Rice gains 170 yards rushing in Rutgers' first bowl win

Updated: December 29, 2006, 1:29 AM ET
SportsTicker

HOUSTON -- Ray Rice again piled up the yardage to help conclude a magical season for Rutgers.

Rice gained 170 yards on 24 carries and Mike Teel tossed a pair of touchdown passes for the 16th-ranked Scarlet Knights, who recorded their first bowl victory with a 37-10 triumph over Kansas State in the Texas Bowl.

Rutgers (11-2) opened the campaign with nine victories before losing two of its final three regular-season contests, including a triple-overtime defeat to West Virginia on December 2.

However, the Scarlet Knights finished on a winning note to tie the single-season school record for victories set in 1976. They also completed a tremendous turnaround in the program, which went 1-11 in 2002.

"This was just a really great night for our school and our program, and to say that we are all very excited to win our first bowl game would be an understatement," Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said. "I have a good feeling about where this program is headed."

"This is everything the seniors deserved," Teel said. "Every hard game they've been through and every hard moment they've been through. To end it this way, that is the way it should be and what they deserve."

In his 10th 100-yard game of the season, Rice extended his school record to 1,794 yards this year and has 2,914 in two campaigns to rank third on the Scarlet Knights' all-time list.

"Coach just called the plays and we executed," Rice said. "We did what we were supposed to do tonight and the results were there. The offensive line played just an unbelievable game and maybe their best game of the year. They were magnificent."

Leading 17-10, Rutgers broke open the contest with a pair of dramatic touchdowns in the first 3:19 of the second half.

Senior linebacker Quintero Frierson intercepted Josh Freeman on the first play of the third quarter and returned it 26 yards to the end zone to give the Scarlet Knights a 24-10 advantage.

"That play was there," Freeman said. "I just slipped. But I am not going to make excuses. The ball just didn't go where I wanted it to go. It was a little low and the linebacker made a great play."

On Rutgers' next possession, Rice began the drive by gaining 22 yards to the Kansas State 46. Following a timeout, the sophomore broke through for his 20th touchdown of the season to widen the margin to 31-10.

Teel, who finished 16-of-28 for 265 yards, came out firing on all cylinders by hitting seven of his first nine passes. He found Tim Brown for a 14-yard touchdown on the Scarlet Knights' second possession and a 49-yard score with 2:42 left in the first quarter for a 14-0 lead.

"I thought Mike overthrew him on that when I first saw the ball, but Tim just ran and caught up with the ball," Schiano said of the second TD. "They have a really good chemistry."

After Jeff Snodgrass booted a 44-yard field goal for Kansas State early in the second period, senior Yamon Figurs returned Joe Radigan's punt 76 yards to the end zone to cut the deficit to 14-10 with 9:38 to go before halftime.

Freeman went 10-of-21 for 124 yards and two interceptions for Kansas State (7-6), which lost its second straight game after being outgained, 479-162.

"It's never fun to lose," Freeman said. "You have to give it to Rutgers. They played a very good game and I think they were really hungry because they felt they got left out of a BCS game and they were out there to prove something."

"Getting to the postseason is kind of a new experience for many of us on this team," Wildcats coach Ron Prince said. "Our players have to understand that we are going to have to play these kinds of teams in the future and I want our team to remember this and know how hard it is to win."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index