Turnovers aid South Florida in 45-31 defeat of Rutgers

By Bill Lynch  |   Sunday, November 06, 2005  |  Comments( 0 )

Rutgers Scarlet Knights
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Despite six turnovers, a 20% third down efficiency, and detrimental miscues throughout the game, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (6-3, 3-2) found themselves down by only 6 points with a mere four minutes to go in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Ryan Hart returned from an earlier injury and after the team converted two first downs, threw his third interception of the game. Two minutes later a quarterback sneak by USF junior Pat Julmiste and 2 point conversion by freshman back Ricky Ponton sealed the 45-31 victory for the South Florida Bulls (4-3, 2-1).

The Bulls took a quick 21-0 lead over the Scarlet Knights in the first quarter which included two defensive touchdowns, one interception return by DB Johnnie Jones and a fumble return by defensive end Terrence Royal. When all was said and done, USF had turned those six turnovers into an insurmountable 28 points. Running back Andre Hall also played a huge part in the Bulls' offensive attack, contributing 168 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground. The Scarlet Knights defense came alive in the second half, but it was too little, too late. Even with a struggling passing game that only provided 135 yards, the Bulls had no trouble punishing the Rutgers defense with 252 total rushing yards.

Knights' running back Raymell Rice was an integral part of Rutgers attempted comeback as he rushed for 158 yards on 26 carries. Star receiver Tres Moses also stepped forward and hauled in 117 receiving yards and a touchdown. Hart threw for three touchdowns in the game and orchestrated some impressive drives, but also tossed three interceptions and lost two fumbles at key moments in the game. After what appeared to be a shoulder injury, Hart came out for a series as freshman QB Mike Teel relieved him and threw an interception on his second pass attempt.

Rutgers looked to make a major comeback on two separate occasions down by 21 points, but failed to force any turnovers in the game and could not capitalize on a blocked FG attempt by USF that preceded Teel's interception. The Scarlet Knights fall to 6-3 on the season (with a 3-2 Big East record) and face a very formidable opponent next weekend at the 24th ranked Louisville Cardinals. The Bulls, coming off three weeks of downtime, move to 4-3. However, with a 2-1 Big East record they now have the potential to win the conference if they can somehow win their four remaining games, the most paramount of those certainly being their final game against 18th ranked West Virginia on December 3rd.
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