Defense, special teams help Rutgers blank Illinois

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) -- Derrick Roberson fell on a blocked punt
for a touchdown and Devin McCourty scored on a 38-yard interception
return in the opening minutes to lead Rutgers to a 33-0 rout of
Illinois on Saturday.

Ray Rice rushed for 108 yards and a touchdown and Mike Teel
threw a touchdown as the Scarlet Knights posted their first shutout
since 2002 and handed Illinois its 15th straight road loss. The
Illini (1-1) have been outscored 110-5 in their last three road

Unlike a year ago when they opened a 20-point third-quarter lead
against Illinois in the season opener and then lost in overtime,
Rutgers built a 30-0 halftime advantage and never looked back in
starting the season with consecutive wins for the first time since

Rutgers defense and special teams were outstanding.

The defense forced three turnovers, limited Illinois to 126
total yards and did not allow the Illini to get past their own 48.

Illinois, which had 519 total yards against Eastern Illinois, a
Division I-AA opponent last week, finished 0-for-12 on third-down
conversions against Rutgers.

Rutgers' special teams were just as important. Joe Radigan had a
school-record 78-yard punt on the opening series of the game, with
the ball rolling dead at the Illinois 4. Four plays later, Manny
Collins came up the middle and blocked a Kyle Yelton punt in the
end zone and Roberson fell on it to give Rutgers the lead.

A little more than three minutes later, McCourty intercepted a
tipped pass by Tim Brasic near the right sidelines and returned it
38 yards for a touchdown.

Rutgers offense finally got in gear on its next possession.

Teel drove the Scarlet Knights 62 yards in six plays for a
touchdown, with the big play being a 27-yard pass to tight end
Clark Harris. The two capped the drive with a 1-yard flip on
third-and-goal with 2:09 left in the first quarter.

When Jeremy Ito missed the extra point, his first miss in 61
attempts, it might have seemed that Illinois was set for another
comeback from a 20-0 deficit. It never happened.

A 28-yard punt by DaJuan Warren gave Rutgers the ball at the
Illini 47. Seven plays later, Rice, who rushed for 201 yards last
week against North Carolina, scored from a yard out for his fourth
TD of the season.

Ito kicked a 37-yard field goal late in the first half and added
a 39-yarder midway through the third quarter to close out the

Illinois finished with 66 yards rushing after gaining 345 last
week. Brasic finished 5-for-11 for 46 yards and two interceptions.
Juice Williams was 2-for-10 for 14 yards.

Rutgers last shutout was a 44-0 decision over Army on Sept. 14,


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