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(Saturday, October 6th)
Final Score: (22) Rutgers 19, Connecticut 3
Piscataway, NJ (Sports Network) - Gary Nova threw a touchdown pass and the Rutgers defense forced five turnovers, as the 22nd-ranked Scarlet Knights remained unbeaten with a 19-3 victory over Connecticut.
Nova completed 18-of-27 passes for 157 yards, including a 14-yard TD strike to Mark Harrison for the game's lone offensive touchdown in the third quarter of the struggle between the Big East's top two defensive squads.
Wayne Warren returned an interceptions 25 yards for a late touchdown for Rutgers (5-0, 2-0 Big East), which played as a ranked team for the first time since 2009 and won a game while ranked for the first time since 2007.
Jawan Jamison ran for 110 yards, eclipsing the 100-yard mark for the fifth time in as many games this season for the Scarlet Knights, who are unbeaten after five games for only the third time since 1976 and are 2-0 in Big East play for second straight year and third time overall.
"If you could bottle today's game you'd see Rutgers football," said head coach Kyle Flood. "We had a 100-yard rusher, we were able to protect the quarterback -- we played tremendous run defense and we made some terrific plays in the kicking game."
UConn running back Lyle McCombs sat out the first quarter for disciplinary reasons and finished with just 32 yards on 12 carries. The Huskies (3-3, 0-1) were playing their conference opener and coming off a win last week against Buffalo.
"I would say that we had a hard time stopping their slanting and angling up front," UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni said. "They moved their guys up front pretty well today. We had a hard time finishing blocks and stopping them. That was certainly a factor in the run game."
Rutgers carried a 6-3 lead to the break and reached the end zone for the first time on its first possession of the third quarter with an 84-yard drive. Nova converted 3rd-and-6 with a 13-yard completion to keep it going and a 28-yard run by Jamison helped set up Nova's scoring toss to Harrison for a 13-3 game.
UConn didn't seriously threaten the rest of the way, reaching as far as the Rutgers 37 late in the third before punting it away. Two fourth-quarter interceptions then sealed the Huskies' fate.
Warren picked off UConn quarterback Chandler Whitmer and picked his way 25 yards to the end zone for a score with 3:44 remaining. Following a missed extra point, Whitmer was intercepted three plays after the ensuing kickoff by Khaseem Greene.
Whitmer threw for 191 yards and was picked off four times in defeat.
Rutgers converted a pair of UConn turnovers into field goals in the first quarter. Logan Ryan picked off Whitmer at the Connecticut 45 and the Scarlet Knights drove far enough for a 45-yard kick from Kyle Federico. A fumble on the ensuing kickoff led to a 31-yarder from Federico, but only after a holding penalty negated an 18-yard touchdown run by Jamison.
The Scarlet Knights marched from their own 24 to the UConn 33 with their next possession, but Federico's next try from 50 yards was blocked, giving the Huskies the ball at the Rutgers 47.
A roughing the passer penalty and a pair of first-down conversion runs by McCombs set up UConn at the Rutgers eight, but the Scarlet Knights stiffened and forced a 19-yard field goal from Chad Christen with 2:39 left in the half.
Rutgers avoided disaster in the final minute when a false start penalty was called on fourth down after the center snapped the ball past everyone while the entire offense was figuring out if coaches wanted them to run down the clock. The Huskies would have had the ball deep in Rutgers territory, but got it near midfield after a punt and a 51-yard field goal try by Christen missed just before the intermission.
Jamison became the second Rutgers running back to eclipse 100 yards rushing in each of the team's first five games, joining Ray Rice, who accomplished the feat in 2006. Jamison has six straight 100-yard games dating back to last season ... Rutgers was ranked 25th for a week in November 2009 and lost to Syracuse. The Scarlet Knights will host Syracuse next Saturday ... UConn will welcome Temple next week ... Rutgers has won four of the last five meetings with UConn and four straight at home ... McCombs was disciplined after an arrest Friday. The Hartford Courant reported that McCombs was arrested on a breach of peace charge and was released on $500 bond.
10/06 19:35:19 ET
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