Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano made a bold move earlier in the week when he announced that Sr. Ryan Hart, a starter for a school-record 32 straight games, would be benched in favor of the younger redshirt Fr. Mike Teel. Though Teel didn't have a story-book stat line, he did look good at times, especially early on.
Teel went 13-for-27 for 203 yards, with 2 TDs and 2 INTs. He showed poise and good awareness in the pocket at times. He also showed his youth at other times, signalling areas where improvement must be made if this current Rutgers team is to take the next step toward that dreaded "B" word.
In the end, most of the attention should be reserved for the bottom line: a Rutgers victory. And a convincing one at that.
An opportunistic Corey Barnes returned a blocked punt and a fumble for touchdowns giving the converted WR two scores on the day. Early in the second quarter, after a Perry Patterson pass was incomplete to WR JJ Bedle and a Syracuse penalty (holding) on JJ Bedle was declined, Brendan Carney's punt was blocked by Manny Collins and scooped up by Barnes who ran it in untouched.
The next three possessions, soon to be forgotten by both teams, resulted in a total of 10 plays that took 3:09 off the clock. Both teams looked out of sync offensively. Rutgers would receive the ball back at the 8:03 mark of the second quarter and put together a 5-play and 70-yard drive capped off by a Teel to Moses 38 yard TD pass. After the Ito extra-point, Rutgers extended their lead to 17-0.
And the rout was on.
Rutgers has a new all-time leading receiver in Sr. WR Tres Moses. With his 37-yard TD reception in the second quarter (172 career receptions) Moses passed former All-America TE Marco Battaglia, who had 171 receptions from 1992-95.
So. Specialist Jeremy Ito's 51-yard first quarter field goal that got Rutgers on the board, established a new career long, besting his previous mark of 48 yards.
All indications pointed to one or more true Fr. seeing their first action of the year. Indeed true Fr. LB Chris Quaye and So. FB EJ Barthel saw playing time on Special Teams.
With the 4th quarter lead in hand, Rutgers dominated the clock, holding on to the ball for 11:07 of the entire fourth quarter.
With 17 attempts, 13-yards being the longest carry, Raymell Rice rushed the ball for 81 yards resulting in a 4.8ypc. Jr. FB Brian Leonard added 37 yards on the ground to his 66 in the air to total 103 all-purpose yards on the day.
Rutgers LB Quintero Frierson led the Scarlet Knights in both total tackles (9) and solo tackles (6). RU LB Devraun Thompson added 7 and 5, respectively, including one sack resulting in an 8-yard loss. OLB Chenry Lewis was effective contributing 6 total tackles, 1 pass break-up, and one and one-half tackles for loss, including a half a sack.
Though Rutgers dominated the scoreboard, the total number of offensive plays was in favor of the Scarlet Knights by a slim margin: 67-65.
With the victory, Rutgers moves into second place in the Big East Conference, tied with Pittsburgh. Both teams hold a record of 2 wins and 1 loss.