The Rutgers Scarlet Knights were predicted to finish last in the Big East in the preseason polls.
Many prognosticators thought they would not even win a conference game. Well, those doubters have likely changed their tune as Rutgers has already defeated Pittsburgh who was predicted to finish second and Syracuse who was picked fourth or fifth in most polls.
The key to the success for Rutgers, particularly on the offensive side of the ball has been junior do-it-all wide receiver Mohamed Sanu.
Sanu is having a huge year with 555 yards and five touchdowns on 55 receptions. He has had three monster games when his team needed him the most, including 16 receptions for 176 yards and two touchdowns in a 12-point victory over Ohio.
He had 13 catches for 119 yards and a touchdown in Rutgers only loss of the season, 24-22 at North Carolina. Last weekend in a 21-20 victory over Navy, Sanu had 10 catches for 100 yards.
He has clearly been the difference on a team that was projected to struggle scoring points all season.
Sanu spent a lot of his life growing up in Sierre Leone, Africa. His family eventually settled in New Brunswick, New Jersey where he starred at the high school level.
Sanu turned 20 before his freshman season at Rutgers and was a little more seasoned than most true freshmen. That helped him produce big numbers for a true freshman.
He had 51 receptions for 639 yards and three touchdowns that season. He was also a dual-threat and took numerous snaps out of the Wildcat formation. Sanu rushed for 346 yards and five more touchdowns on 62 carries. At 6’2″ and 218 pounds he is a load to stop coming out of the backfield.
He became the first true freshman to start at wide receiver under head coach Greg Schiano and won MVP honors of the 2009 St. Petersburg bowl in a 45-24 Rutgers victory over Central Florida.
Last season as a sophomore, Sanu had a somewhat down year with only two touchdowns and 418 yards on 41 receptions. He did carry the ball 59 times for 309 yards and four more touchdowns.
This season, Sanu burst back onto the scene and has been one of the biggest reasons for the success of Rutgers.
With the season now officially halfway over, there is still a lot of football to be played. The Scarlet Knights however are in the drivers seat and have a big showdown next weekend against West Virginia in what should be a battle of the top two teams in the conference.
One thing is for sure, if Rutgers does win the Big East for the first time in school history, a lot of their success can be attributed to one man, Mohamed Sanu.