Still, eight-win seasons weren’t the norm until this decade. Neither were postseason appearances. Victories and bowl berths are usually solid barometers, and they’ll be the easiest way to assess Rutgers’ staying power after the offseason’s offensive talent drain.
“Teel set the standards very high, and they’re very difficult shoes to fill,” Savage said. “And with Kenny Britt and all the other great players who came out of here, they just set it for us. We just have to keep performing. We’re not trying to compare ourselves to them, but we have to go out there and keep doing what they’re doing. They’ve been so good. if we match them, we’re at a very good standard.”
Simply maintaining such quality is difficult, as the Scarlet Knights could ask their hosts this week. Much like Rutgers, Maryland began the decade with a reputation for recent futility. And while the Terps are better off than they were throughout the dark days of the 1990s, they found it difficult to remain entrenched in the national rankings after three excellent years.
The Scarlet Knights are in a similar place and understandably trying to one-up themselves rather than simply reach the level of their immediate predecessors.
“I don’t think we’re chasing it,” said safety Joe Lefeged, probably best known to Maryland fans for a helmet-to-helmet hit two seasons ago on quarterback Jordan Steffy that caused a concussion. “I think we’re trying to continue doing what we are doing and trying to do it better. We haven’t reached any of our goals yet. One is a national championship. Two is a Big East championship. I guess that’s what we’re chasing.”