PITTSBURGH (AP) -- There's nothing deceptive about a Rutgers
offense that gives the ball to Ray Rice on nearly every other play.
Trickery isn't a necessity with a runner like Rice.
Rice's 63-yard run set up his own short touchdown in the fourth
quarter immediately after Pittsburgh had closed to within three
points, and the No. 19 Scarlet Knights won their first big test of
the season by beating the Panthers 20-10 Saturday.
Rice carried 39 times for 225 yards to nearly outgain Pittsburgh
by himself and put Rutgers in position to make a major move up the
AP poll if it can beat No. 6 Louisville at home on Nov. 9 -- as long
as it beats Connecticut on Oct. 29. Rutgers (7-0, 2-0) hasn't been
unbeaten so deep into a season since 1976, when it was ranked as
high as No. 17 but played mostly against Ivy League-type
"It feels good," said Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, whose team
also has No. 4 West Virginia still to play. "It puts us in
position to keep moving forward."
Pitt (6-2, 2-1 Big East) had won four in a row and likely would
have made the Top 25 with a victory. But a Panthers offense
averaging 37.6 points did almost nothing against a Rutgers defense
that was No. 1 nationally in scoring defense and No. 2 in total
The Knights did what they do best: Run the ball, control the
clock and get the ball back quickly when they did give it up. They
sacked Tyler Palko four times and limited what was the nation's
most efficient quarterback -- Palko had 17 touchdown passes and
three interceptions -- to 169 yards passing. Rutgers outgained Pitt
340-236, 268-67 on the ground.
Rutgers has one of the worst passing offenses of any nationally
ranked team. With a runner like Rice and a defense like this, it
"We put ourselves in bad downs and distances, and you can't do
that against a good football team," Palko said. "We didn't play
well enough to win a big game and they did."
Rice, a sophomore who already has four career 200-yard games,
was the difference as the nation's No. 4 rusher went over the
1,000-yard mark for the second time in as many seasons -- he now has
1,124 yards. After Pitt had drawn to within 13-10 on Palko's 8-yard
pass to Oderick Turner early in the fourth quarter, Rice broke up
the middle on the 63-yard run to the Pitt 27 that quickly swung the
momentum back to Rutgers.
"That thing, it just parted, it just split and I had a burst
and that was it right there," Rice said.
Two plays later, Rice ran off another 20 yards, then scored from
the 2 a play later to again put the Knights up by two scores.
Right before the big run, Schiano came to Rice and asked how
good he felt because, coach told player, "We're going to ride
"I told him I was good," Rice said. "He said I looked fresh,
and I told him I was going to get stronger as the game went on."
Rutgers beat Pitt in successive seasons for the first time in
school history. Pitt had won 19 of 22 in the series before losing
37-29 last season at Rutgers as Rice ran for 114 yards.
"Big players make big plays in big games," Pitt star
cornerback Darrelle Revis said of Rice's pivotal run. "We couldn't
bounce back from that."
Rice joins a growing list of recent-era 200-yard rushers against
Pitt that includes West Virginia's Pat White, Virginia Tech's Kevin
Jones and Notre Dame's Julius Jones. Rice finished seven yards
short of Terrell Willis' school-record 232 yards against Temple in
"He's the real deal," Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said. "He got
into the secondary so fast (on the 63-yard run) we didn't have time
Asked if Rice should be considered for some postseason honors,
Schiano said, "If he keeps putting up these numbers. It's all
about productivity, and he's doing things special backs do."
Rutgers had gone up 13-3 late in the third quarter. Mike Teel,
who had more interceptions (seven) than touchdown passes (five) in
an offense that was No. 109 nationally in passing, hit Tiquan
Underwood on consecutive pass plays for 14 and 7 yards, the second
for a touchdown. Underwood had only nine catches this season before
making five for 41 yards.
Teel also missed a possible second touchdown pass late in the
first half when Dennis Campbell, open in the end zone, juggled what
would have been a touchdown catch and the ball touched the ground
before he could control it.
Rutgers led 6-0 at the half on two field goals by Jeremy Ito but
easily could have had a much bigger lead. The Scarlet Knights
advanced to the Pitt 21 and 2 on consecutive drives late in the
second quarter, but settled for Ito's 21-yarder with 29 seconds
left in the half.
Ito had missed from the 38 a few minutes before but, three plays
after that, Rutgers' Ron Girault recovered a fumble by Pitt's Derek
Kinder after a 25-yard completion to the Knights' 39.
Rutgers hadn't allowed a point in the third quarter all season
until Pitt drove for Conor Lee's 46-yard field goal on its first
possession of the second half.