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Key game as Rutgers hosts Cincy

The Scarlet Knights have been here before.

The Scarlet Knights have been here before.

In 2006, Rutgers had the chance to win the Big East conference outright in their final game of the regular season in Morgantown, W.Va. Instead, the Scarlet Knights lost a triple-overtime thriller rather than booking their ticket to a BCS bowl. The Scarlet Knights were sent to Houston for the Texas Bowl. Now as they ready themselves for Saturday, Rutgers can take a step forward in capturing their first-ever conference title with a win over Cincinnati.

Cincinnati is currently atop the Big East with a 3-1 record but a win over the Bearcats would give Rutgers, currently 3-2, the tiebreaker advantage if things came down to a head-to-head tie. While things would still need to break Rutgers’ way, a victory over Cincinnati would be tremendous for the program.

“This is the most balanced, competitive league in the country, and I think that makes it exciting.

Some people, traditionalists, like a team that runs away and hides,” head coach Greg Schiano said.

“You’re not going to get that in the Big East conference. For the fans who follow Big East football, you never know. It’s like the NFL; every week is an adventure.”

The Scarlet Knights were badly beaten, 69-38, at Nippert Stadium last year. While this is a different Rutgers team, including the nation’s 11th best scoring defense, there are still painful lessons from last year’s display.

“We didn't execute,” Schiano said. “I think emotionally I don't know where we were.”