Unfathomable Decisions Lead to Loss

Inexplicable. If there was one word to describe the Scarlet Knights' loss to South Florida, that would be it. The Knights had a series of unthinkable plays that ultimately decided the outcome of the game. Declining a delay of game penalty on 4th and 1 - inexplicable. Pulling up instead of laying out for a punt block - inexplicable. Throwing a soft toss directly to the other team instead of taking the sack - inexplicable.

Each one of those decisions could have changed the momentum of the game. The game started poorly for the Knights. Rutgers allowed a well rested South Florida team to march down the field on its first drive. Then, senior quarterback Ryan Hart threw a pass which was intercepted, but was at first flagged for pass interference. The refs conferred, decided that the ball had been tipped at the line of scrimmage, and the penalty was withdrawn.

Touchdown USF.

The next drive Hart was blind sided, leading to a fumble and another USF touchdown.

21-0 USF at the end of the first quarter.

But Rutgers fought back, cutting the lead to 31-14. But it could have been closer. With 2 minutes left in the half South Florida had a 4th and 1 at the Rutgers 45. Even though Rutgers wasn't stopping their running game they decided to take the delay of game penalty in order to have a better chance of pinning Rutgers down inside the ten.

And then the inexplicable happened. Rutgers Head Coach Greg Schiano declined the penalty. In the post game press conference Schiano admitted that the move was "boneheaded". South Florida reconsidered, went for and made the first down and wound up kicking a field goal. With two minutes left and three timeouts the Knights would have had plenty of time to drive he length of the field and score. 31-14 could have been 28-14 or even 28-21.

Coming out of halftime the Rutgers defense kicked into high gear, and the crowd finally started to get going. Rutgers stopped South Florida and then scored a field goal.


Hart has a pass tipped up in their air and intercepted. South Florida scores, but has the extra point blocked.


Brian Leonard dives over the pile for a one yard touchdown. 37-24.

Hart redeems himself by throwing a 43 yard strike to senior receiver Tres Moses. Tight end Clark Harris catches a 4 yard pass for the touchdown. 37-31.

The crowd is really rocking. The RRRRRRR UUUUUUU chant is louder than ever.

Then, it looks like the Knights luck has run out. Hart tries to scramble, but has the ball stripped, and, to add insult to injury, is injured on the play. South Florida drives to the five yard line, but is forced to kick the field goal. This would make it a two possession game with just 6:30 remaining.

But Rutgers blocks it. You can feel the energy in the crowd. Rutgers is going to drive the field, eat up the clock and win the game by one point. More proof in the proverbial pudding that the college football gods had finally decided to smile on the once tormented program.

Enter redshirt freshmen Mike Teel. Replacing the injured Hart, Teel throws a strike to wide receiver Shawn Tucker for a 12 yard gain. Ray Rice rushes for a first down.

So far so good, everything is going to plan. Then on 2 and 11 Mike Teel is forced from the pocket. He scrambles to his right.

And then the inexplicable happens again.

He tosses it directly to a South Florida defender.

And that's it.

Any hope of a comeback is gone. The crowd begins the mass exodus. For one day Rutgers was that Same Old Inexplicable Rutgers.

As Schiano put it, quite succinctly, "You either get it done or you lose."

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