Rutgers notched its first Big East win in the Schiano era.
More than that, they did it in style. The Knights dominated the Temple Owls from the initial kickoff to the final play of the game.
Here's how it went.
Early on the Knights held the Owls to two "threes and out", forcing the Owls backward on its second possession. That gave the Knights good field position on its second possession of the game, when a super punt return by Willie Foster gave RU a first and ten on the Temple 45. Five plays later Brian Leonard bulled it in from the one yard line to put the Knights up 7-0.
Rutgers then forced two turnovers by the Owls. An interception by Devraun Thompson ended up in the Knights turning over the ball back over to Temple on interception by the Owls. The Knights, however, took back the ball again on another interception. This time by Jason Grant and this time the Knights took advantage of the Owl turnover. RU drove 45 yards on a combination of passes and power running by Brian Leonard. They finished off the drive on a six yard pass to Brian Leonard putting RU up 14-0 in the first quarter.
In the second quarter the Owls finally put a drive together but it was for naught. Temple drove to the RU 24 but came up empty on a fourth and ten when a field goal attempt went wide. RU quickly got its offense in gear again. On a 76 drive keyed by pass completions to Shawn Tucker, Ray Pilch and Clark Harris, RU upped the margin to 21-0 over the Owls. Once again, it was Brian Leonard who powered the ball into the endzone to give the TD to the Knights.
Late in the second half Temple had a chance to score on the Knights. Ryan Hart fumbled deep in Rutgers territory after taking a brutal hit on a blitz by the Owls. Rutgers, in an amazing defensive display, held the Owls to four and out and continued to shutout on the scoreboard.
The Knights finished the scoring in the first half on a short drive after Temple muffed an attempt to punt the ball. A Ryan Sands field goal put the Knights up 24-0 at the half.
Rutgers initial drive of the second half stalled but a 49 yard field goal by Ryan Sands spotted RU to a 27-0 lead.
Temple finally got on the scoreboard after a Rutgers fumble turned it over on the Knights 27. Temple's spread offense was finally able to capitalize when Walter Washington connected on a touchdown pass to Zamir Abdul-Hakim Cobb.
Rutgers, however, wasn't finished scoring. Sands added another field goal, this one from 37 yards out, late in the third quarter to put the Knights ahead 30-7. The Owls added a meaningless touchdown in the final seconds against the RU second string. The final score was 30-14.
Things to feel good about:
The Knights dominated the game despite missing many of its top players. Tres Moses, Justice Hairston, Bill Beckford and Berk Hutchinson did not play. It didn't matter, Rutgers still dominated on both offense and defense.
Despite the fact that Temple knew that Brian Leonard would become a key player for the Knights due to Hairston's injury, the Owls could not stop Brian. Leonard scored on three touchdowns despite being keyed on the whole game. Leonard also had 9 catches for over 80 yards, including a long of 23.
Ryan Hart had another excellent game. Hart hit 9 separate receivers for over 300 yards of offense. Hart completed 69 per cent of his passes.
Shawn Tucker caught 10 passes for 99 yards despite getting extra attention from the Owls due to the absence of Tres Moses.
True freshman Marcus Daniels started living up to his potential. Daniels had 4 receptions for 50 yards.
The kicking game, which had been a real concern through most of the season, started coming around. Ryan Sands hit three field goals including a long of 46 yards. Joe Radigan punted 3 times for a 46 yards average.
Things to be concerned about:
Nothing, just enjoy.
Rutgers improves to 4-4
Mike Fasano: MikeFasano@comcast.net
Mike and the Big Dog's LLC