By Gavin Lapaille
One of the most disappointing regular seasons in University of Louisville school history will end Thursday as the Cards take on Rutgers University in the final home game of the season.
The Cards who sit at 5-6 overall and 2-4 in the Big East, need to win in order to become bowl eligible for the tenth straight season.
Standing on the other sideline will be the Scarlet Knights, who ended U of L’s shot at a National Championship last season.
The Scarlet Knights come in with a 7-4 record after a 20-16 win over the University of Pittsburgh last week. In that game, quarterback Mike Teel suffered a thumb injury late in the first half but was able to return later.
“We were all a little bit concerned,” Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano stated after the game. “He could throw but he didn’t feel good about it. He said, “coach I don’t want to risk it.” We talked at the beginning of the third quarter and he warmed up and looked okay.”
Rutgers is led by running back Ray Rice, who leads the Big East with 1,612 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns. Rice needs 182 yards to break his own Big East record for most rushing yards in a season.
Rice was recently named finalist for the Doak Walker Award, given annually to the nation’s top running back.
“I just feel good that I’m doing my job,” Rice told the Daily Targum. “I’m playing for these seniors, they deserve it. I’m going to go out there every week and give it my best.”
Although the game does not have the magnitude of last seasons, there is still plenty on the line for both teams. Rutgers will be looking to strengthening their bowl position, while U of L hopes to avoid their first losing record since 1997.
After suffering the worst loss in 20 years with a 55-17 downer to the University of South Florida last week, some U of L fans were not hesitant to show their disdain for the team’s play this season.
“I’m very disappointed,” freshmen sports administration major Will Glover said. “I’m selling my ticket (to the Rutgers game). It isn’t worth going.”
Others were a bit more understanding.
“The season is disappointing, yes, but we have a new coach and it takes a while to learn a new system,” junior political science major Terrance Sullivan said.
Junior biology major Roger Dotsey and junior education major Sarah Brown agreed that fans should stick behind their team no matter what happens on the field.
“I’ll support them for life,” Dotsey said. “No matter what.”
The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. and televised nationally by ESPN. The game has been designated as a “Black Out” game with fans encouraged to dress in all black.