There are many reasons why Rutgers should win, but the Scarlet
Knights continue to lose
It was in the mid-'70s that Rutgers decided to go big-time. After
gradually replacing the Bucknells, Columbias and Lehighs on its
schedule with the likes of Alabama, Penn State and Tennessee, the
school was rewarded with a state-sponsored, $3 million makeover
of its facilities in January 1984. Yet since then the Scarlet
Knights have been one of the most insignificant teams in the
nation. Over the last 16 seasons they have had only four winning
records, have never appeared in a bowl game and have gone
Rutgers, the state university of densely populated New Jersey,
should be able to field a competitive team. It has fancy
facilities, including an indoor practice bubble and a new
41,500-seat stadium. Its boosters are enthusiastic--the Scarlet R
Club raised a hefty $7 million over the last two years despite
the football team's 6-16 record in '98 and '99--and the Knights
play in a major conference, the Big East. Moreover, New Jersey
churns out plenty of high school talent. In the past five years
it has produced standouts like Texas quarterback Chris Simms,
Penn State quarterback Rashard Casey and New York Giants and
former Wisconsin running back Ron Dayne, the 1999 Heisman Trophy
winner. But few of the top prospects sign with the Scarlet
Knights. "I've always had problems with the way coaches at
Rutgers have recruited," says Passaic (N.J.) Tech high coach John
Iurato. "They don't recruit the program kids, kids who will be
great in a couple of years. They go for the blue chips--and
they're not getting many of them."
"Rutgers has an identity crisis," says Fred Stengel, who coaches
Bergen Catholic High in Oradell, N.J. "They want to have an Ivy
League mentality when it comes to academics, but a Big 10
approach to football. Historically, they have problems not only
recruiting good athletes, but keeping them in school."
Rutgers hasn't found the right coach in three tries since 1984.
The latest failure is Terry Shea, whose record in five seasons is
11-43 and who will resign after Saturday's game at Syracuse. Like
his predecessors, Shea hasn't been able to attract Jersey-grown
stars like Simms and Notre Dame freshman quarterback Matt
LoVecchio, a Franklin Lakes native who threw for 161 yards and
two touchdowns in a 45-17 Irish win last Saturday that dropped
the Scarlet Knights to 3-7.
Athletic director Bob Mulcahy vows to name a new coach by
December: Western Michigan coach Gary Darnell and Notre Dame
offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers reportedly top the list.
Meanwhile, a group of students, alumni and faculty members is
circulating a petition calling for Rutgers football to withdraw
from Division I-A and play in a nonscholarship Division I-AA
conference like the Patriot League.
However, neither Mulcahy nor Rutgers president Francis Lawrence
sees any reason that the Knights can't win where they are. "Other
[Rutgers] coaches come to me and say, 'Get football better.' It
affects recruiting across all sports," says Mulcahy. "We can get
this turned around. I'm certain that football can be a point of
pride for the state."
UCLA's Freddie Mitchell
A Wideout Made For Hollywood
UCLA's 38-35 loss to USC last week, the broken leg, whether or
not he'll return to the Bruins for his senior season--we'll get to
all of that. First, let's ask UCLA flanker Freddie Mitchell the
important question: What does Elizabeth Hurley look like in
person? "Oh, man, she's beautiful," says Mitchell, who has
befriended a number of actors and actresses, Hurley among them.
"Some women look great on film, but not as great in person.
Elizabeth is bedazzling."
The same can be said for the play of Mitchell, the junior from
Lakeland, Fla., who has caught 68 passes for 1,314 yards and
eight touchdowns this season. In last Saturday's defeat by the
Trojans, he had four receptions for 140 yards and a touchdown,
and threw for another score. How might UCLA have avoided the
upset loss? Mitchell has an answer: More touches for him.
"Sometimes I wish the coaches would say, 'We've got an athlete,
let's get him the ball!'" he said.
As a high school senior, Mitchell thought he was headed for
Florida State, Miami or Michigan State and visited UCLA only
because he wanted to see Los Angeles. He fell in love with the
city from Day One. Since matriculating at UCLA, he has done some
acting--he has appeared on the USA Network series Pacific Blue--and
met numerous people in the entertainment industry. He'd like to
pursue a career either as an actor or a broadcaster, but only
after a stint in the NFL.
He's lucky to still have that option. A week after gaining an
astounding 250 all-purpose yards in his first college game,
against Texas in 1998, Mitchell snapped his right femur against
Houston. After rehabbing intensively, he returned to action 15
weeks later with a titanium rod implanted in the leg and played
11 snaps against Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.
Mitchell has a terrific arm; he played outfield for the Bruins'
baseball team last spring and was drafted by the Chicago White
Sox in June. UCLA coach Bob Toledo has been drawing up plays for
Mitchell to throw the ball since 1998, when he saw Mitchell
firing lasers in postpractice passing contests with former Bruins
quarterback Cade McNown.
Regardless of whether or not Mitchell decides to leave school
early for the NFL or come back for his senior year, this is
certain: He'll be of the opinion that he should be getting more
touches. He'll probably be right. --Austin Murphy
Brothers Lift Colorado State
Identical Twins Are Ram Tough
After Colorado State junior free safety Jason Gallimore returned
a fumble 52 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter of last
Thursday's game against Wyoming, his identical twin brother,
Justin, felt he had to equal the feat. In the third quarter,
Justin did just that, intercepting a pass and racing 63 yards for
a touchdown in the Rams' 37-13 victory. The Gallimores became the
first brothers in school and, it is believed, NCAA history to
score defensive touchdowns in the same game.
After transferring to Colorado State from Division II Northern
Colorado, the Gallimores spent the 1998 season on the scout team
and wondered if they would ever get a chance to play. Then, just
before Christmas, tragedy struck when their father, Gerald, died
of a stroke.
Using their late dad as inspiration, the twins went into spring
practice in 1999 with extra purpose. Justin played well enough to
earn a scholarship and start eight games last fall. Jason played
in nine games as a reserve and got two starts but didn't earn a
scholarship until last spring. Now both Gallimores are a big
reason that the Rams have gone 9-2 and won the Mountain West
Conference. Justin is tied for the team-lead in interceptions
with three, while Jason has 22 tackles.
"It hasn't been the easiest road," says Jason, "but we didn't
want to look back at this time in our life and be sorry." --John
For complete scores, schedules and stats, plus more news from
Ivan Maisel and B.J. Schecter, go to cnnsi.com/football/college.
COLOR PHOTO: JOHN IACONO Quarterback Mike McMahon and Rutgers were outgunned, as usual, in a 45-17 loss to Notre Dame.
COLOR PHOTO: ROBERT BECK The dramatic Mitchell is UCLA's biggest star--on and off the field.
--Georgia Tech (8-2) at Georgia (7-3)
The Yellow Jackets won last season's matchup after they recovered
a Bulldogs fumble--that may not have been a fumble--on the Tech
one-yard line in the final seconds of regulation. Georgia fans
still seethe over the 51-48 overtime loss. Georgia Tech
overachieved this season, and quarterback George Godsey will pick
apart the defense he'll see between the hedges.
--Notre Dame (8-2) at USC (5-6)
Both teams are where they are because of mistakes. The No. 11
Irish have committed only eight turnovers and been called for
just nine penalties. The Trojans have 33 turnovers and 23
penalties. The rivalry is filled with memorable upsets, but this
will not be one of them.
--Boston College (6-4) at Miami (9-1)
A historical parallel: The Eagles went on the road in 1993 to
upset Notre Dame and put Florida State back on the road to No. 1.
The Seminoles won't get that kind of help this season. The only
mystery is whether it will be Butch Davis's last regular-season
game as Hurricanes coach.