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Summer’s Curtain Call

Before too long the summer wind will not be blowing in from anywhere and Labor Day weekend for many is the curtain-call on the summer season. 

Members of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights celebrate after defeating the Washington State Cougars 41-38 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle
Members of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights celebrate after defeating the Washington State Cougars 41-38 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle (Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

The three months between Memorial Day and Labor Day have been an A+ when it comes to weather and beach-lovers like yours truly can’t remember a better summer at the Jersey Shore.

However, for the most part, my passion for stepping onto the white sand has been replaced by the sights and sounds associated with football. Like it or not, football season is here and Rutgers students, alumni and fans are celebrating a thrilling win in the school’s debut as a member of the Big Ten.

In Seattle last night the Scarlet Knights upset Washington State 41-38 thanks in large part to a 173 yard, three touchdown effort from running back Paul James.

The victory came on the same day the school announced that its Big Ten home opener against Penn State on September 13th is sold out.  Rutgers will come into that game 2-0 as they will likely crush Howard next week and after a tumultuous couple of years fans of the state university can only hope this is the start of something big.

Speaking of Penn State, and I will for a moment, the Nittany Lions open their season tomorrow against Central Florida in a game that will be played in Dublin, Ireland with kickoff at 8:30AM.  Four ex-Shore Conference players will be in uniform for Penn State and a couple could play key roles.

Monmouth Hawks play in their first scrimmage of the season
Monmouth Hawks play in their first scrimmage of the season (Monmouth Athletics)

Former Toms River North standout Chris Gulla will handle the punting chores, true freshman Saeed Blacknall of Manalapan is listed 2nd on the depth chart at one of the wide receiver spots while true freshman Mike Gesicki is the 4th tight end listed.  Former Red Bank Buc Garrett Sickels is a backup defensive end.  Coming off a 12-win season and Fiesta Bowl victory Central Florida is a 2-point favorite in the game.

Monmouth University opens its season tomorrow afternoon at home against Delaware State and among the Hawks defensive starters will be junior cornerback Joe Johnson of Manchester and true freshman safety Mike Basile of Brick Memorial.  The Hawks games can be heard on 1160 & 1310AM, online at ShoreSportsNetwork.com and via the Radio Pup app.

The NFL pre-season concluded last night and Giant fans should feel little joy in the team’s 5-0 record.  The starting offense has looked awful and even against Patriot backups Eli Manning completed just 1-of-4 passes for no yards in two series.

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