PISCATAWAY, NJ – Rutgers quarterback Ryan Hart (Coral Springs, FL) has been named the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week for the week ending Sunday, Oct. 10. Hart earns the award following a 37-34 win at Vanderbilt – a game in which Hart completed 31-of-40 passes for 344 yards and two touchdowns - leading the Scarlet Knights to the biggest comeback in school history.
Hart completed 15-of-17 passes in the opening half vs. the Commodores, but the Scarlet Knights trailed, 20-3, entering the break. Another Vanderbilt touchdown early in the third quarter extended the lead to 27-3, but Rutgers outscored the Commodores 34-7 the rest of the way, as Hart completed 16-of-23 passes for 211 yards and two TD’s in the second half alone.
On RU’s first drive of the third quarter, Hart completed 3-of-5 passes including a 20-yard completion to Tres Moses (Delray Beach, FL), setting up a two-yard scoring run by Brian Leonard (Gouverneur, NY) which cut the lead to 27-10. On the next drive, Hart connected with Moses for 24 yards on the first play from scrimmage, pushing the Scarlet Knights to the three-yard line, setting up Leonard’s second rushing TD on the next play.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Hart completed 4-of-6 passes for 54 yards, connecting with Moses for 13 yards on a 3rd-and-10 and with Chris Baker (Jersey City, NJ) for a 19-yard TD on 3rd-and-9 to cut the lead to 34-23. On the next series, following a fumble recovery by the RU defense Hart hit Leonard with a nine-yard TD pass on the first play from scrimmage, pulling Rutgers to within five, 34-29. He then drove the offense 68 yards on 11 plays on its next drive, culminating in a 1-yard run by Leonard and a 35-34 lead with 1:11 left to play. Hart was 5-for-6 on the drive and added a two-point conversion pass to Moses to extend Rutgers’ lead to 37-34.
Hart leads the BIG EAST in passing yards (1441-288.2/game) and total offense (1388-277.6/game) and ranks second in touchdowns (9). He is also fourth in the country in completions/game (25.8). He is the third RU player to earn BIG EAST Weekly honors this season, joining Ryan Neill (Wayne Hills, NJ) and Jeremy Ito (Redlands, CA), who earned Defensive and Special Team honors, respectively, following RU’s season-opening win over Michigan State. Hart was named Co-Offensive Player of the Week by the BIG EAST following RU’s win over Temple on Oct. 25 last season.
Syracuse safety Diamond Ferri took Defensive Player of the Week honors and teammate Brendan Carney earned Special Teams Player of the Week accolades for their efforts in a 17-13 loss to Florida State.