PISCATAWAY, NJ – Rutgers (4-2) scored 10 points in a 2:28 span late in the fourth quarter to defeat Temple (2-6) on Homecoming Oct. 16 at Rutgers Stadium.
In a game dominated by the two defenses, Rutgers was able to force four fumbles, intercept two passes and sack Temple quarterback Walter Washington six times. Both of Rutgers’ late scores were set up by turnovers, and the Scarlet Knight defense registered 10 total tackles for loss and six passes broken up.
The first quarter saw both teams struggle to get into the flow offensively, as the first 15 minutes were marked by two fumbles lost, two interceptions thrown and a bad snap on a Temple 40-yard field-goal attempt. Seniors Alfred Peterson (Miami, FL) and Piana Lukabu (Avenel, NJ) combined to jar the ball loose from Temple’s Washington to end the Owls’ second drive of the game, as Jarvis Johnson (Miami, FL) was able to come up with the loose ball. Sophomore Derrick Roberson (Oakland Park, FL) put a stop to the Temple’s fourth drive with his first career interception, picking off a pass at the Rutgers 11-yard line.
Following a scoreless first quarter, Temple was the first to get on the scoreboard, connecting on a 37-yard field goal three minutes into the second period. That lead was short lived, however, as RU tied it up on its next possession. Sophomore Willie Foster (Miami, FL) set the Scarlet Knights up for the scoring drive with his career-best 36-yard kickoff return, and freshman Jeremy Ito (Redlands, CA) capped it with his 43-yard field goal, making the score 3-3 with 9:20 remaining in the half.
Still tied at halftime, Rutgers took its first lead of the game at the 9:05 mark of the third quarter on an Ito 27-yard field goal. Those three points were the only ones scored during the quarter, as Temple missed a potential game-tying field goal wide right with 31 seconds remaining. But, the Owls were successful on their next attempt, connecting from 38 yards to even the score at 6-6 with 11:56 to play in the fourth.
Temple’s next drive was halted by freshman Ron Girault (Spring Valley, NY), who intercepted his first pass at his own 24-yard line. On a second-and-seven at the Rutgers 32, junior Ryan Hart (Coral Springs, FL) found sophomore Brian Leonard (Gouverneur, NY) on a screen pass, and Leonard raced up the visitor sideline for a 55-yard gain. That completion set up Ito’s third field goal of the afternoon, a 24-yard kick to give Rutgers a 9-6 lead with 5:23 on the clock.
Temple’s next possession started with two incomplete passes, followed by a Lukabu sack that resulted in a fumble. Peterson recovered the ball at the Temple 20-yard line, giving the Scarlet Knights excellent field position for another quick score. Hart connected with Foster six plays later for an eight-yard touchdown, and Ito converted the extra-point to push the Scarlet Knights ahead 16-6 with 2:55 remaining in the game. Temple’s last hope ended with a 30-yard field goal missed wide right with 66 seconds to play.
Girault led Rutgers with 13 tackles (seven solo, six assisted) and returned his first interception five yards in his first career start. Junior Manny Collins (Plainfield, NJ), another first-time starter, had nine total tackles, including a sack, and one pass broken up. Lukabu and Peterson combined to force the two fumbles. Lukabu also registered four sacks, while Peterson had one. Roberson broke up three passes and collected his first career interception, and Johnson recovered a fumble to go along with his seven total tackles.
Hart completed 18 of 30 passes for 193 yards and one touchdown. Leonard finished the game with 135 yards of total offense (80 rushing, 55 receiving), marking the 10th consecutive game that he had over 100 all-purpose yards. Tres Moses (Delray Beach, FL) caught a game-high nine passes for 98 yards and extended his streak to 17 games with at least one catch.
The Scarlet Knights return to action next Saturday, Oct. 23, when they travel to Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, PA, to battle the Panthers. Kickoff is slated for noon.
Post Game Notes
Today’s Win Over Temple…
Rutgers’ win over Temple this afternoon pushes its record to 4-2, the earliest RU has had four wins since 1993, when RU opened with an identical 4-2 record. That season, Rutgers beat Army, 45-38, on Oct. 16 to improve to 4-2. RU is now 18-16 all-time and 2-3 in Homecoming games vs. the Owls. RU is also 12-6 now at home vs. Temple.
