By Matt Sugam
Sure, the newly minted number next to their name looks nice, but it’s just a checkpoint on the road to what they hope is the school’s first Big East Championship.
“This is definitely not the end of the road,” Steve Beauharnais said. “Four wins — you’re not even bowl eligible, so it’s not even close to where we want to be right now.”
Their desired destination is South Beach in early January to represent the Big East in the Orange Bowl.
“We can’t win a championship with four wins and that pretty much says it all in itself,” Khaseem Greene said. “We’re on a mission.”
Which is why no one on the team is close to content with where they are.
“Everybody’s hungry,” Mason Robinson said. “We know what we had at stake last year and we know what we’ve had at stake in previous years so everybody’s hungry. We know what we have at stake this year so everybody’s hungry and it’s been like that since last year ended.”
Last season concluded with Rutgers having a shot at a share of that elusive Big East Championship. But a trip up to UConn quickly turned sour when they were shellacked 40-22.
Next up for Scarlet Knights is a rematch with the Huskies, who are coming to Piscataway next Saturday. First they have to get through the bye week with the same mentality they’ve had since spring practice.
With a senior laden team, it’s been up to the upperclassmen to lead the way, just like they have since Kyle Flood took over as head coach.
“I was really anxious to see how the older guys would come out and work and they really came out and flew around today [Monday],” Flood said. “There’s a sense of purpose and a sense of seriousness.”
They’re not reading into the press clipping and extra notoriety. They’re putting the blinders on as they try to go where no Rutgers team has gone before.
“Just to keep away from the computers and keep away from the websites and the phones and everything like that,” Tim Wright said was how you don’t feed into the hype. “Because everybody’s going to be patting you on your back.”
Except for the opposing teams. They’re just going to put a bigger bounty over the Scarlet Knights heads.
“We can’t take any days off because now the hunter becomes the hunted,” Beauharnais said. “So there’s targets on our backs now. Everybody wants to come at us now, so now we got to really be trusted with the prize.”