The Rutgers University football program entered Saturday hoping that it could accomplish something that no other previous campaign had ever done -- earning a share of the Big East Conference title. However, the Scarlet Knights turned the ball over six times and compiled a net total of minus-nine rushing yards in a 40-22 loss to the University of Connecticut in a Big East Conference game at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, CT. Officially, Rutgers (8-4, 4-3 Big East) has been eliminated from the Big East championship race, which now features just the University of Cincinnati, West Virginia University and the University of Louisville.
Rutgers began the day in a hole trailing 14-0 after two first-quarter turnovers turned into a pair of rushing touchdowns for UConn. The Scarlet Knights got on the board in the second quarter, but the Huskies answered each score to take a 24-10 lead into halftime. From there, UConn (5-6, 3-3) pulled away using 16-unanswered points, all coming in the third quarter, to take a 40-10 lead.
Freshman quarterback Gary Nova entered the game in the fourth quarter, but unlike previous games he did not spark the Scarlet Knight offense. Instead, the freshman turned the ball over twice -- an interception and a fumble. Nova did manage to manufacture a few scoring drives, but it was a little too late for the Scarlet Knights, who now wait for a bowl invitation.
On the day, the Scarlet Knights offensive line allowed six sacks and did little to help its starting running back, sophomore Jawan Jamison, who rushed for just 19 yards on five carries. Jeremy Deering rushed for a team-best 24 yards on seven carries.
Starting quarterback Chas Dodd, who completed just 11-of-22 passes for 141 yards and an interception, struggled. Nova finished with 298-passing yards on 11-of-18 throwing.
The lone bright spot was wide receiver Brandon Coleman, who caught six passes for 223-receiving yards and two touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Mohamed Sanu snagged nine passes for 133 yards.
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