The magical season for the vaunted Rutgers Scarlet Knights football team almost took an awful turn Sunday night, due to the persistence of the Connecticut Huskies, a troop that wasn’t supposed to give Rutgers all that much trouble. After a harrowing third quarter, the Knights managed to hold UConn off thanks to the fine efforts of their defense and specials teams, 24 to 13.
You could almost feel it coming especially after Rutgers handled Pitt on the road and with a show down game against Louisville looming: the Connecticut contest was shaping up as one of those awful trap games, one that could have sent R. U. to their first loss of the season.
The game started out looking as if it would be a Rutgers blowout. The Knights marched their opening drive down field for a touchdown highlighted by Ray Rice’s sweep around the left side. In the second quarter the Big D stepped up by forcing a turnover that led to a touchdown, which was followed by a Jeremy Ito 50 yard field goal to extend the scoring. At the intermission Rutgers was up 17-0.
The second half began with UConn getting the ball and it only took two plays for the Huskies to reach pay dirt. Thanks to the quick moves of Donald Brown, an Atlantic Highlands, NJ native and Red Bank Catholic star, UConn quickly got on the board to narrow the score to 17 to 7. Before the third quarter ended, it was all Brown and the Huskies as they added a second score to narrow the gap to 17 to 13. Let’s just say that at this point that the home crowd in Piscataway, NJ was eerily quiet following UConn’s second t. d.
The dread thought that the Scarlet Knight’s unbeaten season would come to an end on a Sunday night in front of a national t. v. audience suddenly became very real. Rutgers offense was lethargic, Donald Brown could do no wrong, and only the defense and special teams could hold sway.
Thanks to a blocked punt that turned into yet another R. U. touchdown, Rutgers was given some breathing room with more than six minutes left in the contest. Leading 24 to 13, R. U. ’s defense managed to stave off the Huskies by repeatedly sacking and pressuring UConn QB D. J. Hernandez.
Although Ray Rice was limited to just 79 rushing yards and with the passing game virtually ineffective in the second half, the Scarlet Knights held of the pesky Huskies with their swarming defense and special plays. Another Rutgers squad would have found a way to lose this game, but this year’s team just isn’t that type of squad. As close as the game was, Rutgers still pulled it out so now the team can prepare for their November 9th showdown with Louisville.
Yes, that collective sigh of relief you heard at 11:18 on a Sunday night coming from the banks of the Raritan River was the Rutgers faithful knowing full well that their team dodged a bullet, escaping a snare that could have diminished what is shaping up to be a truly historic season.
Copyright 2006 – For additional information regarding Matthew C. Keegan, The Article Writer , please visit his blog for wit, quips, and freelance writing tips.