PISCATAWAY, N.J. (Dec. 7, 2013) –Two touchdown passes from senior quarterback Chas Dodd (Lyman, S.C.) and a pair of scoring rushes from sophomore back Paul James (Glassboro, N.J.) led Rutgers to a 31-6 win over USF Saturday night at High Point Solutions Stadium.
With the victory, the Scarlet Knights (6-6, 3-5) earned bowl eligibility for the eighth time in nine seasons, as Rutgers will take on Notre Dame in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium on Dec. 28.
“It's a really attractive matchup,” said head coach Kyle Flood. “It will certainly be an attractive matchup for their fan base and I think it will attractive to just the casual college sports fan that wants to see an event and to get an opportunity to go watch a football game in Yankee Stadium, one of the premiere venues in the world.”
Redshirt senior Joe Behnke (West Windsor, N.J.) capped the game with a 20-yard field goal, the first collegiate action of his career.
James scored his second touchdown of the contest at the 8:15 mark of the fourth quarter, posting his third multi-touchdown game of the season. The score gave Rutgers 28-6 lead.
The Glassboro product scampered in untouched from a yard out after setting the Scarlet Knights up for first and goal two plays earlier with a 13-yard run, which gave James his fourth 100-yard game this season.
The Bulls took the ball 58 yards on 11 plays in the final two minutes of the period to make it a 21-6 game at the half. The Scarlet Knights shut USF down in the opening portion of the game, allowing just 35 yards on the ground. The Bulls rushing total dropped to just 10 yards by the final buzzer.
The RU offense recorded an impressive half, scoring 21 points for the third time this season. The Scarlet Knights are 3-0 in 2013 when scoring at least 21 points in the first half. Dodd was an efficient 12-of-15 with two touchdowns in the first half,connecting with eight different Scarlet Knights. He finished the game 19-of-24 with 179 yards to go with his two TDs.
Dodd and freshman running back Justin Goodwin (Madison, N.J.) combined to drive RU down the field midway through the second quarter, with Dodd finding junior fullback Michael Burton (Long Valley, N.J.) for a 2-yard touchdown pass with 2:29 left in the second quarter.
Goodwin carried the ball three times for 19 yards on the drive and finished with 46 in the game. Dodd added an eight-yard rush of his own before finding sophomore tight end Tyler Kroft (Downington, Pa.) for a 24-yard completion. That reception brought RU to the USF 2-yard line, allowing Dodd to find Burton for his third touchdown catch of the season and give Rutgers a 21-3 lead.
Junior Gareef Glashen (Miami, Fla.) intercepted Bulls QB Mike White on the Bulls’ fourth possession of the game, as the RU offense took the ball to USF’s 1-yard line in the next three plays. However, a costly fumble by James gave USF possession with 1:21 left in the quarter.
The Bulls used themomentum from the takeaway to go 73 yards in 13 plays and cut the RU lead to 14-3 with 8:54 remaining until halftime. Marvin Kloss kicked the 24-yarder, his 17th of the season, for the Bulls’ first points of the evening.
USF converted 3-of-4 third down attempts on the drive while eating 7:27 minutes of clock.
The Scarlet Knights scored the only points of the first quarter, using 5:53 seconds of clock time to take a 14-0 lead.
With Rutgers holding onto a 7-0 lead with five minutes left in the quarter, the Bulls fumbled on their next possession to give the ball back on their own 24-yardline. Sophomore defensive lineman Darius Hamilton (West Paterson, N.J.) fell on the ball for his first career fumble recovery, setting RU up just outside the redzone. It was the Scarlet Knights’ ninth fumble recovery of the season.
From there Dodd did the rest, tossing a 12-yard strike to freshman wideout Andre Patton (Wilmington, Del.) following a roughing the passer penalty on the Bulls. Patton’s TD grab, the first of his career on his third catch of the season, gave Rutgers a 14-0 lead with 4:10 left in the period. It was Dodd’s first touchdown pass since Dec. 30, 2011 in the Pinstripe Bowl.
The Scarlet Knights struck first in the contest, putting together a nine-play, 46-yard drive capped byJames’ eighth touchdown of the season.
RU faced third down just once on the drive, gaining a trio of first downs to keep the drive alive and the clock moving. James rushed the ball six times for 26 yards on scoring march, finishing with a five-yard touchdown scamper to give Rutgers a 7-0 lead with 5:41 remaining in the first quarter.
