Falling Fast

Rutgers had the ball with 2:13 left in the game and the ball on the RU 20-yard line with two timeouts. In less than a minute, the Scarlet Knights were in Cincinnati's red zone and poised to go ahead. However, RU quarterback Mike Teel lost sight of linebacker Ryan Manalac who made up for a dropped interception earlier in the game and picked off Teel to help secure to win for Cincinnati.

The Bearcats now move to 6-0 (1-0 Big East) on the season while the Scarlet Knights drop to 3-2 (0-1 Big East). Rutgers does not control its own destiny now and must focus on getting back on track before they visit Syracuse on Saturday.

"There are no excuses," RU Head Coach Greg Schiano said. "You just have to go back to work and get better. I'm not ashamed of anything we did. We fought our tails off and it wasn't good enough tonight. We have to work hard and work smarter and see how we can do it."

Teel was involved with four turnovers on the game. He threw three interceptions and he had trouble with a snap during the game that led to a fumble recovery for Cincinnati. However, Teel was not given much help by his running game. Rutgers running back Ray Rice did not net 100 yards for the third straight game and only averaged 2.8 yards per carry on Saturday. The running game for the Scarlet Knights has not nearly matched the expectations that were placed on Rice as a possible Heisman candidate during the preseason.

"I thought Ray ran hard tonight," Coach Schiano said. "This is the hardest I've seen him run all year. That's a good Cincinnati defense. They're a senior laden defense that doesn't get out of position very much and that's what they've been hanging their hat on all year."

Cincinnati continues to control its own destiny in the Big East and will have to lose twice for Rutgers to even have a shot to win the Big East this year. Bearcat Head Coach Brian Kelly was just happy to get out of New Jersey with a win.

"We played a sloppy first half," Coach Kelly said. "I was really proud of how the kids came out and put together a good third quarter. We grew up tonight. We started off jittery at first, but we knew we were young with some experience mixed in. They really settled down as time went on and made some plays."

Defense dominated the game early as Rutgers and Cincinnati combined did not register a first down on six of the first seven drives.

Rutgers would eventually break through first on a defensive touchdown. Cornerback Devin McCourty returned an interception for 36 yards for the first score of the game. Cincinnati would answer quickly with a quick 79 yard, one minute and 48 second drive that was capped off by a 15-yard touchdown catch by wide receiver Dominick Goodman to even the score at 7-7.

The Scarlet Knights were able to take a 17-7 halftime lead on a one-yard touchdown run by Rice. Cincinnati hurt themselves twice with penalties while RU was in the red zone that helped the Knights score.

"When we came back in during the half we had to say here we go you guys have to play flawless in the second half to win this foot ball game and the guys responded," Coach Kelly said.

Cincy answered early in the third quarter with an eight play drive that went 46 yards and was dominated by Bearcat running back Bradley Glatthaar, who had both a 25-yard run that brought the ball down to the 15-yard line and a three yard carry for the touchdown, to cut the lead to 17-14.

Cincinnati linebacker Manalac dropped an interception on third down inside the 10 with 3:28 left in the third quarter that allowed Rutgers to settle for three points on a Jeremy Ito field goal to push the Scarlet Knights lead to 20-14.

Cincinnati answered the Ito field goal with a 61-yard touchdown drive that was finished off by Maul throwing a two-yard pass to Marcus Barnett.

Once Rutgers got the ball back, linebacker Andre Revels picked off Teel. The Bearcats scored on the next play with another touchdown throw from Mauk to wide out Marshawn Gilyard for 27-yards. The extra point by Jake Rogers put Cincinnati in front 28-20.

Rutgers would score a field goal in the fourth quarter but would be unable to come up with a score when it counted the most, on the final drive where Manalac picked off Teel.

"Mike Teel is one of the toughest competitors I've ever been around," Coach Schiano said. "Mike got hit in the first quarter on his thumb. He got a splint put on it, threw on the sidelines and said he was okay. I think he was okay and he is okay but it may have affected his game some."

Cincinnati quarterback Ben Mauk on the other hand went 20 for 37 on the game with 257 yards and three touchdowns. Mauk did get picked off once but he also made the plays necessary to give the Bearcats the chance to win.

"I don't know if we showed the rest of the country something today," Mauk said. "I think we came out and played hard. Everyone said we would have to face some adversity to see what kind of team we really were.

"And we came out down 17-7 in the second half and bounced right back and got a lead there. I did not play my best today but the defense played really well and people made plays on offense. We were fortunate to come out with the win."

Rutgers must now figure out how they are going to come back from this. Two straight loses is uncommon in this resurgence of RU Football and as defensive tackle Eric Foster said in the locker room following the game, they are not used to losing games.

The Knights will be meeting up Sunday to start to begin their weekly process over again, which includes figuring out what went wrong on Saturday and where they need to improve coming into next weekend.

"It was a tough game tonight," Rice said. "We played a great opponent and we lost. Now we just have to face the adversity and come out next week and be prepared for Syracuse. This is something we will overcome. We'll come out and practice and make the corrections we need to. We'll get healthy and come back."


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