PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Rutgers was all about business Thursday, taking care of it in fine fashion as they sent the Bulls back to Buffalo licking their wounds.
The third largest crowd in Rutgers Stadium history witnessed the No. 16 Scarlet Knights totally dominate Buffalo in every form and fashion, walking away with an easy 38-3 win.
Rutgers (1-0) out-scored, out-ran, out-passed and simply out-classed Buffalo (0-1). The Scarlet Knights finished with 563 yards of total offense while Buffalo managed just 235.
"Offensively, certainly we were explosive," Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said.
The Bulls had no answer for Ray Rice as the Heisman Trophy candidate ran for 184 yards and 3 TDs while wide out Tiquan Underwood had a record breaking evening, catching 10 balls for 248 yards and 2 TDs.
"We got some opportunities and he ran good routes and the offensive line protected and we were able to move the ball," quarterback Mike Teel said.
Teel was solid, but far from spectacular, as he finished 16-of-23 for 328 yards - a personal best - tossing Underwood's 2 TDs.
Behind Rice and Underwood, Rutgers had scoring plays of 34, 12, 65, 66 and 41 yards and led 28-0 as the fourth quarter began.
Underwood scored his two touchdowns on 65 and 66 yard catches on plays not designed for him. Teel actually checked down on the 66 yard connection and on the first touchdown pass was a play originally drawn up for fellow wide out Kenny Britt.
"The way Buffalo played defense, it freed up Ti," Schiano said. "We had some plays called that we thought where going to go to Kenny, but the way they played it it ended up going to Ti. You take what they give you, you don't force it and I thought that was a good thing we did."
Buffalo had trouble getting much going offensively, wracking up the majority of their yards in garbage time. The Bulls only managed a third quarter field goal as quarterback Drew Willy struggled to find any semblance of consistency. Willy showed some mobility behind center, but only converted 4-of-15 third down conversions as the Bulls were forced to punt the ball seven times.
"We definitely moved the football on them, but at the end of the day we didn't punch the ball in when we needed to," Willy said. "We didn't make the third down plays when we needed to to get the first downs."
It was a complete package for Rutgers. They did the job defensively and their offensive outburst showed the Scarlet Knights can feature a balanced attack, rather than strictly relying on the running prowess of Rice.
"There are things we have to work on," Teel said. "It's a good start, but it's only a start."
Player of the Game: Could easily go to Ray Rice, but we'll tab Tiquan Underwood because of his record breaking numbers: 10 catches, 248 yards receiving and 2 TDs. He showed some speed out-sprinting the Buffalo defenders to the endzone.
Play of the Game: Tiquan Underwood pulled in a Mike Teel pass after tipping it to himself and proceeded to outrun two Buffalo defensive back for a 66 yard score. Underwood gracefully leaped for the ball and wrangled it in after it looked like he wouldn't have a shot at catching the ball. He breezed into the endzone without close pursuit and it gave Rutgers a 28-0 lead half way through the second quarter.
Next Up: Rutgers will play Navy next Friday in a nationally televised game. The Scarlet Knights trounced the Midshipmen 34-0 last year in Annapolis and handled their triple-option offense surprisingly well. Schiano said he won't take much schematically from the game against Buffalo when he watches the tape, rather he'll watch to make sure guys were hustling and working hard.
Buffalo visits Temple Saturday in what could be their best chance of scoring a victory this season.