Pittsburgh Rolls Past Rutgers, 41-21

PITTSBURGH -- Rutgers had plenty on its mind as it kicked off Saturday at Pittsburgh, and though the Scarlet Knights got back to playing football after last week's tragic spinal cord injury with Eric LeGrand, the on-field result was not good. Rutgers allowed 513 yards of offense, gave up seven more sacks and were pushed around Heinz Field.

PITTSBURGH – Rutgers didn't blame it on the emotion of the week, or a lack of focus or anything else, other than to admit it got beaten badly.

Another disheartening display by the offense was coupled with a defense that couldn't stay away from allowing the big play or get off the field in the second half.

As a result, Rutgers' two-game winning streak was halted emphatically, a 41-21 defeat to Pittsburgh at Heinz Field on Saturday that capped a depressing week.

It was Rutgers' first game since junior defensive tackle Eric LeGrand was paralyzed from the waist down a week ago against Army, and the defense allowed 513 yards, the offense had the ball for only 11:26 in the second half and turned the ball over two times.

"Well, we got whooped today in all three phases," Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said. "We struggled to protect the passer, we played on a short field …and defensively we didn't play like we‘re capable of playing. When that happens in all three phases, that's on me."

Rutgers (4-3, 1-1 Big East) now gets a much needed break to reflect on what transpired, and where it goes from here. The Scarlet Knights do not play again until a Nov. 3 contest at South Florida.

"It' sucks to have what happened last week and then come into a game and try to carry life on when one of your brothers is hurting like that," Rutgers cornerback David Rowe said. "It's no excuses. We just got our butts whooped.

"I believe we do (need a break)," It can only help at this point."

Despite being tied 14-14 at the half, thanks to a tremendous first drive and a blocked punt, Rutgers couldn't muster anything in the second half and put together a third straight fantastic ending.

In fact, Rutgers offense mustered 36 yards in the second half until quarterback Tom Savage came off the bench and led a six play, 64-yard touchdown drive in the closing minutes.

Starting quarterback Chas Dodd was sacked six times (and Savage once) and finished 8 of 19 for 62 yards and an interception.

"They (Pittsburgh's secondary) showed us exactly what we had prepared for," Dodd said. "We didn't make the plays we should have been making."

Pittsburgh (4-3, 2-0) quarterback Tino Sunseri was 21 of 27 for 307 yards and three scores, including a pair to tight end Mike Cruz.

Jon Baldwin, a 6-foot-5 receiver, had his way down the field against smaller defensive backs and made five catches for 139 yards, including a 45-yard jump ball touchdown over Rowe early in the fourth quarter to ice the game as Pittsburgh went ahead 41-14.

Panthers running back Dion Lewis ran 17 times for 130 yards, including a 22-yard score, and Ray Graham added 56 yards on 14 carries. He had a 13-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

"I thought those running backs ran extremely well," Schiano said. "We had multiple opportunities behind the line of scrimmage for loss yardage plays, and we didn't tackle very well but I think those backs had a lot to do with that. And then we made some mistakes in critical situations, where you have it just right and we makes a mistakes and don't cover the right guy. You can look at a lot of different things, but that's my job, to make sure we do the right things."

A blocked punt late in the first half allowed Rutgers to tie it 14-14 when Brandon Bing recovered the ball in the end zone, and the Scarlet Knights had a chance to take the lead when Graham fumbled on the next possession.

However, in what has been a calling card the last two weeks for the Scarlet Knights' offense, a first-and-10 from the Pittsburgh 40-yard line turned into a fourth-and-30 after a pair of sacks and an incomplete pass.

Rutgers opened the second half with the ball, but freshman running back Jordan Thomas fumbled at the end of a 15-yard run and Pittsburgh recovered.

And the Scarlet Knights never did.

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