True freshman quarterback Gary Nova completed 11-of-24 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns for Rutgers University, which used four second-half TDs Saturday to beat the University of Pittsburgh, 34-10, in a Big East Conference game at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, NJ. The victory snapped the Scarlet Knights two-game losing streak to Pitt (3-3, 1-1 Big East) and vaulted Rutgers (4-2, 2-0) to the top of the Big East standings.
Nova, who got the starting nod over sophomore Chas Dodd, connected on two third-quarter TDs to propel his team to its third straight win. The first TD was a six-yarder to junior wide receiver Mark Harrison, which gave Rutgers a 13-3 advantage about midway through the third quarter. The other was a late-third quarter screen pass to senior fullback Joe Martinek, who took it 60 yards to the end zone and extended the Scarlet Knights lead to 20-3.
"It is a feeling I've dreamed of my whole life," said Martinek, who finished the game with five catches for 76 yards. "A pack stadium, the fans going crazy. It is such a great feeling."
Then, with the game at 20-10 early in the fourth quarter, Rutgers picked off Pitt's junior quarterback Tino Sunseri deep inside Panthers' territory. The Scarlet Knights used just three plays to score their third second-half TD, a three-yard plug by freshman running back Savon Huggins, to increase the margin to 27-10 with 13:06 remaining in the game.
Rutgers cemented the victory late in the fourth quarter when sophomore cornerback Logan Ryan picked off Sunseri and ran it back 45 yards for a TD. The interception was Sunseri's third pick of the game and Rutgers fourth of the day. The Scarlet Knights defense finished the contest with six sacks.
Pittsburgh junior running back Ray Graham ran for 162 yards. Graham leads the nation with 896-rushing yards.
Next week, the Rutgers football schedule features the Scarlet Knights hosting non-conference opponent Navy. Check back to SB Nation New York for more on Rutgers victory over Pitt.