PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Just a few weeks after he was booed in his home stadium, Mike Teel walked off the field Thursday night to a standing ovation.
Teel threw for 447 yards and matched a Big East record with seven touchdown passes, helping Rutgers dismantle Louisville 63-14 and give the Scarlet Knights their sixth straight win.
"It's kind of come full-circle," Teel said. "Bottom line is, it's extremely satisfying that this team stuck together and my teammates stayed and rallied behind me -- and coaches stayed behind me -- and we were able to turn things around. That's something that's pretty special.
"It's not a bad way to go out of this stadium."
One of seven fifth-year seniors who helped resurrect a once-downtrodden program, Teel capped an up-and-down season with a flourish. He threw touchdown passes to five different receivers and shattered the school record for yards passing in a game.
Then, once it ended, Teel led the entire team to the corner of the end zone, waving a giant sword carried by the Scarlet Knights' mascot and pretending to direct the marching band in what most certainly will be one of the most memorable moments of his career.
"It was a great atmosphere, and for that to be our last game at Rutgers, that was great," said Tiquan Underwood, another senior. "I couldn't write a better script, especially for Mike, man. He deserves it."
Underwood and Tim Brown each caught a pair of touchdown passes and the Scarlet Knights (7-5, 5-2) set a school-record for points in a Big East game, rolling up 671 yards of total offense and sending lowly Louisville (5-7, 1-6) to its worst finish since 1997.
Jourdan Brooks added 124 yards and a touchdown rushing for Rutgers, which scored TDs on seven of its eight first-half possessions. Brown finished with a career-high 173 yards receiving, and Kenny Britt broke his own single-season school record for receiving yards with 1,259.
Rutgers will become just the seventh team in NCAA history to start 1-5 and reach a bowl game. A good bet is the Papajohns.com Bowl, but the Meineke Bowl, International Bowl and Motor City Bowl are also in the mix.
Then again, maybe they ought to let the Scarlet Knights represent the Big East in the BCS. They're easily the conference's hottest team.
"I try to stay up to speed on it in case I can lend a hand, but now I'll get more involved," Schiano said of the bowl outlook. "We'll see if we can get the best situation for Rutgers, our fans and our university."
Hunter Cantwell threw for 270 yards and a touchdown in his final game for Louisville, which will be staying home during bowl season for the second straight year.
Pressure is certain to mount on embattled coach Steve Kragthorpe, too.
Louisville is just 11-13 under Kragthorpe, who replaced the highly successful Bobby Petrino two years ago. Kragthorpe is close to athletic director Tom Jurich, but fans won't tolerate finishing in the cellar of a conference that the Cardinals dominated just a few years ago.
"I'm in it for the long haul," Kragthorpe said, vowing to embark immediately on the recruiting trail. "If I was going to leave I would have done that last year. I want to get this fixed. I want to be here."
He probably wanted to be just about anywhere else on this night, though.
Teel began the monsoon of offense with a 13-yard scoring strike to Underwood less than 2 minutes in, and a few minutes later Britt took an end-around 33 yards to cap a 98-yard drive.
Teel added a 74-yard strike to Brown early in the second quarter, and moments later broke Ryan Hart's school record for career touchdown passes with his 53rd, a nine-yard toss to tight end Shamar Graves that made it 28-0 with 7:24 left in the half.
Three more touchdown passes followed in quick succession -- a 26-yard strike to Underwood, a 37-yard pass to Brown and a 23-yard pass to Dennis Campbell with 18 seconds left before halftime, giving Rutgers a 49-0 lead at the break.
It was the third-most points scored by a team in a half in Big East history.
"We pulled it back in the third quarter," Schiano said, insisting that his team never intended to run up the score. "[But] I wasn't going to sit there and be part of the biggest comeback in the history of college football."
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