PHILADELPHIA, PA – Sophomore quarterback Ryan Hart became the first Rutgers quarterback in school history to throw for 300 yards in back-to-back games today as he completed 30-of-42 passes for 316 yards and one touchdown to lead the Scarlet Knights to a 30-14 win over Temple at Lincoln Financial Field. Running back Brian Leonard enjoyed another productive day, rushing for 64 yards and two TDs and catching a career-high nine passes for 84 yards and another score. With the win, Rutgers evens its record at 4-4, its best record through eight games since the 1998 season. RU also won its first BIG EAST game under head coach Greg Schiano today.
The Scarlet Knights scored 24-consecutive points in the first half, as Leonard scored on a 1-yard run at the 7:41 mark following a 19-yard punt return from freshman Willie Foster gave the Scarlet Knights excellent field position. Starting the drive at the Temple 29-yard line, Hart hit Shawn Tucker for three yards and found Marcus Daniels with an 18-yard completion to set the table for Leonard, who carried three-straight times, culminating in the touchdown.
Following a bizarre sequence in which three-straight drives were thwarted by interceptions, Hart connected with Leonard on a seven-yard TD pass at the 1:08 mark of the first quarter to increase the lead to 14-0. After Jason Grant intercepted a Mike McGann pass and returned it 22 yards to the Temple 43, Leonard carried four times for 14 yards, Tucker caught a 12-yard pass and RU took advantage of a pair of Temple penalties to set up the score.
In the second quarter, RU tacked on another TD, when Leonard rumbled four yards into the corner of the end zone with 8:58 left on the clock. The drive, which covered a game-best 76 yards, began with a Hart-to-Markis Facyson connection for 31 yards and included a gutsy, 22-yard catch over the middle by tight end Ray Pilch, which moved Rutgers to the Temple 16-yard line.
Rutgers then completed the first-half scoring on a 32-yard field goal by Ryan Sands, one of three he hit on the day.
Leading 24-0 at the half, Sands added a career-best 49-yard field goal with 10:57 left in the third and a 37-yarder with :48 left. Temple broke through when Zamir Cobb hauled in a 16-yard pass and added another as time expired. To celebrate the win, RU players doused Coach Schiano with a cooler full of ice-cold water.
“ That is a first as Rutgers’ coach,” said Schiano. “I was shocked, because I was really still into the game. We’re a young football team and you have to lead by example and coach and play until the very end. I was totally immersed in the game and then, all of a sudden, I was totally immersed in water. It was a little bit of a shock.”
Rutgers out-gained Temple, 363-282, today, led by the receiving efforts of Tucker (10 catches, 99 yards) and Leonard (9 catches, 84 yards). Marcus Daniels also produced his best game as a Scarlet Knights, hauling in four passes for 49 yards.
“ I am not going to sit up here and lie and say that it is not gratifying to get our first BIG EAST win,” said Schiano during his post-game press conference. “We are building something for the long haul so it is great to get the win, but that was not really the focus. You work the entire year as a coach or player for 12 opportunities and if you are good enough, you get a 13th. “
Defensively, Eddie Grimes led with eight tackles, while Raheem Orr had two tackles-for-loss, including his BIG EAST leading seventh sack. GAME STATS
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score ----------------- -- -- -- -- ----- Rutgers............. 14 10 6 0 - 30 Record: (4-4,1-3) Temple.............. 0 0 7 7 - 14 Record: (1-7,0-3) RUTGERS TEMPLE FIRST DOWNS................... 24 15 RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............ 44-44 19-39 PASSING YDS (NET)............. 319 243 Passes Att-Comp-Int........... 43-31-1 41-20-2 TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS..... 87-363 60-282 Fumble Returns-Yards.......... 0-0 0-0 Punt Returns-Yards............ 4-40 0-0 Kickoff Returns-Yards......... 2-13 7-120 Interception Returns-Yards.... 2-29 1-16 Punts (Number-Avg)............ 3-45.7 7-38.4 Fumbles-Lost.................. 5-2 0-0 Penalties-Yards............... 8-64 9-63 Possession Time............... 38:35 21:25 Third-Down Conversions........ 7 of 16 4 of 14 Fourth-Down Conversions....... 0 of 2 0 of 2 Red-Zone Scores-Chances....... 5-7 2-3 Sacks By: Number-Yards........ 2-16 3-28
WITH THE WIN…
Rutgers’ win today improved its record to 4-4, the best mark through eight games since 1998, when RU posted a 5-6 record. In addition, Rutgers secured its first BIG EAST road victory since that same season, when it beat Pittsburgh, 25-21, on Oct. 17, 1998. RU had lost 16-straight BIG EAST road games since that win.
