PISCATAWAY, NJ – Defensive end Ryan Neill (Wayne Hills, NJ) and placekicker Jeremy Ito (Redlands, CA) have earned BIG EAST Player of the Week honors for the week ending Sunday, September 5. Neill was named BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week, while Ito garnered BIG EAST Special Teams Player of the Week recognition. WVU’s Kay-Jay Harris was named Offensive Player of the Week.
Playing in his first game since Nov. 2, 2002, Neill scored Rutgers’ lone touchdown in a 19-14 win over Michigan State to open the 2004 season. With just over five minutes remaining in the third quarter, Neill intercepted a Damon Dowdell pass and ran 31 yards for the score, the first of his career and the first by an RU lineman since Rashod Swinger’s fumble recovery in the end zone on Aug. 31, 1996 vs. Virginia Tech. Neill also added four tackles.
Ito, in his first collegiate game, accounted for the other 13 Rutgers points in the win, kicking a Rutgers Stadium-record four field goals and adding one PAT. Ito also set a school and BIG EAST-record with seven attempts. Ito connected on a 24-yarder in the second quarter (14:08) for the first points of the season and then added a 47-yarder (one yard short of the Stadium record) with 5:08 left in the half to cut the MSU lead to 7-6. Ito began the third-quarter scoring with a 23-yard conversion to give Rutgers a 9-7 lead and capped the Scarlet Knights’ scoring with a 42-yard FG with 00:41 left in the third quarter.
Rutgers (1-0) returns to action this Saturday, September 11, when it hosts New Hampshire (7:00 p.m.) at Rutgers Stadium.