Considering the last two meetings between Rutgers and Syracuse
have been decided by three points, having an injured field goal
kicker isn’t exactly encouraging news for Scarlet Knights coach
With Kyle Federico’s services uncertain, remaining undefeated
could be tough for No. 20 Rutgers on Saturday when it hosts the
Federico injured his hip on a third-quarter kickoff in last
Saturday’s 19-3 win over Connecticut. He has been ruled out for
kickoffs this week, but Flood is still clinging to hope that
Federico can kick extra points for the Knights (5-0, 2-0 Big East),
who are off to their best start since opening 9-0 in 2006.
Flood doesn’t have a lot of confidence in the kicking department
if Federico can’t go. After he got injured, backup Nick DeLouisa
missed an extra point, which elicited Flood to have some students
try out for the kicker position.
“We tried out a number of guys,” he said. “All hands on
Even if Federico, who has converted 6 of 11 field goals, is
unavailable, Flood doesn’t believe he’ll have to attempt two-point
conversions following touchdowns.
“I think we’ll have the ability to kick extra points,” he said.
“I think probably where it has its biggest effect is that area of
the field where you’re trying to decide, are you trying a 50-yard
or 40-yard. You have to figure out what the top end of his range is
and game plan accordingly.”
Field goals have been a crucial part of the series.
The Scarlet Knights won at Syracuse 19-16 in double overtime
last October, and the Orange won 13-10 on a kick with 1:07
remaining in New Jersey in 2010.
In last season’s matchup, quarterback Gary Nova replaced an
ineffective Chas Dodd and rallied Rutgers from a 10-point,
fourth-quarter deficit. Then a freshman, Nova threw for 122 yards
and a TD and became the team’s starting quarterback the following
Nova has 10 touchdowns this season – tying him for the most in
the Big East – yet the defense has been the Knights’ biggest
Rutgers is fifth in the FBS in scoring defense at 10.8 points,
second against the run with an average of 60.6 yards, and first in
the Big East with 10 interceptions.
The Knights are facing a Syracuse team that has scored two
offensive touchdowns in its last two games. Senior quarterback Ryan
Nassib has three interceptions in those contests, and threw three
picks against Rutgers a year ago.
Despite some offensive concerns, the Orange (2-3, 1-0) are
brimming with confidence after beating Pittsburgh 14-13 last
The defense led the way, as Dyshawn Davis returned a fumble 52
yards for a touchdown while Brandon Sharpe finished with six
tackles for loss and four sacks. Syracuse came into the game
allowing an average of 176.3 rushing yards, but held a Pittsburgh
team that entered with an average of 187.5 on the ground to 27
yards on 37 carries.
“It finally felt like we (were) clicking,” defensive tackle Deon
Goggins said. “During the bye week we were working on little things
and it came together.”
The Orange, who haven’t opened with two straight conference wins
since a 5-0 start in 2001, will now turn their attention to slowing
down Jawan Jamison, the Big East’s leading rusher with 601
Jamison finished with 110 yards on 28 carries last week for his
sixth straight 100-yard game. He needs two more to match Ray Rice’s
school record for consecutive 100-yard performances, set in
As a freshman last season, Jamison didn’t do much against the
Orange, rushing for 48 yards on 24 attempts.