WVU beats Rutgers 31-3

No. 7 West Virginia played like a top ten team controlling Rutgers 31-3 from kickoff until the alma mater was played in rain-soaked Rutgers Stadium. The game was characterized by Rutgers mistakes, including multiple dropped touchdown passes and key penalties that halted potential scoring drives.

Rutgers Head Coach Schiano spoke early in the week that big plays and turnovers are what win games. Steve Slaton and Pat White of West Virginia both had gains of at least 50-yards during the game. Meanwhile, Rutgers turned the ball over two times on interceptions compared to none by West Virginia.

"We did not tackle the way should and we did not catch the football," Coach Schiano said. "We dropped too many passes, and some of them were touchdown passes. We dropped three touchdown passes. Are they tough catches? Some of them are, but they are catches we need to make."

West Virginia outscored Rutgers in every quarter. The Mountaineers had already amassed a 17-3 lead by halftime before it all fell apart for the Scarlet Knights in the third quarter.

Rutgers was plagued throughout the game with miscues. Wide receiver Kenny Britt and Tim Brown were called for penalties on back-to-back plays that stalled a drive at the end of the first quarter.

On the ensuring drive, West Virginia had a third and seven from the RU 32-yard line and the snap went over Mountaineer quarterback Pat White's head. White fell on the ball back on the WVU 45-yard line. On the ensuing play, the punt by West Virginia went off of Ramy Nubani's foot, which allowed the Mountaineers to recover the ball at the 32-yard line of Rutgers. Five plays later, White would rush the ball in for a touchdown after recovering his own fumble, putting West Virginia up 14-0.

On Rutgers initial drive of the second half, a holding penalty called on left tackle Pedro Sosa during a second and one play from the West Virginia 14, halted a drive that looked destined for the end zone. The Scarlet Knights had to attempt a 41-yard field goal that was short and missed to the right. Instead of marching downfield for the score and inching closer to the Mountaineers, RU stubbed its toe and essentially put itself out of commission.

West Virginia scored a crushing blow on its second possession of the second half when the Mountaineers scored on a one-yard touchdown run by Slaton that put Rutgers down 24-3. It was a screen pass from White to Slaton that went for 51-yards down to the 27-yard line of Rutgers that set up the score.

"Certainly there's not another [Steve] Slaton anywhere, let alone on a scout team," Coach Schiano said. "We try to assimilate the best we can, but as you saw we had three guys to the ball several times but we couldn't get him to the ground."

Slaton rushed the ball 16 times for 82 yards, along with the 51-yard reception he had. White added 172 yards on the ground on 22 carries. West Virginia out ran Rutgers 302-185. Both players ran well, but missed tackles also played into some big plays.

"We didn't tackle well because I felt that we didn't just let it fly," Coach Schiano said. "I think we were a little apprehensive about tackling Steve and Pat, and when we broke down the play they were fast and quick enough to get around us."

Coach Schiano pointed out that part of the problem was his players not making plays, but also West Virginia had to be given credit as well. The Mountaineer players noticed that perhaps it was their ability that caused some of the mistakes.

"Especially in the 4th quarter, some of the post patterns they ran, they were just dropping some balls," WVU defensive back Vaughn Rivers said. "I think it started getting in the back of their minds, where they were expecting to be hit every time they caught the ball."

Rutgers has UConn on its schedule next Saturday. With the loss to the Mountaineers, the Scarlet Knights no longer control their own destiny to win the Big East. Rutgers must regroup and try to figure out how to get better if the program os to reach a third consecutive bowl game.

"You can't throw this one game all in one basket," defensive tackle Eric Foster said. "That wasn't us out there today. Until we give our best and do our best that is when you can really judge where we're at. That wasn't us out there." It may not have been, but it is the Scarlet Knight's third loss of the season.

Ray Rice became the first running back in Rutgers history to rush for 1,000 yards three straight seasons in a row… Redshirt freshman Andres Morales got his first career start… RU quarterback Mike Teel threw for 128 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions… Rutgers back up quarterback Jabu Lovelace rushed seven times for 37 yards.

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