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Unbeaten and rested, Rutgers faces Navy

Oct 10, 2006 - 9:19 PM No. 24 Rutgers (5-0) at Navy (5-1), 1:30 pm EDT

ANNAPOLIS, Maryland (Ticker) - After a week off, No. 24 Rutgers looks to continue its best start in 30 years when it visits Navy on Saturday.

Unbeaten after five games for the first time since an 11-0 campaign in 1976, the Scarlet Knights have not played since a 22-20 Big East Conference win over South Florida on September 29.

Ray Rice rushed for 202 yards and two touchdowns for Rutgers, which can become bowl eligible at the earliest date in school history with a win.

A sophomore, Rice has developed into Rutgers' main offensive weapon and teams up with fullback Brian Leonard to form one of the nation's best backfields. Rice has rushed for 100 yards in six consecutive games and ranks third in the country in scoring (13.5 points) and fourth in rushing (604 yards).

Rutgers will need Rice to be at his best to beat Navy, which already has a convincing win over a Big East team, a 41-17 drubbing of Connecticut on September 30.

Playing the Midshipmen is no longer a gimme on the schedule, as Navy has ended each of the past two seasons with bowl victories and is off to a 5-1 start for the second time in the last three years.

Navy (5-1) also gets it done on the ground, as it leads the nation in rushing offense at 350.5 yards per game. Quarterback Brian Hampton leads the rushing attack, averaging 107.5 yards. Hampton has rushed for 10 TDs this season and thrown for two more.

Navy leads the series, 10-9-1, including an 8-4-1 edge at home.

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