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Football Drops Road Finale at UConn
Dodd throws for 286 yards in first start of the season
  • Posted on November 30, 2013 3:49:42 PM
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  • Tyler Kroft
    Tight end Tyler Kroft caught a TD pass from J.T. Tartacoff after a faked field goal in the first quarter.

    EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (Nov. 30, 2013) – Rutgers football scored an early touchdown, but UConn responded with 14 points in the fourth quarter to defeat the Scarlet Knights, 28-17, Saturday at Rentschler Field. It was the final conference meeting between the teams.

    Rutgers fell to 5-6 overall and 2-5 in the American Athletic Conference with the result, needing a win in its regular season finale Dec. 7 against USF to earn a spot in a bowl game. The Huskies won their second straight to improve to 2-9 and 2-5.

    Senior quarterback Chas Dodd (Lyman, S.C.) went 16-of-35 for 286 yards in his first start since 2011, with classmate Quron Pratt (Palmyra, N.J.) bringing in a career-best 132 yards receiving to highlight the offense. Pratt recorded a 84-yard catch-and-run in the third quarter, the longest play from scrimmage for the Scarlet Knights this season.

    Defensively, freshman linebacker Steve Longa (Saddle Brook, N.J.) led all players with 11 tackles to bring hisseason total to 104. Junior linebacker Kevin Snyder (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) and senior safety Jeremy Deering (Tampa, Fla.) had nine and eight stops, respectively.

    Rutgers jumped on the board first on its opening drive of the game with a 10-yard touchdown pass from holder J.T. Tartacoff (Skillman, N.J.) to tight end Tyler Kroft (Downington, Pa.) with the field goal personnel on fourth down. It was the second time RU had run that play to success this season, also converting at Louisville. The opening drive last 13 plays for 65 yards and took 4:51 off the clock.

    However, the Huskies responded with an eight-play drive on their first possession to immediately even the game. Quarterback Casey Cochran found Dhameer Bradley for 18 yards on third down for the score.

    The Scarlet Knights then fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Huskies’ offense cashed in with a 12-yard touchdown run by Max DeLorenzo to make it 14-7 in favor of the hosts.

    The score would stay locked there after both teams exchanged punts twice and RU started with the ball at its own 27 with 6:55 to go in the first half. The Scarlet Knights then engineered a 16-play drive that included twothird and one fourth down conversion to bring the ball deep into UConn territory. The possession stalled, however, but kicker Kyle Federico (Ponte Vedra, Fla.) knocked through a 34-yard field attempt to make it 14-10 at intermission.

    The second half started promising for RU, as the defense forced twopunts. Then with the offense backed up at its own 13 following a penalty, Dodd found Pratt for an 84-yard gain down the left side to position the ball at the three-yard line. Freshman running back Justin Goodwin (Madison, N.J.) took it the rest of the way for his fifth rushing score of the season, putting Rutgers back on top at 17-14 with 2:27 remaining in the third quarter.

    That would be the last lead Rutgers would own, though, as the Huskies followed with an 80-yard drive that was capped by a one-yard rushing touchdown by DeLorenzo. UConn ended the scoring with a 12-play drive that spanned 4:53 to make it a two-possession game. That drive ended on a three-yard pass from Cochran to Brian Lemelle in the corner of the end zone.

    The Scarlet Knights will return home for Senior Night Dec. 7 against USF. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. on ESPN2.

    POSTGAME NOTES

    PARTICIPATION
    - DB Ruhann Peele saw action on both offense and defense in the game. He started ondefense at cornerback and first appeared as a wide receiver on the first RUdrive of the second quarter.
    - The last Scarlet Knight to play both ways in a game was Edmond Laryea against Norfolk State in the 2010 season opener.
     
    TEAM NOTES
    - Today’s game marked the 33rd all-time meeting between Rutgers and UConn, with the Scarlet Knights leading the series 22-11. The Huskies now lead the series 8-7 in Connecticut.
    - The game time temperature of 28 degrees was thelowest of the season for a Rutgers game.
    - The game was only the second Saturday road contest of the season for the Scarlet Knights. RU has played three Thursday away night games.
    - Rutgers scored a touchdown on its opening drive of the game for the first time since the third game of the season against Eastern Michigan. The drive was capped with a 10-yard touchdown pass from H J.T. Tartacoff to TE Tyler Kroft on fourth down.
    - Rutgers went 3-for-3 on fourth down conversions to increase its mark to 20-of-26 (77%) on the season.
    - After playing its first nine games on turf, Rutgers has played its last two on natural grass.
    - Rutgers went on a 16-play drive in the second quarter that ended with a field goal, the longest drive by plays this season. Only a 6:23 drive against Cincinnati (ended by downs) was longer than the 6:14 on this possession.
    - The offense put up points in the red zone on all three trips, bringing the season mark up to 33-of-42 (79%).
    - The offense did not allow a sack for the secondgame this season, also preventing any against Houston.
     
    INDIVIDUAL NOTES
    - QB Chas Dodd make his first start since the 2011 Pinstripe Bowl and finished passing 16-of-35 for 286 yards. He is now eighth in school history in three passing categories: 307 career completions, 550 attempts and 3,744 yards.
    - After playing in his first 23 career games, WR Leonte Carroo missed his first game due to injury.
    - LB Steve Longa led the team with 11 tackles in the game. He has tied or led the team in stops eight times this season and has a team-best 104 tackles on the year. The last RU middle linebacker to eclipse 100 stops in a season was Gary Brackett in 2002.
    - TE Tyler Kroft brought in four more catches to bring his team-leading total to 37. His touchdown in the first quarter was his fourth of the season.
    - DL Quanzell Lambert recorded his first career sack, while DL Djwany Mera forced a fumble to increase his sack total to 2.5. Mera’s six tackles were a career high.
    - WR Ruhann Peele was incorporated into the offense for the first time since the Houston game, making four catches with a career-long 40-yard reception included.
    - WR Quron Pratt has a career-best 132 yards receiving on three catches. His 84-yard reception was the longest play from scrimmage for Rutgers this season.
    - H J.T. Tartacoff is now 2-for-2 with 36 yards and a touchdown on fake field goals this season.
     

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