PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Senior fullback Brian Leonard (Gouverneur, N.Y.) became the career scoring leader in Rutgers history as he scored two rushing touchdowns, leading No. 15/16 Rutgers (10-1, 5-1 BIG EAST to a 38-7 BIG EAST win over Syracuse (4-8, 1-6 BIG EAST) in its home finale at Rutgers Stadium on Saturday.
|Tiquan Underwood congratulates Kenny Britt after a first-quarter touchdown.|
The Scarlet Knights finished with a perfect 6-0 record at home in 2006, marking the first time since 1984 that Rutgers has gone unbeaten on their home field. The perfect mark at Rutgers Stadium is the first since the facility was built in 1994.
Leonard led the Scarlet Knights with 133 all-purpose yards, including 106 yards on 19 carries. The senior fullback scored two rushing touchdowns, the 30th and 31st of his career. With the fourth-quarter touchdown, Leonard became the all-time leading scorer in Rutgers history with 266 career points, breaking the previous record of 261 points, set by placekicker Kennan Starzell from 1976-79.
Rutgers running back Ray Rice (New Rochelle, N.Y.) ran for 107 yards on 23 carries, the 13th 100-plus-yard game in his career and his eighth on the season. True freshman wide receiver Kenny Britt (Bayonne, N.J.) made four catches for 94 yards, a career-best, while also scoring his first two career touchdowns against the Orange.
On its first drive of the game, Rutgers took an early 7-0 lead as Rice scored his 17th rushing touchdown of the season, capping an eight-play, 88-yard drive.
Sophomore safety Courtney Greene (New Rochelle, N.Y.) halted the Orange's first drive with an interception at the Syracuse 36-yard line, his fourth of the season, and returned it 26 yards. On the opening play on the Scarlet Knights' second possession, sophomore quarterback Mike Teel (Oakland, N.J.) hit Britt on a 38-yard pass, giving the Scarlet Knights a 14-0 lead on the true freshman's first career touchdown.
With 1:17 left in the first half, Britt made his second touchdown reception of the game on a 28-yard pass from Teel. During the 51-yard drive, Teel went 3-for-3 for 44 yards, finishing the first half going 9-for-11 for 123 yards.
To open the second half, Rutgers took a 28-0 lead on a two-yard touchdown run from Leonard with 7:55 remaining in the third quarter. The 48-yard drive consisted of all running plays as Rice ran for 32 yards and Leonard rushed for 16 yards en route to the touchdown.
On their first drive of the fourth quarter, the Scarlet Knights extended their lead to 31-0 on a 32-yard field goal by Jeremy Ito (Redlands, Calif.). Sam Johnson (Midland Park, N.J.) made a 23-yard catch, his first of the season, during the nine-play, 51-yard drive.
Leonard scored Rutgers' final touchdown of the game on a two-yard run to score his second rushing touchdown of the game and set a new career scoring record. During the drive, Leonard ran for 48 yards as Rutgers used 13 plays over 81 yards for the score.
Defensively, the Scarlet Knights were led by Quintero Frierson (Coral Gables, Fla.) who made a career-high 10 tackles, including three solo stops. Greene had nine tackles in the game and also forced a fumble against the Orange.
No. 15/16 Rutgers will close its regular season in Morgantown, W. Va. against the West Virginia Mountaineers at 7:45 p.m. on ESPN next Saturday night.
With the 38-7 victory over Syracuse, Rutgers posted its second 10-win season in school history (137 seasons) to move to 10-1 overall and 5-1 in the BIG EAST. The Scarlet Knights' only other 10-win season was in 1976 (11-0).
The Scarlet Knights are now 5-1 in the BIG EAST, tied for the first in the conference standings with Louisville. With a victory at West Virginia next Saturday, Rutgers would win its first BIG EAST Championship.
Rutgers finished the season 6-0 at Rutgers Stadium, the 14th time in school history that the Scarlet Knights have been undefeated at home. The perfect mark is the first since 1984 on the Scarlet Knights' home field.
Today's attendance of 43, 791 is the second-largest crowd in Rutgers Stadium history. The Scarlet Knights' season average of 41,112 is the best in school history.
Rutgers had two 100-yard rushers (Brian Leonard 19 carries for 106 and Ray Rice 23 for carries for 107) in the same game for the first time since Oct. 15, 1994. On that date, Terrell Willis (119) and Bruce Presley (115) each topped the century mark against Cincinnati.
Rutgers outscored Syracuse 14-0 in the first quarter of play. In 11 games in 2006, RU has outscored the opposition 79-25 in the first quarter.
In the first half of play, Rutgers held the Orange to 14 yards passing. Syracuse's two quarterbacks – Perry Patterson and Andrew Robinson – were a combined 2-of-7 passing with one interception in the game's first 30 minutes of play.
Syracuse leads the all-time series with Rutgers, 27-8-1. The Scarlet Knights have won the last two meetings between the two teams, the first time in program history that Rutgers has won back-to-back meetings with the Orange. It is also the largest margin of victory for Rutgers over Syracuse in the all-time series.
Playing in his final game at Rutgers Stadium, senior FB Brian Leonard (Gouverneur, N.Y.) recorded the 44th touchdown of his career, becoming the all-time leading scorer in school history. His 266 career points broke the previous school record of 261 set by Kennan Starzell (1976-79). With 133 yards combined, Leonard has tallied 100-plus all-purpose yards in 23 of his last 37 games.
Leonard finished with 106 yards on the ground, marking the first time since Sept. 17 of last season at Buffalo he has topped the 100-yard mark rushing.
After running for 106 yards against Syracuse, Leonard has 2,723 yards rushing in his career, moving into sole possession of fourth-place on the all-time list.
Sophomore TB Ray Rice (New Rochelle, N.Y.) moved into sole possession of second-place in single-season rushing touchdown history at Rutgers with his 17th rushing TD of the season for the game's first score.
Rice also moved into fifth-place on the Rutgers all-time career rushing list with 2,615 yards in his 23-game career, passing Glen Kehler (2,567 yards from 1975-78).
True freshman WR Kenny Britt (Bayonne, N.J.) registered his first career touchdown on a 38-yard reception from QB Mike Teel (Oakland, N.J.) in the first quarter. Britt posted four receptions for 94 yards (a career-high) and two touchdowns in the first half.
Teel put together his best first half of football statistically of the season by going 9-for-11 for 123 yards and two touchdowns. Britt was on the receiving end of both scores.
Today's seniors playing in their final home game included Dondre Asberry, Brian Beckford, William Beckford, Anthony Cali, Manny Collins, Willie Foster Quintero Frierson, Joe Giacobbe, Clark Harris, Sam Johnson, Brian Leonard, Ramel Meekins, Wayne Morse, Dominic Piegaro, Joe Porter, Joe Radigan, Rashawn Ricks, Derek Roberson, Milan Rudanovic, Darnell Stapleton, Cameron Stephenson, Devraun Thompson, Shawn Tucker and Brandon Wood.
Senior LB Quintero Frierson (Coral Gables, Fla.) set a new career high with 10 tackles (including eight in the first quarter).
Courtney Greene's (New Rochelle, N.Y.) nine tackles against the Orange marked the fourth game this season Greene has registered eight or more tackles.
With three assisted tackles against Syracuse, Devraun Thompson (Piscataway, N.J.) moved up on the all-time list for assisted tackles with 149 in his career, just two tackles out of the fourth-best slot held by Darrin Czellecz's mark of 151 set from 1986-89.