"It's obviously a very frustrating game," Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano said following the 24-7 defeat to the Bulldogs. "We just didn't come out and play the way we're capable of playing today."
"That starts and ends with me. That's my job."
Then again, the Scarlet Knights also failed to produce much on offense, dropping catches and an inexperienced kicking game, which lost long-time place kicker Jeremy Ito.
San San Te, a redshirt sophomore, missed two field goals, the second one a 21-yard chip shot, which Jeremy Branch snapped too low for Andrew DePaola to handle.
"San San did not do very well today, but I've seen him do well and I know he'll be fine," Schiano said of Te, who struggled in front 42,508 fans, the 11th consecutive sellout at Rutgers Stadium.
Instead of converting those two scoring opportunities and one on fourth down inside the five, the Knights' veteran offense inexplicably sputtered on a beautiful, sunny Labor Day.
Just ask Mike Teel who quarterbacked them to merely seven points, completed 20-39 for 263 yards, two interceptions and zero touchdowns.
"It's disappointing, it's frustrating because we kind of moved the ball up and down the field, but whatever reason, we couldn't put the ball in the endzone," he said afterwards. "It's frustrating."
Teel's favorite target, Kenny Britt, caught 6 passes for 89 yards in the first half, but the Bulldogs double- and triple-teamed RU's most explosive weapon and limited him to a non-entity after halftime.
Similarly, it was a tail of two separate 30-minute frames for the ‘Dogs. They managed just five first downs and punted on all six first-half possessions; they manufactured three offensive touchdowns and a field goal after intermission, including seven plays of 25 yards or more.
On the opening drive of the second half, the Bulldogs efficiently marched down the field. Kevin Goessling booted a 31-yard try for the early 3-0 lead.
Rutgers punted on its ensuing possession and Fresno went right back to work.
It didn't take long.
Tom Brandstater, who, like Teel, is starting for the third consecutive season, caught the Knights' secondary off-guard on a perfect play-action pass to Seyi Ajirotutu.
If not for safety Courtney Greene's last-second tackle, the 77-yard grab would have extended into the southern endzone. Tailback Ryan Mathews finished what Brandstater started, extending the score to 10-0 on the next play.
Along with Mathews' 165-yard afternoon, the FSU succeeded on the ground, earning 222 on 39 carries, as it used a four-back rotation.
Mathews said he did not wear down and the alternating backfield kept their legs fresh.
Although Brandstater completed less than half of his throws (11-24), he smoked the RU defense in key situations, finished with 216 yards in the air and completed the Bulldogs' balanced offense.
With the Knights trailing 10-7, after Kordell Young's rushing TD, their defense faced a third-and-23 on their own 32. Ajirotutu slipped in between Zaire Kitchen and Devin McCourty, who was also beaten by the junior earlier, for a first down.
Mathews sealed the victory with two more rushing scores.
"We still have a lot of work to do, but to travel across the country and to beat a Rutgers team in their stadium, I am very, very proud of our team's performance," Fresno coach Pat Hill said. "To me, it's about getting a ‘W.' We got the win here."
In his first career start, Young, a redshirt sophomore, rushed for a career-best 94 yards and a score.
His effort impressed an obviously, distraught Teel, who has nine days to recover before RU hosts UNC next Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN.
"He ran the ball well," Teel said of Young. "Again, it's the pass game's job to move the ball on third and give the offense a chance to score points. We didn't do that."
Rutgers Has A Disappointing Loss
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