Rutgers will have 20 days to prepare for its Dec. 28 matchup with Notre Dame in the 2013 New Era Pinstripe Bowl. The Scarlet Knights are 0-4 all-time against the Irish, with their last meeting resulting in a 42-0 road loss on Nov. 23, 2002.
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- LS Robert Jones played in his 50th straight game for Rutgers. Scott Vallone (2008-12) holds the program record with 51 consecutive, playing in a program-record 53 overall.
- P Nick Marsh also played in his 50thcareer and consecutive game, with the first 37 coming at Utah.
- Rutgers had 10 players start all 12 regular season games: WR Brandon Coleman, LT Keith Lumpkin, LG Kaleb Johnson, K Kyle Federico, DE Marcus Thompson, NT Isaac Holmes, DE Djwany Mera, WLB Kevin Snyder, MLB Steve Longa and P Nick Marsh.
- The offense started with three wide receivers, giving WR Ruhann Peele his second start on offense and fourth overall. He had started the previous two games at cornerback.
- K Joe Behnke made his collegiate debut and booted a 20-yard field goal.
- Rutgers earned bowl eligibility for the eighth time in nine years with the victory. The Scarlet Knights will make their second trip to the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, facing Notre Dame for the fifth time in program history. The programs last met on November 23, 2002 when No. 8 Notre Dame defeated the Scarlet Knights 42-0 in South Bend.
- Tonight’s game marked the latest regular season game on the calendar in program history. It was only the seventh home game in December for the Scarlet Knights.
- It was the ninth all-time meeting between Rutgers and USF, with RU now leading the series 7-2. RU leads 4-1 in Piscataway.
- The defense did not allow a touchdown for the second time this season, also doing that in the shutout win over Norfolk State. The 151 yards allowed were also the lowest surrendered in games except for the Norfolk State (133).
- The game time temperature of 33 degrees was the coldest of the season for a Rutgers home game this season. The coldest game of the season was last week at UConn (24 degrees).
- Rutgers jumped up to a 14-0 lead in a game for the first time since defeating SMU Oct. 5. The team finished with 21 points in the first half for the third time (Norfolk State, SMU).
- Spilts: 5-2 at home, 4-0 when leading at the half, 6-1 when scoring at least 20 points, 3-0 when holding an opponent under 20 points and 4-0 when with more passing yards than opponent.
- Rutgers had a one-play scoring drive in the first quarter, the shortest of the season. The previous low was two plays on a 69-yard touchdown pass at Fresno State.
- The 25 first downs were the most by Rutgers this season, surpassing the 24 achieved against Arkansas.
- Rutgers is 47-5 since 2000 when holding the opponent to less than 300 yards of total offense.
- The Scarlet Knights are 36-9 since 2006 when rushing for 150 yards or more in a game. RU ended the game with 176 yards rushing.
- Since 2000, Rutgers is 47-14 when holding the opposition to less than 100 yards rushing in a game. USF finished with 10 yards rushing on 20 attempts. The 10 yards rushing allowed was a season-best for the RU defense.
- Since 2000, Rutgers is 23-3 when limiting its opponent to less than 50 yards rushing in a game.
- QB Chas Dodd went 19-of-24 passing for a 79.2 completion percentage, his best since going 19-for-22 against USF in 2010. His two touchdown passes bring him up to 23 for his career.
- RB Paul James reached 100 yards rushing for the fourth time this season, picking up 113 yards. He also registered two touchdowns for his third multi-score game of the season. His nine rushing touchdowns match the number Jawan Jamison reached in 2011. He now has 833 yards in eight games this season, third-most in theconference.
- OL Betim Bujari saw action at guard on the second offensive drive for Rutgers. He last played the position in a game in the 2011 Pinstripe Bowl versus Iowa State.
- LB Steve Longa led the team with seven tackles in the game. He has tied or led the team in stops nine times this season and has a team-best 111 tackles on theyear.
- TE Tyler Kroft brought in three more catches to bring his team-leading total to 40. He is the only RU player to record a catch in all 12 regular season games.
- DL Darius Hamilton recovered his first career fumble in the first quarter on a mishandled snap to the quarterback. He also recorded a sack, now having 3.5sacks in his last three games.
- WR Andre Patton recorded his first career receiving touchdown on a 12-yard pass. It was his second score overall, as he recovered a blocked punt in the end zone at UCF.
- CB Gareef Glashen picked off his first career interception in the first half.
- FB Michael Burton recorded his second receiving touchdown of the season.