12:00 PM ET, November 17, 2007
High Point Solutions Stadium, PISCATAWAY, NJ
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) -- Ray Rice rushed for 112 yards and a touchdown and Rutgers took a major step toward securing a third straight bowl bid with a 20-16 victory over Pittsburgh on Saturday.
An injured Mike Teel threw a 53-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Britt and Devin McCourty intercepted a pass in the end zone with 11 seconds to play as Rutgers (7-4, 3-3 Big East) all but ended the bowl hopes of Pittsburgh (4-6, 2-3).
McCourty's interception came just one play after Oderick Turner was called for offensive pass interference after catching what would have been a go-ahead touchdown pass from Pat Bostick in the corner of the end zone.
The officials ruled the Turner pushed off McCourty to make the catch.
The Scarlet Knights' defense also came up big, limiting Pittsburgh to 13 points after the offense turned the ball over at or inside its own 31 yard line four times.
Bostick threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Darrell Strong to convert a touchdown on one of the turnovers and Coner Lee kicked two of his three field goals following turnovers. He also missed one from 31 yards, which might have been the difference after Bostick drove the Panthers to the Rutgers 6 in the final minute.
Rice had given Rutgers a 17-10 lead late in the second quarter with a 28-yard touchdown run.
Lee closed the gap to 17-16 with 11:05 to go with a 32-yard field goal after linebacker Scott McKillop recovered a fumble by backup quarterback Jabu Lovelace at the Rutgers 21.
Teel, who left the game with a thumb injury after throwing an interception to McKillop early in the second quarter, returned on the next series. Rice reeled off runs of 18 and 9 yards to help set up Jeremy Ito's second 30-yard field goal with 7:50 to go.
Pittsburgh got to the Rutgers 45 on the first of its final two series with Kevan Smith at quarterback. Bostick, who was lifted at the start of the second half, returned for the last series and hit a big 28-yard pass to Strong to get the ball to the 6-yard line.
However, McCourty and the Rutgers defense came up big with the help of the flag from the officials.
Despite turning the ball over three times inside its own 31-yard line, Rutgers led 17-10 at the half, thanks to two quick scoring drives that ended in big plays.
Rice gave the Scarlet Knights the lead with a great cutback on his touchdown run. Jeremy Zuttah and Anthony Davis had good blocks on the play that capped a six-play, 60-yard drive.
Rutgers had tied the game at 10-all in the final minute of the first quarter on a 53-yard scoring pass from Teel to Britt streaking down the left sideline.
Based on field position, Pittsburgh probably should have had the lead.
Kennard Cox intercepted a Teel pass that hit off Britt's hands and returned it 25 yards to the Rutgers 23. Lee eventually kicked a 33-yard field goal to tie the game at 3-all after three runs by McCoy netted seven yards.
A sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery by McKillop gave the Panthers the ball back at the Rutgers 12 less than a minute later. A 1-yard pass from Bostick to the 6-foot-5 Strong on fourth down gave Pittsburgh a 10-3 lead.
After Rutgers tied the game on the next series, the Panthers had a chance to take the lead when McKillop intercepted a Teel pass at the Scarlet Knights 31. However, Lee missed badly on a 31-yard field goal attempt.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||6-17||2-11|
|4th Down Conversions||1-1||0-0|
|FG||11:29||Jeremy Ito 30 Yd |
Drive: 9 plays, 47 yds, 3:31
|FG||06:39||Conor Lee 33 Yd |
Drive: 4 plays, 7 yds, 2:02
|TD||02:14||Darrell Strong 1 Yd Pass From Pat Bostick (Conor Lee Kick) |
Drive: 6 plays, 12 yds, 3:32
|TD||00:59||Kenny Britt 53 Yd Pass From Mike Teel (Jeremy Ito Kick) |
Drive: 3 plays, 65 yds, 1:11
|TD||04:51||Ray Rice 28 Yd Run (Jeremy Ito Kick) |
Drive: 6 plays, 60 yds, 2:52
|FG||00:16||Conor Lee 21 Yd |
Drive: 11 plays, 69 yds, 5:28
|FG||11:05||Conor Lee 32 Yd||16||17|
|FG||07:50||Jeremy Ito 30 Yd||16||20|