Rutgers Secures Bowl Eligibility

Rutgers Football (6-4, 2-3) ended their 2-game slide by defeating Army 41-6, in West Point. The Scarlet Knights dominated the ground game, ate up the clock in major chunks, and as a result of the victory, have secured bowl eligibility for the third consecutive season.

Rutgers controlled the action from start to finish, eating up 39:04 of the 60 game minutes. Rutgers' offense racked up 446 total yards, 404 of which were on the ground. The Rutgers offensive line dominated the smaller Army defensive line, to the tune of 72 carries and 5.2 yards per rush. The majority of that work was due to a stellar performance from Ray Rice and a strong contribution from Jabu Lovelace. True Fr. Mason Robinson also contributed 14 4-th quarter carries for 82 yards, including a long of 16. In contrast, the Rutgers defense held Army to 97 rush yards on the evening, and 152 total yards. The Black Knights did not convert a single third down attempt while Rutgers converted 25 first downs, 9 of which were on 3rd downs.

Rutgers started quickly amidst the numerous chilly raindrops at West Point. Tiquan Underwood, who has seen his responsibilities expand to KO return specialist in recent weeks, returned Owen Tolsen's opening kickoff for 48 yards to the Army 45-yard line. The ensuing 7-play and 45-yard TD drive served as a primer in offensive line play as the Scarlet Knights ran the ball 7 consecutive plays, the 4 initial carries by Ray Rice and the last 3 by Jabu Lovelace. After the ensuing RU kickoff, Army could muster only a single offensive play before Ron Girault forced a Patrick Mealy fumble at the Army 41-yard line. Two plays later, however, Mike Teel telegraphed a pass across the field which was intercepted by Josh Mitchell who would return it 65 yards for an Army TD. The extra point would miss its target and RU woould remain in front, 7-6.

Special Teams continued to be an adventure for the Scarlet Knights though the group came up with a major play after the Black Knights' lone first half touchdown. The Scarlet Knight's third possession of the game stalled at the Army 33-yard line, forcing a Jeremy Ito punt. After a Black Knights 4-n-out, Owen Tolson's punt attempt was blocked, then scooped and returned by Colin McEvoy for an RU TD. Ito's ensuing extra point put Rutgers ahead 14-6.

Ray Rice posted his most impressive statistical game of his career, rushing for 84 yards in the first quarter alone. Rice carried the ball 34 times for 243 yards through three full quarters of play and one play of the fourth quarter – the mark established a new single game Rutgers record, breaking the previous mark of 232 yards held by former Scarlet Knight Terrell Willis. As a result, Rice also established a new personal best, passing his previous mark of 225 yards set last season versus Pittsburgh.

After jumping out to a 24-6 halftime lead, Rutgers' first and last pass attempt of the second half came on a 3rd and long 4th quarter pass play from within Army territory that dropped incomplete in the Black Knight's endzone. The Scarlet Knights attempted only 12 passes during the entirety of the contest versus Army, completing only 3 for a total of 42 yards. Mike Teel began the game for RU and was spelled intermittently by Jabu Lovelace in the early going. Lovelace, however, would remain in the game from the second quarter onwards, completing 2 out of 8 passes for 28 yards. Lovelace did rush the ball 23 times for 81 yards, including a pair of touchdowns.

The Scarlet Knights will next be in action on Saturday, November 17th, when they host Pittsburgh.

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