Rutgers, Fresno to rock the cradle of football
By Darrell Laurant | Friday, August 29, 2008 | ( 1 )
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Fresno State at Rutgers 4PM
FRESNO -3.5 (Rutgers opens the 2008 campaign at home in Piscataway, N.J., against the Bulldogs, who will make their longest road trip since 2000, when they got belted 43-10 at Ohio State.
The Scarlet Knights, under eighth-year coach Greg Schiano, followed their breakthrough 11-2 season in 2006 by going just 8-5 last year (6-6 ATS), but they did finish up with a 52-30 victory over Ball State in the International Bowl as an 11-point favorite. Prior to that easy spread-cover, Rutgers was on a 1-4 ATS slide.
Fresno State, with coach Pat Hill entering his 12th season, is coming off a solid 9-4 season (7-5 ATS) that included a 40-28 victory over Georgia Tech in the Humanitarian Bowl. After failing to cover in two of their first three games last year, the Bulldogs went 6-3 ATS the rest of the season, putting behind their nightmarish 1-10-1 ATS effort of 2006.
The Scarlet Knights have 15 starters back from last year, but they must find a way to replace running back Ray Rice, who racked up an eye-popping 2,012 rushing yards in 2007. QB Mike Teel (3,147 yards passing, 20 TDs, 13 INTs last year) returns for his third year as the starter, and Rutgers also has all of its top receivers returning. Rutgers averaged 32.8 ppg last year, while allowing 22.5.
The Bulldogs are favored to win the Western Athletic Conference in 2008 thanks to 17 returning starters returning, including running backs Lonyae Miller, Ryan Matthews and Anthony Harding, who combined for 1,924 rushing yards and 25 TDs last season. Also returning is QB Tom Brandstater, who threw for 15 TDs against just five INTs last year)
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