PITTSBURGH (Nov. 24, 2012) – For just the second time in 2012, the Rutgers football team suffered a setback, falling at Pitt, 27-6, on Saturday at Heinz Field. It marked the first BIG EAST loss of the season for the Scarlet Knights (9-2, 5-1 BIG EAST). Rutgers is now 8-22 all-time against the Panthers, who improved to 5-6 (2-4 BIG EAST).
Sophomore RB Jawan Jamison (Starke, Fla.) surpassed the 1,000-yard plateau in rushing for the season late in the second quarter, becoming the seventh player in Rutgers history to go over the century mark. He now has 1,004 yards in 2012.
Sophomore QB Gary Nova (Elmwood Park, N.J.) threw for 157 yards and one touchdown, moving him into a tie for second-place on Rutgers’ single-season touchdown pass list with 20 on the campaign. Sophomore WR Brandon Coleman (Accokeek, Md.) caught his 15th touchdown pass of his career and ninth of the season, while senior WR Tim Wright (Wall Township, N.J.) led the Scarlet Knights with 66 yards receiving on six receptions.
To start the contest, neither team could capitalize on its first four possessions. Both went 0-for-4 on third down conversions in the opening quarter.
The Panthers got into a rhythm late in the period and started a drive at its own 20-yard line with 1:44 remaining in the quarter. Pitt got on the board first, capping an eight-play, 80-yard drive with a16-yard touchdown as QB Tino Sunseri found WR Mike Shanahan in the corner of the end zone to take a 7-0 lead with 13:48 remaining in the half.
The Rutgers defense held strong on Pitt’s next possession. The Panthers worked the ball to the Scarlet Knight 27-yard line before junior DT Jamil Merrell (Bear, Del.) sacked Sunseri for a loss of eight yards to move Pitt out of field goal range.
After the Scarlet Knights went three-and-out on their next possession, the Panthers took over with a short field, starting the drive at the RU 36-yard line. The defense would again hold, causing its 28th turnover of the season as junior CB Logan Ryan (Berlin, N.J.) recovered a fumbled snap by Sunseri at RU’s 2-yard line with 4:41 left in the half.
Pitt would take a 14-0 lead with 2:17 remaining in the second period as RB Ray Graham punched it in from one yard out after the Panthers went 28 yards in three plays. Rutgers took over and went three-and-out again, and Pitt went 55 yards in 1:12 before Sunseri hit WR Ed Tinker in the back of the end zone to take a 21-0 lead into halftime.
On its first drive of the second half, the Panthers took 5:14 off the clock on a 13-play drive that resulted in a 39-yard field goal from K Kevin Harper, giving them a 24-0 lead with 6:37 to go in the third period.
Rutgers scored for the first time as Nova hit Coleman crossing the middle of the field for an 11-yard scoring strike with 1:43 remaining in the quarter. The Scarlet Knights wouldn’t convert the two-point attempt, leaving the score 24-6 after the 10-play, 60-yard drive that lasted 4:54.
Harper would convert on another field goal for Pitt with 6:01 left in the game to push the lead to 27-6.
The Scarlet Knights return home to High Point Solutions Stadium to host Louisville on Thursday, Nov. 29 at 7:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.
• No. 18 Rutgers (9-2, 5-1 BIG EAST) lost 27-6 Saturday afternoon at Pittsburgh. With Louisville’s loss to UConn, Rutgers clinched a share of its first BIG EAST Championship despite the loss.
• With a win Thursday vs. Louisville, Rutgers can clinch its first BCS bowl bid.
• The loss was the first for Rutgers since falling to Kent State on Oct. 27. It was the first BIG EAST loss since losing at Connecticut, 40-22, on Nov. 26, 2011.
• Rutgers scored six points in the contest, its lowest point total since Oct. 27, 2007 against No. 6 West Virginia (31-3).
• Sophomore RB Jawan Jamison (Starke, Fla.) became the seventh player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. Jamison rushed for 14 yards on nine carries against the Panthers and has 1,004 rushing yards in 2012.
• Senior LB Khaseem Greene (Elizabeth, N.J.) tallied eight tackles against the Panthers, moving him into fifth all-time on Rutgers’ career tackles list with 366.
• Sophomore QB Gary Nova (Elmwood Park. N.J.) tossed his 20th touchdown pass of 2012, tying him with Mike Teel (2007) for second on Rutgers’ single season list.
• Sophomore WR Brandon Coleman (Accokeek, Md.) moved into sole possession of eighth place in RU history with his 15th career touchdown reception. Coleman has 15 scoring grabs in just 24 career games.
• The Scarlet Knights recovered a fumble by Pitt QB Tino Sunseri in second quarter, marking the 14th consecutive game that Rutgers forced a turnover, totaling 32 in that 14-game stretch. RU has forced at least one turnover in 51 of the previous 55 games, dating back to 2008.
• Junior CB Logan Ryan (Berlin, N.J.) recovered the Tino Sunseri fumble in the second quarter, his second fumble recovery of the season and fourth of his career.
• Senior TE Beau Bachety (Babylon, N.Y.) started the first game of his career.
• Junior TE Paul Carrezola (Longhorne, Pa.) totaled three receptions for 24 yards with a long of 19, all career-highs.