Error-prone Ohio falls to Rutgers
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) — Four turnovers, a concussion to top cornerback Travis Carrie and a record-setting game by Rutgers receiver Mohamed Sanu brought Ohio’s best start since 1976 to an end.
“You can look at a lot of things, but bottom line is, Rutgers played well and we didn’t,” Ohio coach Frank Solich said. “When you start looking at things, there are things that add up. Bottom line for us is that we just have to play better football.”
The four turnovers led to 17 points for the Scarlet Knights (2-1) and the loss of Carrie contributed to a phenomenal performance by Sanu, who had 16 catches for 176 yards and two touchdowns in a 38-26 win that knocked the Bobcats (3-1) from the unbeaten ranks.
“They didn’t beat us, we beat ourselves,” said Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton, who threw for 339 yards and three touchdowns. “We were ready to play. That was the only thing that happened.”
What the Bobcats didn’t antipcate was losing Carrie, who was hurt making a tackle on Rutgers’ second series.
“That was huge,” said Ohio safety Xavier Hughes, who set up the Bobcats first touchdown with an interception. “He is our No. 1 corner. Jamil (Shaw) came in and did a great job, but I felt like if Travis was able to stay in the game, we would have had a better opportunity (to win). We would be fresher and Jamil could come on and off and make more plays.”
Without Carrie, Sanu was unstoppable. He caught touchdowns of 7 and 4 yards from Chas Dodd, who iced the game with a 10-yard scoring pass to Paul Caarrezola with 5:00 to play.
Sanu’s 16 catches broke the Rutgers record of 13 that he tied in his last game two weeks ago. It also broke the single-game mark of 13 for a Big East Conference receiver.
“He made some plays,” Hughes said. “I have to give him credit, but a lot of things were mental that we could have fixed.”
Freshman Savon Huggins scored on a 3-yard run and Marcus Cooper returned a fumbled punt 3 yards for another score for Rutgers’ other touchdowns.
Tettleton’s touchdown passes covered 10 yards to LaVon Brazill, 31 to Donte Foster and 10 to Riley Dunlop.
The game had a dramtic moment at the end of the third quarter when a fan in the stands suffered a heart attack and was given CPR behind the Ohio bench. Solich walked onto the field after the opening play of the fourth quarter, trying to get the officials to stop the game so a cart carrying the fan could get off the field. The cart rolled down the sideline and out of the stadium seconds later.
“I was down on the sideline and our director of football operations yelled at me that someone had a heart attack,” Solich said. “We thought that they were going to try to get the cart across the field. We weren’t real sure, but I didn’t bother to listen to any kind of explanations. When somebody said somebody had a heart attack, I just went out to get the game stopped and see if anything could be done.”
Rutgers spokesman Jason Baum said the fans was taken to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital. He did not know his condition.
The Scarlet Knights turned two of the Bobcats’ mistakes into touchdowns in building a 21-10 halftime lead, with the last score coming on a wild fumble return that Cooper carried the final 3 yards. Ka’Lial Glaud recovered a fumble by Brazill on a punt return at the Bobcats 15 and returned the ball to the 2, where he fumbled, only to see Cooper pick it up at the 3 and score for a 21-7 lead.
Todd and Sanu put Rutgers ahead 7-0 with a 7-yard touchdown pass just five plays after a bad snap gave the Scarlet Knights possession at the Ohio 29.
Hughes’ interception gave Ohio the ball at the Rutgers 26 and Brazill made a one-handed catch to tie the game at 7 with 2:36 to go in the quarter.
Huggins, who fumbled inside the Ohio 10 on Rutgers’ opening drive, scored from 3 yards out to put the Scarlet Knights ahead 14-7 on the ensuing series and then the fumble on the punt return made it a 14-point lead.
Matt Weller kicked a 42-yard field goal on the final play of the half to get the Bobcats within 21-10. It was the 39th of his career, setting a school record.
Tettleton’s TD pass to Foster closed the cap to four points, but Dodd, who passed for 232 yards, drove Rutgers 62 yards in nine plays, hitting a double-covered Sanu for a 28-17 lead.
A fumble by Ryan Boykin set up a 44-yard field goal by San San Te early in the fourth quarter and Dodd iced the game with his last TD pass, which was set up by a 14-yard pass to Sanu on a third-and-15 and a penalty on the next play against Ohio for having 12 players on the field.