Friday, October 19, 2007

Rutgers stops second-ranked South Florida

By Eric Redner
The Phanatic Magazine

Mike Teel threw a pair of touchdowns to Tiquan Underwood as Rutgers upset second-ranked South Florida, 30-27, at Rutgers Stadium.

It was the third straight week the No. 2 team has lost, as Stanford defeated USC on October 6 and Oregon State beat California last Saturday.

Teel went 11-for-29 with 179 yards while Underwood had five receptions for 114 yards for the Scarlet Knights (5-2, 2-1 Big East), who have won their last two games. Ray Rice had 39 carries for 181 yards in the win.

"I think Ray has run tremendously all year," Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano said. "He just keeps running harder and harder. Last week, he ran as hard as I have seen him run, and I think he did it again tonight. He was carrying people on his back. He's on a mission."

Matt Grothe went 17-for-34 with 247 yards, a touchdown and an interception, and added a score on the ground for the Bulls (6-1, 1-1), who had eight straight victories dating back to last season. Jessie Hester had three catches for 55 yards and a score.

"We did not protect very good," stated South Florida head coach Jim Leavitt. "We have to get the ball off and Matt probably held onto the ball too much instead of getting rid of the ball. They were getting through there. We all saw the same thing. You have to be a little disappointed, possibly with the offensive line. There are a number of factors there."

South Florida, which had never been ranked prior to this season, is in just its seventh season as a full-time member of the FBS.

Rutgers grabbed the initial lead in the game on its first possession on a 26- yard field goal from Jeremy Ito a little less than five minutes in. The drive was helped when Ito and James Townsend hooked up on a 36-yard reception on a fake punt.

The Bulls answered, though, on their ensuing possession as Delbert Alvarado hit a 47-yard field goal with 6:27 remaining in the first.

After holding the Scarlet Knights to a three-and-out on the next touch, South Florida took the lead as Grothe's 18-yard touchdown run made it a 10-3 game with 3:58 left in the first. Grothe and Benjamin Williams had runs of 14 and 15 yards, respectively, to start the five-play, 57-yard drive.

Rutgers tied the game when Teel found Underwood in the end zone from three yards out to cap a 13-play, 73-yard drive that ate up almost six minutes of clock time and spanned parts of the first and second quarters.

The Bulls answered later in the second quarter as Grothe hooked up with Hester on a 28-yard score for a 17-10 lead with 7:10 to play in the first half. On the previous play, South Florida punted the ball away, but Tim Brown fumbled the ball and Eric Setser recovered it at the Rutgers 18-yard line.

Rutgers made it a four-point game with just five ticks left in the first half as Ito hit a 40-yard field goal.

After stopping South Florida on the first possession of the second half, Rutgers struck quickly as Teel and Underwood connected on a 69-yard catch-and- run for a 20-17 lead less than three minutes into the third.

After blocking a 37-yard field goal attempt from Alvarado, the Scarlet Knights added to their lead as a nine-play, 70-yard drive was capped off with a 15- yard touchdown pass on a fake field goal from Andrew Depaola to Kevin Brock for a 27-17 lead with 4:09 left in the third.

South Florida responded on its next possession as a 35-yard field goal from Alvarado made it a 27-20 game with 86 seconds left in the third quarter.

A personal foul on Ryan Gilliam on a South Florida punt gave Rutgers the ball in excellent field position, but the team was unable to move the ball and had to settle for a 51-yard field goal from Ito to make it a 30-20 game with around 12 minutes to play.

On the next possession, Grothe started the drive with a 17-yard completion to Hester, and Williams followed with a 14-yard run to get the ball into Rutgers territory. A 23-yard catch from Cedric Hill set up a 1st-and-goal and two plays later Mike Ford punched the ball into the end zone from a yard out to make it a 30-27 game with 9:16 to play.

South Florida got the ball back with 1:22 to play, but the team moved backwards, and facing a 4th-and-37, Grothe threw a desperation heave that was picked off by Zaire Kitchen and Rutgers killed the remainder of the clock.

No comments: