jabrill Peppers as nothing short of a phenom. Peppers, only a freshman at the time, exploded in the state semifinals against St. Peter’s with an 80-yard interception for a touchdown before returning a blocked field goal to the house, Nova recounts.
Senior Gareef Glashen is part of a quartet of Knights cornerbacks who might have to match up with 6-foot-5 Michigan wide receiver Devin Funchess on Saturday night.
Junior placekicker Kyle Federico made 14 out of his last 18 field goals.
Rutgers head football coach Kyle Flood took in film of Michigan for the first
time earlier this week, a 6-foot-5, 230-pound frame in the passing game
immediately stood out.