Rutgers Overwhelms Syracuse 38-14

Rutgers (4-2, 1-1) started off slowly but finished strong on Saturday afternoon. RU concluded the game with 38 consecutive points in defeating the Orange for the third straight time. Rutgers Football Head Coach Greg Schiano is now 4 and 3 versus SU during his tenure on the Banks.

After falling behind 14-0 at Syracuse, Rutgers reeled off 38 consecutive points in handing the Orange their third straight defeat at the hands of the Scarlet Knights. Trailing by two scores, RS Jr. QB Mike Teel connected on a 2nd and 13 with TE Kevin Brock for 8 yards. The completion was significant for two reasons: Rutgers had converted 1 first down on the day until that point (on 2 prior possessions), and Brock's reception was only the third of the year by a Scarlet Knight TE. Opposing linebackers have been able to cheat in due to the lack of downfield presence from the TE spot, but this catch may have signaled an end to this RU offensive deficiency.

On the very next play Teel connected with Kenny Britt on an out pattern for about 25-yards. Britt showed his strength and dragged Nicholas Chestnut for about 15 yards on the sideline before the hard-hitting Michael Holmes assisted on the tackle. The play went for 40 yards and gave Rutgers a 1st and goal from inside the Syracuse 5-yard line. The Scarlet Knights would score 3 plays later on the first of Ray Rice's 3 touchdown runs.

After being bottled up for consecutive games, Rice showed the characteristic endurance that has become his trademark. Rice finished just shy of his fifth career 200-yard game, recording 196 yards on 26 carries. Rice also added 4 receptions on the day, for 27 yards.

The day, however, belonged to Rutgers So. wide-out Kenny Britt. Britt made each of his 6 receptions count as he amassed 176 receiving yards (a new career high), including a long of 42-yards that went for paydirt. Britt displayed both speed and strength in making the Orange secondary chase after him all day and showed that stopping 2 of RU's 3-headed WR monster is simply not enough.

Syracuse needed a total of 10 plays and 105 yards on its first 2 possessions to take a two touchdown lead midway through the first quarter. The Orange's first score was aided by a Ben Maljovec interception at the SU 27 yard line. Maljovec returned the pick for 52 yards, into Rutgers territory. Three plays later, and an Andrew Robinson to Mike Williams 16-yard pass play, saw the Orange stake their claim to the early lead. Syracuse, however, managed very little offensively from the second quarter onwards.

Rutgers' defense and special teams controlled the flow of the game from the 2nd quarter on. Brandon Renkart deflected a pass play that would have extended the Syracuse drive at the 14:04 mark of the 2nd quarter. After Rutgers stopped the Orange on third down, Rutgers brought two waves of pressure after Mike Long, and Devin McCourty came in untouched to block Long's punt attempt. Julian Hayes recovered the ball on the 1-yard line and Ray Rice scored on the very next play, tying the score at 14-14.

Syracuse Head Coach Greg Robinson certainly gave Rutgers all the bulletin board material it wanted in calling the Scarlet Knights program a "one year wonder" during interviews conducted prior to game day. While Rutgers still needs to demonstrate long-term success on the gridiron, the Scarlet Knights have most certainly demonstrated that they've turned around a series that the Orange had previously controlled. RU has won the last three straight meetings with the Orange and Greg Schiano is now 4-3 in his tenure versus SU. During the last 3 meetings, RU has outscored Syracuse by a combined score of 107-30.

After a successful beginning, Syracuse netted a measly 165 yards of total offense after their initial pair of drives. Rutgers blitzed from all angles and placed significant pressure on Andrew Robinson (15-32, 158 yards, 1 TD, 1INT). The Scarlet Knight defense recorded 5 sacks on the day, upping their season total to 16 for the 2007 campaign, and pressured Robinson all day long.

Offensively, Rutgers got back to what it does best: running the ball. RU rushed for a team total of 228 yards behind much improved offensive line play. Additionally, Teel (20-29, 310 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT) shredded the Syracuse secondary while putting the nail in the proverbial coffin with a 32-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Brock at the 13:03 mark of the 4th quarter. Teel's connection with Brock came immediately after true Fr. Joe Lefeged's hit of Robinson's elbow caused his pass to miss the mark and fall into the waiting hands of true Fr. Jonathan Freeny.

Rice's three TD scores have tied him for fifth in the Big East, all-time, in touchdowns scored (38). Rice also recorded the 18th career 100-yard game of his career before giving way to true Fr. Mason Robinson. Robinson (6 carries for 29 yards) reeled off a couple of runs resulting in 1st downs, including a long of 17 yards, in helping melt the 4th quarter clock.

Rutgers will next be in action this upcoming Thursday night as the Scarlet Knights host #5 South Florida. USF (6-0) routed UCF earlier on Saturday, 64-12, to remain undefeated.

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