Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mike Teel Breaks Loose


Last Saturday, a college football team put up 54 points, and its quarterback was named both USA Today’s National Player of the Week and the Big East Offensive player of the Week.

Oh yeah, and he became the first player in Big East history to throw five touchdown passes in the first half of a league game.

The guy, Rutgers fifth year senior quarterback Mike Teel, led his team, the Scarlet Knights, to this impressive victory.


Teel also set a school record with six touchdown passes in the stunning offensive explosion by the Knights at Heinz Field Saturday. The 54-34 win over 17th-ranked Pittsburgh was Rutgers’ first road victory over a Top 25 team in 20 years.
Rutgers was ranked 115th nationally in scoring offense going into the contest, but was still able to gain its first win over a ranked team on the road since they upset Penn State in 1988
Teel ended his day 14-of-21 for 361 yards with six TD passes, both career highs.
The Knights are now (3-5 overall, 2-2 in Big East play) heading into a bye next week before last-place Syracuse visits Rutgers Stadium on Nov. 8.

At halftime this past Saturday, when Rutgers had a 34-24 lead, Teel had already matched the school record for touchdown passes with five.

The Knights, in another impressive nugget, had five touchdown drives that required four plays or less -- three coming in the first half.

Rutgers tied the Panthers (5-2 overall, 2-1 Big East) at 7-7 when Teel hit junior wide receiver Tim Brown on a 60-yard touchdown pass, and took the lead when Teel hooked-up with Britt for the first of the wide receiver’s three scores on the day – this one a 79 yarder, the longest play for the Knights this season.

To prove that it was a complete game for the Knights, the special teams and defense even showed up to play in the same game as the offense, causing two third-quarter turnovers after failing to record one in six of their first seven games.

The first occurred after defensive back Zaire Kitchen was able to tear the ball from the grasp of Pitt punt returner Aaron Berry, allowing fellow Rutgers' DB Colin McEvoy to recover.

Aggressively taking a shot right after the turnover, Teel hit Brown for a 36-yard touchdown to give Rutgers a 41-31 lead.

The two plays were keys in helping stop the Panthers momentum.

Senior linebacker Kevin Malast created the other turnover with the first interception of his career, and added an exclamation point with a 74-yard return. Red-shirt sophomore tailback Kordell Young converted on an 8-yard touchdown run soon after to give the Knights a 48-31 lead, sealing the deal for the Knights’ fourth straight win over the Pitt since 2005, and keeping their slim bowl hopes alive.