EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (October 31, 2009) – Rutgers senior wide receiver Tim Brown (Miami, Fla.) put the stamp on the Scarlet Knights’ come-from-behind victory with an 81-yard touchdown reception with 22 seconds left in the game. RU (6-2, 1-2 BIG EAST) defeated Connecticut (4-4, 1-3 BIG EAST) 28-24 on Saturday afternoon at Rentschler Field to improve to 3-0 on the road.
Rutgers defeated Connecticut 28-24 Saturday to move to 6-2 on the season and 1-2 in the BIG EAST. The Scarlet Knights rallied from a 24-21 deficit with less than a minute remaining before Tom Savage found Tim Brown on an 81-yard touchdown pass to give Rutgers the victory. The TD pass came with 22 seconds remaining in the game.
It marked the first fourth quarter rally for a win in a BIG EAST road game since Rutgers trailed USF 14-13 entering the fourth quarter on Sept. 29, 2006 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. The Scarlet Knights outscored the Bulls 9-6 in the final 15 minutes of play for the 22-20 victory.
The last time Rutgers won a game in the final minute of play was a 28-25 victory over #3 Louisville on Nov. 9, 2006. With the score tied at 25, Jeremy Ito booted a 28-yard field goal with 13 seconds remaining to give the Scarlet Knights the three-point victory.
The Rutgers defense finished the Connecticut game +4 (three interceptions and a fumble recovery) in the turnover differential column. The Scarlet Knights are +27 over the last 15 games. RU has gained 25 turnovers this season, including at least one in every game. In total Rutgers has gained a turnover in 14 straight games. In 2009, Rutgers is +19 in turnover differential (25 turnovers, 6 giveaways). Over the last 15 games, Rutgers has gained a total of 42.
The Rutgers defense had three interceptions in a game for the second time this season. The Scarlet Knights also had three picks at Maryland this season. The Scarlet Knights have had multiple interceptions in four of eight games in 2009. Senior LB Damaso Munoz (Miami, Fla.), SS Joe Lefeged (Germantown, Md.) and CB David Rowe (Cocoa, Fla.) each had a pick against the Huskies.
The three interceptions in a game are the most since RU posted three picks against NC State in the PapaJohns.com Bowl on Dec. 29, 2008.
Senior Devin McCourty’s (Nanuet, N.Y.) 98-yard touchdown return on the opening kickoff was Rutgers’ first kickoff return for a TD since Sept. 10, 2005 when Willie Foster returned also returned the opening kickoff 93 yards against Villanova.
The touchdown return on the kickoff is the sixth non-offensive touchdown for the Scarlet Knights this season, tying the most since the 2006 season.
Rutgers is now 10-7-1 all-time on games played on Halloween (Oct. 31). The Scarlet Knights have won five of their last six Halloween games.
Rutgers is now 8-1 in its last nine games played on natural grass, dating back to the start of the 2006 season. The Scarlet Knights have won four straight games on natural grass, including both appearances this season at Connecticut and at Maryland.
With an 81-yard and a 37-yard touchdown reception at Connecticut, senior Tim Brown (Miami, Fla.) is now averaging 42.3 yards on his 16 career touchdown receptions.
His two touchdowns at Connecticut give him 16 for his career, tying him with Tiquan Underwood (2005-08), Marco Battaglia (1992-95) and Tres Moses (2001-05) for third place in Rutgers history – one shy of the all-time school record.
With 162 receiving yards against Connecticut, Brown now has 1,918 receiving yards on 96 catches for his career. He passed Brian Leonard (1,868 yards from 2003-06) and Chris Brantley (1,914 yards from 1990-93) and moved into eighth place on the Rutgers all-time receiving yardage list.
Brown recorded the eighth 100-yard receiving game of his career, passing Tres Moses (2001-05) and Marco Battaglia (1992-95) for the second-most 100-yard receiving games in school history.
True freshman QB Tom Savage (Springfield, Pa.) became the first true freshman QB in school history to win a BIG EAST road game. He finished the game with a career-high three touchdown passes on 13-for-24 passing and 236 yards. The 81-yard pass to Brown in the final minute of the game was a career-long for Savage, surpassing a 68-yard completion to Brown earlier this season.
The three touchdown passes equal the single-game record for TD passes by a true freshman QB. Ryan Cubit also threw three touchdown passes on Oct. 20, 2001 vs. Navy.
Savage already has the most wins of any true freshman QB in school history as a starter with five.
For the season, Savage has thrown eight touchdowns compared to just one interception.
Senior CB Devin McCourty (Nanuet, N.Y.) returned the opening kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown. For McCourty, who is in his eighth career game as a kick returner and had returned just seven kickoffs prior to the opening kick, it was his first career kickoff return for a touchdown and second career touchdown. McCourty returned an interception 38 yards for a TD against Illinois on Sept. 9, 2006 against Illinois.
True freshman WR Mark Harrison (Stratford, Conn.), playing back in his home state of Connecticut, collected his first career touchdown reception in the first half. He hauled in a 20-yard reception. It was his first reception of the game and third of his career.
Senior LB Damaso Munoz (Miami, Fla.) posted his second career interception with a second-quarter pick against the Huskies. Munoz also had an INT against Morgan State on Sept. 27, 2008.
Junior SS Joe Lefeged (Germantown, Md.) recorded his first career interception in the Connecticut game.
Sophomore DB David Rowe (Cocoa, Fla.) had the Scarlet Knights’ third interception against the Huskies. It is the second pick of his career. He also had one against Texas Southern on Oct. 10 of this season. Rowe also matched his career-high tackle total of five (also achieved the feat at USF on Nov. 15, 2008) in the first half. Rowe finished the contest with a career-high seven tackles, including his second career tackle for loss.
Rutgers’ starting wide receivers Tim Brown (Miami, Fla.) and Mohamed Sanu (South Brunswick, N.J.) each had multiple receptions, giving them a catch in all eight games this season.