An outstanding defensive effort propelled Rutgers on Saturday. - Joe Robbins
Rutgers moved a step closer to a BCS bowl bid with a victory over Cincinnati on Saturday.
Rutgers (9-1, 5-0) knocked the Bearcats out of the race and maintained its one-game lead over No. 20 Louisville, which was idle. The Scarlet Knights finish with games at Pittsburgh and home against Louisville.
Reserve running back Savon Huggins filled in for injured Jawan Jamison and had a career-high 179 yards. The Scarlet Knights held the highest-scoring offense in the conference without a touchdown. Rutgers entered the game fifth in the country in scoring defense, allowing only 13.4 points per game. Cincinnati (7-3, 3-2) did not score until Tony Miliano kicked a 36-yard field goal with 11 seconds left. Rutgers recovered the onside kick.
Rutgers is 5-0 in Big East play for the first time in school history. With two games remaining, they control their own destiny in their attempt for a BCS bid.
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The biggest swing of the game was the result of a Rutgers quick strike in the second quarter, as Gary Nova went over the top to Mark Harrison for a 71-yard touchdown. The score came just four plays after the Scarlet Knights' defense picked off Brendon Kay at the three-yard line. Deep in their own territory, Rutgers set up the UC defense and handed it off to Savon Huggins three straight times. Huggins found room and moved the offense out of the shadow of their own goal line. With the Bearcats keying on the run, Rutgers took a shot deep down the middle of the field and Nova hit Harrison perfectly in stride for the 71-yard score.