For the first time since 2006, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights football program is undefeated after five regular-season games. The feat was accomplished Saturday with a 19-3 victory over the visiting Connecticut Huskies, helping Rutgers improve to 2-0 in Big East Conference play and retain a share of first place in the league standings.
The victory not only kept the dream of a possible undefeated season alive, but also increased the chances of the Scarlet Knights winning the Big East and its automatic Bowl Championship Series berth to the Orange Bowl.
"We’re focused on something much higher, much bigger," said safety Wayne Warren to the Star-Ledger's Steve Politi on Saturday. "We try not to think about (the 5-0 record) because we want to be Big East champions at the end of the season."
Now, the Scarlet Knights are not counting their chickens before they hatch -- Rutgers still has a tough test next week with the visiting Syracuse Orange, who defeated the Pittsburgh Panthers, 14-13, on Friday night. But fans would be considered liars if they said an Orange Bowl bid hasn't crossed their minds. Heck, even one of the members on the Orange Bowl selection committee, Michael Chavies, a Rutgers graduate, is talking about it.
"Are you kidding me?" Chavies said when asked by the Star-Ledgers' Politi if he’d like to return to Piscataway in a few months. "A Rutgers grad, in the year that I’m chair of the committee, to come here and give the bid to Rutgers?"
On their schedule, the Scarlet Knights play Syracuse, Temple, Kent State, and Army. If Rutgers can get through all of them, then it will come down to the final three games of the season: At the Cincinnati Bearcats, at the Pittsburgh Panthers and home against the Louisville Cardinals.