Rutgers Football: Once Again, UConn Is Panacea for Rutgers

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Rutgers Football: Once Again, UConn Is Panacea for Rutgers
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Chas Dodd

UConn has always seemed to be the cure for all that ails Rutgers.  Coming off a terrible loss to Tulane, one that left Rutgers fans wondering where the program stood, Rutgers came up with its biggest win of 2010 with a 27-24 victory over the Huskies.  

UConn has always seemed to be the team Rutgers finds a way to beat ever since it started going to bowl games on a regular basis since 2005.

In that time period, the Knights' only loss to Connecticut came in 2007 at Rentschler Field.  The games between Rutgers and UConn have usually been competitive, and more often than not, undecided until the game's last play.

The last three games, all wins for Rutgers, have got to have Connecticut fans wondering if they will ever beat the Scarlet Knights again.

In 2008, Rutgers started 1 - 5.  Similar to now,  Rutgers fans were in crisis mode.  They faced UConn on a Saturday afternoon in mid-October in need of a win to jump-start its season.

Rutgers used good defense, and watched a potential game-winning field goal bounce off the uprights en-route to a 12-10 win.  The win sparked the Knights on a win streak that would send Rutgers to an 8-5 record with a bowl win over N.C. State.

On Halloween in 2009, Rutgers found itself down three points with the ball and less than a minute to go. On first and 10, Tom Savage hit Tim Brown on a simple crossing route that Brown took 83 yards for a game-winning score.

This year, the two teams entered the game each searching for an identity.  UConn has started a myriad of quarterbacks over the past few seasons, and this season have seemed to settle on Cody Endres over Zach Frazer, the former Notre Dame recruit.

The decision paid off as UConn beat Vanderbilt in impressive fashion last weekend.  They put up 40 points in that game. 

Rutgers has a bit of a controversy brewing at quarterback in its own right.  Tom Savage was once again placed atop the Rutgers depth chart, and was dressed.  He warmed up, and seemed ready to play, but Schiano pronounced him "not ready to go" for Friday night's showdown with the Huskies.

Chas Dodd started, and was very impressive.  In the first quarter, on a 3rd and long scenario, he hit freshman wide-out Jeremy Deering on a deep out that Deering took up the sideline for a 46-yard touchdown, giving R.U. a 7-0 lead.

On the ensuing kickoff, UConn's Nick Williams split the Rutgers' kick-coverage team for a 100-yard touchdown, knotting the game at seven apiece. 

Rutgers would go on to score the next 10 points with a Sanu "wildcat" touchdown and a San San Te field goal, and seemed in control with a 17-7 lead. 

UConn, however would dominate the last seven minutes of the first half.  At the 6:36 mark, Jordan Todman busted a 66-yard run into the end-zone to pull the Huskies within 3.  After Rutgers was stopped 3 and out, the ensuing punt by Teddy Dellegana set the Huskies up on Rutgers' 28 yard line after a nice return by UConn's Taylor Mack.

Three plays later, Kashif Moore made a catch of a perfectly thrown deep ball to give UConn the lead at 21-17. 

Rutgers again sputtered on offense, and UConn had the ball with just under three minutes to go in the first half.  They drove the ball 53 yards on 10 plays, and seemed poised to take a commanding lead.  The Rutgers defense, however, came up with a huge stop, and forced a 17-yard field goal attempt from Dave Teggart.

Teggart split the uprights and the Scarlet Knights went to the half having watched UConn score 17 straight points to take a 24-17 halftime lead.

UConn wouldn't score again.

The Knights' defense stiffened, pitching a second-half shut-out.  Todman couldn't break another run, and UConn was unable to get in range to attempt a field goal the second half. 

Rutgers embarked on two very impressive drives in the 3rd and early 4th quarter.  Each, however, ended on downs when Rutgers was unable to convert on a fake field goal attempt that watched Kyle Sullivan thrown into double coverage ,and a misfire on 4th and 9 with Dodd throwing on the run.

Rutgers however was undeterred.  After a big defensive stop, Rutgers had the ball at midfield with just under four minutes to go in the game. 

Dodd looked to his left for a screen and saw it was double-covered, but quickly progressed his vision up the sideline and saw Mark Harrison running free.  Dodd hit Harrison between the numbers, and the Connecticut native burned his home state's university as he walked into the end zone. With an extra point, Rutgers had knotted the game at 24.

This is the second straight year Harrison has scored against UConn.

The two teams traded three-and-outs, and UConn had the ball, and with it a chance to steal the game from Rutgers.  Kashif Moore was wide open for a first down, but dropped the ball, which both stopped the clock and forced a third down. 

Endres then looked to Moore again along the sideline, but had the play broken up by a combination of Brandon Bing and Khaseem Greene.  UConn was forced to punt, and R.U. was set up with good field position after a Cole Wagner 30-yard punt. 

Starting at their own 38 yard line, Dodd connected, freshman to freshman, when he threw an absolute strike to Jeremy Deering.  Deering used the speed for which he was touted when he raced up the sidelines setting the Knights up at UConn's 17. 

Rutgers ran the clock down to 13 seconds, and Te nailed a 34-yard field goal to give Rutgers the 27-24 lead.  Connecticut attempted two long passes, the second intercepted by Mohamed Sanu to punctuate the emotional win for the Knights.

Next up for Rutgers is a trip to the New Meadowlands for a game against Army.  Chas Dodd has already been named the starting QB for the game. 

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