By Matt Sugam
PISCATAWAY – Shortly before they line up for the opening kickoff of the biggest game in their careers, Rutgers’ seniors will be honored during the senior night ceremony. The players will walk out to midfield with their parents, be recognized individually and greeted by head coach Kyle Flood before a quick photo op.
“It’s going to be special,” safety Duron Harmon said. “My career here has been a great career. Met a lot of great people. It’s kind of bittersweet because even though I get to move on to another chapter in my life I’m going to miss all the guys here.”
But Harmon and the rest of the seniors won’t have time to dwell on the moment. Instead, they have to make sure they keep their emotions in check and their heads in the game. After all, it’ll be starting right after the ceremony, with a trip to a BCS Bowl on the line.
“It’s exciting,” defensive tackle Scott Vallone said of senior day. “But with the stakes that are there, I think that’s going to be the most exciting part of the whole day. As a senior being able to play in a game of this magnitude with so much on the line against a good team who’s also contenting for the same things we are, I think those are the things that makes it so exciting as my final home game.”
Not to mention it being a dream since high school coming to fruition.
“It’s what you want,” Vallone said. “I came here as a high school recruit wanting to play in championship games and championship implication games knowing that the Big East didn’t have a championship game.
Contending for national championships and I think this is the first step towards those lofty goals and hopefully as a senior I’ll be able to walk out with those type of accolades.”
And really, senior day is the furthest thing from any of the seniors’ minds. Instead, they’re focused on sole possession of that elusive Big East Championship and a trip to a BCS Bowl.
“We know what’s at stake,” Beauharnais said. “It is THE Big East Championship game. Every week we say it’s the Big East Championship game, but this is the ultimate Big East Championship game. This is the one that we’ve been fighting for. This is the one that we’ve been going on the road and holding each other together and playing for. This is the game. This is the game right here.”