First Time Starters
Sophomore Cameron Stephenson made his first career start for the Scarlet Knights today, opening the game at right tackle. Stephenson is the 17th different player to start on offense for RU this year, and the third at right tackle, joining Sameeh McDonald (4) and Jeremy Zuttah (1). On defense, junior Manny Collins and freshman Ron Girault earned their first career starts. Rutgers has now had 21 different players make starts on defense this season.
After earning the starting middle linebacker spot out of preseason camp, sophomore LB Quintero Frierson sustained an injury in the season-opening win vs. Michigan State and missed the next four games. He returned to the lineup today and made an immediate impact, registering a team-high four tackles in the first quarter and finishing the game with six stops (2 solo, 4 assisted).
Girault Sets Season High for Tackles
Making his first start of the season, Ron Girault finished the game with 13 tackles, setting a season high for the Scarlet Knights. The previous high of nine was recorded most recently by Jarvis Johnson at Vanderbilt on Oct. 9. Girault also added his first career INT.
Foster Posts Special Teams Best for Second-Straight Week
Last week at Vanderbilt, sophomore Willie Foster returned a fourth-quarter punt 36 yards to establish a career high and in the second quarter today, Foster returned a kickoff 38 yards to set another career high. Foster’s previous high for a kickoff return was 28 yards, established Nov. 15, 2003 vs. Boston College and duplicated on Sept. 4, 2004 vs. Michigan State.
Ito Hits from Long Distance Again
Freshman Jeremy Ito’s 43-yard field goal at the 9:20 mark of the second quarter was his fourth field goal of 40 or more yards this season. Ito has now convereted 4-or-6 attempts from 40 or more yards, including an RU Stadium record 48-yarder vs. UNH on Sept. 11. Entering this season, Rutgers had just four FG’s of 40 or more yards in the previous four years combined. (2 in 2003, 1 in 2002, 1 in 2001 and 0 in 2000). Ito finished the game with 12 field goals thus far in 2004, seven shy of the school record (19, Tom Angstadt, 1978).
Moses’ Streak Reaches 17 Games
With a 17-yard catch on Rutgers’ first drive of the game, Tres Moses extended his streak of games with at least one catch to 17 games. Moses finished the game with 9 catches for 98 yards, has 30 catches for 354 yards in his last three games and was two yards shy today of becoming the first player in program history to have three-straight, 100-yard games as a receiver.
Long Pass Play Extends Leonard’s Streak to 10 Games
A 55-yard reception midway through the fourth quarter pushed Brian Leonard over the 100-yard mark in all-purpose yards for the 10th-consecutive game. Leonard (80 rushing, 55 receiving) finished the game with 135 all-purpose yards this afternoon, his highest total since picking up 190 in the season opener vs. Michigan State.
Sack Streak Continues
Rutgers totaled three sacks in the first quarter alone, extending its sack streak to 18 games. Rutgers has also amassed multiple sacks in its last eight games, dating back to Nov. 15 of last season vs. Boston College. The Scarlet Knights now have 20 sacks through five games this season, including six this afternoon.
Today’s attendance (31,021) marks the fourth time in the last six home games that the Scarlet Knights have surpassed 30,000 at Rutgers Stadium. Over the last six home games, Rutgers has averaged 30,041 fans.
NCAAF FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- TEMPLE 0 3 0 3 6 RUTGERS 0 3 3 10 16 FINAL SCORING SUMMARY 1ST QUARTER: NONE 2ND QUARTER: TEMPLE - FG, RYAN LUX 37 YD, 3:00. TEMPLE 3-0 RUTGERS - FG, JEREMY ITO 43 YD, 5:40. TEMPLE 3-3 3RD QUARTER: RUTGERS - FG, JEREMY ITO 27 YD, 5:55. RUTGERS 6-3 4TH QUARTER: TEMPLE - FG, RYAN LUX 38 YD, 3:04. TEMPLE 6-6 RUTGERS - FG, JEREMY ITO 24 YD, 9:37. RUTGERS 9-6 RUTGERS - TD, WILLIE FOSTER 8 YD PASS FROM RYAN HART (JEREMY ITO KICK), 12:05. RUTGERS 16-6