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Jai Patel earns Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week honors



Sep 9, 2023; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights place kicker Jai Patel (44) slaps hands with head coach Greg Schiano after a field goal during the first half against the Temple Owls at SHI Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers place kicker Jay Patel was named Special Teams Player of the Week by the Big Ten on Monday for his week 2 performance against Temple. Patel was 3 of 3 from field goal range including makes from 51 yards, 43 yards and 23 yards. The 51 yarder is tied for seventh longest in program history. He added three extra points in the 36-7 victory.

Patel is the first Rutgers kicker to ever earn the Big Ten weekly honor. He is the first player to win Special Teams Player of the Week honors since punter Adam Korsak won in November 2021.

After making 1 of 2 attempts in his first career game against Northwestern, head coach Greg Schiano showed faith in his young kicker. Trusting him from such a long distance early in the game paid off and Patel’s confidence grew after connecting from 51 yards out.

If Patel had come up empty on either kick, it would have been a different dynamic at that stage of the game. Instead, his makes gave Rutgers a comfortable enough lead that when Temple finally scored early in the fourth quarter, the team didn’t panic and finished the game with 23 unanswered points. Patel finished his perfect game with a 23 yard make that put the score at 22-7 before RU scored two late touchdowns.

Patel is now 4 of 5 on field attempts on the season.

After the game, Schiano explained how Patel proved he could deliver in moments like this past Saturday.

You know, it was really in the spring. He won the job in the spring,” explained Schiano. “He was very consistent in the spring and then in the summer just continued to do that. Coming out of spring, he was the one, and he just kept doing it and same thing in training camp.”

Rutgers hopes Patel can continue to deliver this season and his strong start bodes well for the long term.

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  1. thevinman

    September 11, 2023 at 12:45 pm

    So nice to have a kicked who can make long FGs.

    • pj43

      September 11, 2023 at 3:33 pm

      Patel seems confident & composed from what I could tell from his demeanor. Even last week when his FG attempt hit the upright, it didn’t seem to affect him. I didn’t realize that he had that kind of FG range.

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