If last season’s loss at Rutgers was a nightmare for Michigan, it was a dream come true for the Scarlet Knights. Their first-ever Big Ten win led fans to storm the field after the game ended.
Now in their second season in the conference, the Scarlet Knights are struggling to match their 2014 output, which was charged in large part by a monster season from senior receiver Leonte Carroo. Carroo has played in just five of Rutgers’ eight games this season due to injuries and a suspension following an assault charge earlier in September. The charge was dismissed by a municipal judge in October.
In his five games, Carroo has totaled 527 yards and nine touchdowns for the Scarlet Knights.
The Daily spoke with Carroo at Big Ten Media Days in July to talk about last year’s game, adjusting to the Big Ten and rap feuds.
The Michigan Daily: In your first season in the Big Ten last year, to beat Michigan at home, that must have been a crazy “Welcome to the Big Ten” moment.
Leonte Carroo: It was definitely crazy. It was fun. After Kemoko Turay blocked that field goal, me and (former quarterback Gary Nova) hugged each other and almost cried, and it was just a great feeling to beat one of the most storied programs in college football history at home. It was the best feeling ever.
TMD: Did it set in immediately, or did it take a minute?
LC: It set in immediately. As soon as I heard that, “dun-dun,” after the field goal was blocked, you know the thump from the ball hitting his hand, it was just like, ‘Wow, we really beat Michigan.’ We always had the confidence going into the week that we were going to beat them, but after it happened, you’re just kind of like, ‘Wow.’
It was just very exciting, and you couldn’t wait to storm the field. And I took about 100 photos after the game with fans on the field. Just taking pictures and signing autographs and hugging, found my parents and hugged them. It was just great.
TMD: Was it hard to transition to the Big Ten? I know there are some stylistic differences.
LC: It was a little bit of (a difficult transition). Other than that, we were fine. The Big Ten is a very competitive league, you know. You’ve got to go out there, bring your all, give it your ‘A’ game every single rep. There’s very little margin for error. You’ve got to kind of be disciplined and play hard, and if you don’t, you’re going to end up losing.
TMD: What are some of the things you learned from last year that you’ll be better now for learning?
LC: That we know what to expect. Last year we got our feet wet, but now we know what the Big Ten Conference is about. And we want teams to know that we’re not the stepping stone in the Big Ten. We’re going to come out and we’re going to play our hardest, and we’re going to compete and we’re going to punch people in the mouth. So, they better be ready to play Rutgers.
TMD: I noticed you’re wearing a rose pin. Is that a nod to your aspirations this season?
LC: Yeah, I wear this rose because I want to go to the Rose Bowl.
TMD: What’s the thing about this year’s team that people will be surprised to see?
LC: The way we love each other. This team is way closer than any other team we ever had in the past. You’ve got guys that just will die for each other, and this is the tightest team we’ve ever had. It will show on the field.
TMD: Which of your teammates has the strangest game day habits?
LC: I have to go with probably Darius (Hamilton). I know you guys have been hearing about it all day, but he listens to One Direction and Justin Bieber and stuff like that before games.
TMD: Do you judge a guy for his musical taste?
LC: No, not at all! If that’s what motivates him and gets him pumped before the game….
Darius Hamilton (cutting in): I’m getting so much One Direction love on Twitter right now.
TMD: (Laughs) What’s your pregame music, then?
LC: I listen to Drake. That’s what motivates me and gets me going.
TMD: So how weak was Meek’s diss?
LC: It was so weak.
TMD: It was soft.
LC: It was soft. Drake owned him.