Rutgers rebounds with rout of Syracuse

Brian Leonard become Rutgers' career scoring leader and the No. 15 Scarlet Knights moved within a win of earning their first Big East championship with a 38-7 victory over Syracuse on Saturday.

The once-downtrodden Scarlet Knights (10-1, 5-1) can clinch the league and a berth in the Bowl Championship Series, the rewards of a storybook season, by beating No. 7 West Virginia on the road next Saturday in what will easily be the biggest game for the school that was the birthplace of college football in 1869.

The 10-win season is only the second in school history, one shy of the mark set by the Scarlet Knights' undefeated team in 1976. They were honored at halftime Saturday.

Leonard rushed for 106 yards and scored on a pair of 2-yard, second-half TD runs, giving 266 points. That broke the mark of 261 set kicker Kennan Starzell from 1976-79.

A week after throwing a career-worst four interceptions in a Rutgers' shocking loss to Cincinnati, Mike Teel rebounded with touchdown passes of 38 and 28 yards to a wide-open Kenny Britt.

Ray Rice ran for 107 yards and a touchdown and Jeremy Ito added a 32-yard field goal.

Safety Courtney Greene had an interception and a forced fumble as the Scarlet Knights kept Syracuse (4-8, 1-6) off the scoreboard until Andrew Robinson hit Jawad Nesheiwat with a 14-yard touchdown pass with 7:44 to go.

Rutgers dominated from the start despite having Willie Foster's 99-yard touchdown return on the opening kickoff nullified by an illegal block.

Taking over at their own 12, Rutgers needed eight plays to find the end zone, aided by a 15-yard facemask penalty on Tanard Jackson on a third-down sack. Two plays later Teel and Britt combined for a 22-yard pass. Rice capped the drive with a 10-yard run, his 17th touchdown of the season. The 100-yard game was his eighth of the season.

Greene picked off a fluttering pass by Perry Patterson on the next possession and returned it 26 yards to the Syracuse 38. On first down, Rutgers went with play-action and Teel found Britt all alone for a walk-in score.

A 33-yard punt gave Rutgers the ball at its own 49 late in the second quarter and Rutgers needed seven plays to extend the lead to 21-0 at halftime. A hurdling Leonard got 10 yards early in the drive and Teel capped it, hitting Britt on a post pattern. It was only the second time this season Teel has thrown two touchdowns in a game.

Leonard scored on Rutgers opening drive of the second half on a 2-yard run. The nine-play drive covered 48 yards, all on the ground. He capped the scoring by carrying the last nine plays for 48 yards, going the final 2 yards with :08 to go.

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