HART CREEPS INTO TOP TEN IN PASSING YARDS AND TDs
With an 18-yard first-quarter completion to Marcus Daniels, Ryan Hart increased his 2003 passing totals to 1690 yards, tying Rich Palicastro for tenth on the single-season yardage list. He finished the game with 1951 yards, seventh-best all-time. Hart is also second among sophomore signal-callers at Rutgers, trailing only Mike McMahon, who threw for 2,209 yards in his sophomore season (1998). Later in the first quarter, Hart connected with Brian Leonard for RU’s second touchdown of the game and Hart’s 11th of the season, tying Frank Burns, who threw 11 in 1947.
Single-season passing leaders:
1. Scott Erney, 1989 2536
2. Mike McMahon, 1998 2203
3. Ray Lucas, 1995 2180
4. Mike McMahon, 2000 2157
5. Scott Erney, 1988 2123
6. Tom Tarver, 1991 1969
7. Ryan Hart, 2003 1951
8. Eric Hochberg, 1984 1905
9. Ray Lucas, 1994 1869
10. Ed McMichael, 1980 1761
1. Mike McMahon, 2000 18
2. Brian Fortay, 1992 16
Ray Lucas, 1995 16
Ray Lucas, 1994 16
5. Scott Erney, 1989 15
Rich Policastro, 1968 15
7. Rich Policastro, 1969 14
8. Scott Erney, 1988 13
9. Mike McMahon, 1998 12
10. Frank Burns, 1947 11
Ryan Hart, 2003 11
GRANT, DANIELS MAKE FIRST START OF THE SEASON
Rutgers had two new starters today, as senior DB Jason Grant and freshman WR Marcus Daniels earned starting assignments. Grant and Daniels are the 36th and 37th different players to earn starts on offense or defense this year.
LEONARD’S FIRST QUARTER RUSHING TD MAKES IT A PERFECT 8-FOR-8; TD RECEPTION
MAKES IT 8-FOR-8 ON PASSING
When Brian Leonard scored on a two-yard rush in the first quarter, he extended Rutgers’ streak of rushing touchdowns to eight-straight games. Later in the first quarter, Ryan Hart found Leonard for a seven-yard touchdown pass, marking the 8th game with at least one passing touchdown. Hart has thrown TDs in seven games (0 vs. Navy), but a Clarence Pittman-to-Chris Loomis TD connection vs. the Midshipmen kept the string alive.
In addition, Leonard has now scored a touchdown in five of eight games this season, as well as seven in his last two games.
SOME FIRSTS FROM TODAY’S GAME:
DeVraun Thompson – interception (7-yard return, 1st quarter)
Jason Grant – interception (22-yard return, 1st quarter)
Ishmael Medley – reception (3 yards, 2nd quarter)
Ted Trump – first appearance at quarterback (3:19, 4th quarter)
Clint Dato – first appearance of the season (2:28, 4th quarter, right tackle)
SANDS NAILS CAREER LONG FIELD GOAL; SETS CAREER HIGH FOR POINTS
Senior K Ryan Sands hit a 49-yard field goal to start the second half scoring today, increasing RU’s lead to 27-0. Sands also set a career-long, besting his 45-yard FG vs. Army (9/14/01). Sands also enjoyed the first three FG-day of his career when he converted a 35-yard attempt inside the final minute of the third quarter.
Sands also set a career high for points with 12, besting his previous high of 8 vs. Army (9/14/01). In that game vs. Army, Sands was successful on 5-of-6 PAT’s and also drilled a 45-yard field goal. Today, Sands had three field goals (32, 49, 37) and three PAT’s.
The sophomore offensive combination of Ryan Hart and Shawn Tucker have posted some impressive numbers over the last two games. During that span, Hart has completed 57-of-94 passes (61%) for 700 yards and three TDs. Tucker has hauled in 19 passes for 285 yards during, averaging 15.0 yards per catch.
Hart is also the first RU QB to have two, 300-yard passing games in the same season since Mike McMahon in 2000. He is also the first RU QB to have back-to-back 300-yard passing efforts.
The following career highs were established today:
Ryan Hart – completions (30)
Shawn Tucker – catches (10)
Brian Leonard – catches (9), receiving yards (84), carries (26)
Ryan Sands – field goals (3), field goal distance (49)
Joe Radigan – punting average (45.7)
Eddie Grimes – tackles (8) - unofficial