LOUISVILLE, Ky. (October 21, 2011) – The Rutgers University football team fell short in a comeback attempt at Louisville, falling 16-14 on Friday night at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. The setback dropped the Scarlet Knights to 5-2 overall and 2-1 in the BIG EAST, while UL improved to 3-4 and 1-1 in conference action.
Rutgers closed the gap with a 12-yard touchdown throw from QB Gary Nova (Elmwood Park, N.J.) to Mohamed Sanu (South Brunswick, N.J.) with 14:10 left in the game to set the score at 16-14. Nova was picked off for the third time on the night to secure the Louisville victory as the Cardinals proceeded to run out the clock.
Sanu continued his stellar season with 10 receptions for 128 yards and touchdown. He moved into fifth place in RU history with 160 career receptions and also became the first player in school history to have a 100-yard rushing game and a 100-yard receiving game vs. the same opponent. Sanu rushed for 148 yards in 2009 vs. the Cardinals.
The Cardinals struck first at 7:41 in the first quarter to go up 7-0 after taking advantage of a shortened field due to a Rutgers turnover. Louisville RB Dominique Brown notched a one-yard rushing touchdown after a 29-yard run by UL’s Jeremy Wright got the team to the one-yard line.
The Scarlet Knights leveled the score at 7-7 right before the halftime break with a one-yard plunge by Savon Huggins (Jackson, N.J.) with no time remaining. RU’s opportunistic special teams unit set up the score with CB Marcus Cooper (Bloomfield, Conn.) blocking a Louisville punt with less than three minutes left in the second quarter.
Louisville had the first scoring opportunity of the game, with Philpott missing on a 43-yard attempt with 10:19 on the clock in the first quarter.
Louisville opened the second half with the ball and scored a 52-yard field goal from kicker Chris Philpott to take the lead 10-7. UL added six more points later in the third quarter with an 18-yard touchdown pass from QB Teddy Bridgewater to WR Michaelee Harris. Rutgers’ Justin Francis (Opa-Locka, Fla.) blocked the extra point to set the score at 16-7 in favor of the Cardinals.
Rutgers returns to High Point Solutions Stadium to face BIG EAST foe West Virginia on Saturday, Oct. 29. The game is set to kickoff at 3:30 p.m. with regional television coverage on ABC.
POST GAME NOTES
• Rutgers lost a hard-fought 16-14 decision at Louisville Friday night at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium on ESPN2. The Scarlet Knights fell to 5-2 overall and 2-1 in the BIG EAST while the Cardinals moved to 3-4, 1-1 in conference.
• Game captains for Rutgers were senior FB Joe Martinek (Hopatcong, N.J.), senior OT Desmond Stapleton (Union, N.J.), junior CB Brandon Jones (Sicklerville, N.J.) and junior DE Ka’Lial Glaud (Sicklerville, N.J.).
• RU is 7-4 all-time vs. Louisville, including a 3-3 mark at Louisville.
• For the second consecutive game, Rutgers blocked a kick as Marcus Cooper blocked a UofL punt in the second quarter. It was Rutgers’ fifth blocked kick of the season and the 52nd since 2002, the third-highest total of any team in the nation.
• Rutgers’ Justin Francis (Opa-Locka, Fla.) blocked RU’s 53rd kick since 2002 as he blocked an extra point in the third quarter.
• Rutgers forced just one turnover – an interception by David Rowe (Cocoa, Fla.) – its lowest total in a single-game this season.
• The Scarlet Knights entered the game first nationally in turnover margin, but tonight finished -2 in the turnover battle.
• Mohamed Sanu (South Brunswick, N .J.) became the first player in Rutgers history to post a 100-yard receiving game and a 100-yard rushing game in his career vs. the same opponent. Sanu, who rushed for 148 yards at Louisville in 2009, caught 10 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown Friday night vs. the Cards.
• It was Sanu’s seventh 100-yard game of his career, which places him tied for third in Rutgers’ history.
• Sanu’s 10 receptions on the night moved him into sole possession of fifth place in RU history with 160 career receptions.
• Marcus Cooper (Bloomfield, Conn.) blocked his first career punt in the second quarter to setup Rutgers’ first scoring drive of the night.
• Savon Huggins (Jackson, N.J.) scored his team-leading fifth rushing touchdown of the season on the final play of the first half on a one-yard run on 4th and 1. He also had a career-long 26-yard run in the second quarter vs. the Cards.