During the 2006 season, the Rutgers football team went 11-2 and was one dropped touchdown pass away from going 11-1 and winning the Big East. While they haven't enjoyed such success in recent years, many parallels can be drawn between the 2006 team and this season's team.
In 2006, Rutgers returned seven starters on offense.
If you count guard Caleb Ruch as a starter, who started all of 2008 at guard and didn't start in 2009 due to injuries before and during the season, the 2010 team also returns seven starters on offense.
In 2006, Rutgers' starting wide receivers were sophomore Tiquan Underwood and freshman Kenny Britt. Three wide receivers, Shawn Tucker, Marcus Daniels, and Keith Taylor, were expected to receive playing time but suffered injuries.
In 2010, Rutgers' starting wide receivers are true sophomore Mohamed Sanu and true freshman Jeremy Deering. Three wide receivers, Tim Wright, Quron Pratt, and Mark Harrison, were expected to start but also suffered injuries.
In 2006, Rutgers' offensive line returned three starters.
Counting Caleb Ruch, the 2010 Rutgers team returns three starters on their offensive line.
In 2006, Rutgers' sophomore quarterback Mike Teel led the offense to an average of 29.8 points per game.
In 2010, Rutgers also has a sophomore quarterback by the name of Tom Savage who is more experienced than Teel was pre-2006. He's also already proven to be far more consistent than Teel was as a sophomore.
The 2005 season was Rutgers' running back Ray Rice's first season as a starter, and he had a solid season. However, 2006 was his breakout year.
In 2010, Rutgers' running back "Jersey" Joe Martinek is also coming off a solid season as a first year starter and has worked extremely hard on his lateral movement and explosiveness.
His improvements were shown in the Scarlet Knights' spring game when he ran for 116 yards on 16 carries behind a makeshift line with three projected starters out.
It seems that like Rice in 2006, Martinek is poised for a breakout season.
The final parallels are on special teams.
In 2006, the Scarlet Knights returned both their kicker, junior Jeremy Ito and their punter, senior Joe Radigan.
Solid but inconsistent during his first two seasons, Ito developed into a great kicker during his third season and even kicked the winning field goal in Rutgers' 28-25 upset over No. 3 ranked Louisville.
Radigan was an all Big East punter after the 2006 season.
In 2010, the Scarlet Knights return a junior kicker in San San Te and a senior punter in Teddy Dellaganna.
Te has been solid yet inconsistent during his first two seasons and is looking to have an Ito-like season.
Last season, Dellaganna was the most underrated punter in the Big East averaging 42.2 yards per punt which is already better than Radigan's 39.4 yards per punt in his junior season.
Could Dellaganna be an All-Big East punter this season?
This article is not a prediction of how Rutgers will do during the season. But, the 2010 team seems strikingly familiar to the 2006 team.
Remember that before the 2006 season, Rutgers wasn't highly ranked and nobody foresaw the miraculous season that the Scarlet Knights had.
With seemingly no legitimate sports source predicting Rutgers to finish higher than fourth, maybe, just MAYBE the Scarlet Knights could channel some of that 2006 team and improve on last year's nine win season.
A Big East championship would be nice, too.
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