Rice Makes Nice
PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Ray Rice is amassing quite a lot of milestones in his career at Rutgers - in fact, on the first series of plays tonight he became Rutgers' all-time leading rusher - but after the second game of his junior season, Rice actually accomplished a career first in the Knights' 41-24 win over Navy Friday night.
"It's a lifetime achievement," Rice said of breaking Rutgers' rushing record. "I never really cared about individual awards, but this one means a lot because I did it here at Rutgers Stadium"
The junior running back rushed 37 times for 176 yards and two TDs in front of 43,514 Scarlet-clad fans, the 3rd biggest crowd in Rutgers history, but it was his other touchdown that was the sweetest. In the first quarter, Rice took a Mike Teel pass 22 yards for a score, notching his first-ever TD catch. In all, Rice finished with 40 yards receiving.
It was the first time since 2003 that anyone rushed for over 150 yards against Navy.
Rice now has 360 yards rushing and 5 TDs in Rutgers' two wins on the season. Mike Teel also had a stellar day, finishing 14-for-19 for 266 and 3 TDs to go with one pick.
Leading the way catching the football for the Knights was junior Tiquan Underwood, who caught six balls for 104 yards - nothing compared to the game he had against Buffalo last week when he set a new single-game record with 248 yards. Kenny Britt also had a big game, making three catches for 99 yards and a TD. Rice and tight end Shamar Graves had the other two TD catches.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Navy's QB, Kaheaku-Enhada finished an abysmal 5-of-12 with a TD and three interceptions, the most of his career. In fact, the three navy picks were the most for the Mids since 2000 against Tulane.
"I threw it and the guy caught it," said the obviously flabbergasted Navy QB Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada about his first interception of the night. "I was trying to throw it away. It was an interception. What do I say about that? The guy was coming hard and I tried to get away as fast as I could. I saw a lot of red."
The passing game was so poor for Navy, the leading receiver, senior Greg Sudderth, caught two passes for 20 yards, the first two catches of his career.
Navy is of course a running football team and they were led by Eric Kettani who ran the ball nine times for 48 yards and Adam Ballard who ran it 12 times for 42. Both Enhada and backup QB Jarod Bryant scored on rushing TDs.
But Navy is not built to come from behind and once they got down 24-7, the game was pretty much over. The Mids went to the air more than usual and that resulted in the plethora of picks.
"It certainly helps when you can score points against that offense, especially when they get clicking," Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano said after the game. "When they get clicking you can see the tempo picking up, so to get ahead on them certainly helps."
Navy is now 1-1 after their opening season win at Temple. And although their passing game was terrible, their running game certainly caused a few problems for Rutgers. The Mids marched downfield on a few occassions, but turnovers seemed to be their achilles heel.
CSTV has the pleasure of broadcasting the Mids next contest in Annapolis against Ball State, a game that the Mids should win. In fact, should Navy play to potential, another bowl game is certainly in the cards.
They simply ran into a better team tonight.
Other than making mistakes on penalties - Rutgers finished with 11 fouls for 100 yards - the Scarlet Knights proved they will continue to be a force in the Big East.
Player of the Game: Ray Rice, RB, Rutgers
You gotta pick Rice here - something tells me he'll be the POTG for Rutgers a lot. The junior ran for 176 yards on 37 carries for an average of 4.7 YPC and two TDs. He added 40 yards receiving and another TD through the air. Rice certainly didn't do anything to hurt his Heisman chances with this one. At one point, with the game seemingly won already, Rutgers handed the ball off to Rice for seven plays out of eight for a drive that resulted in a field goal.
No. 27 for Rutgers is certainly the hemi engine underneath Rutgers' hood.
Play of the Game:
Navy opened the second half with the ball and drove downfield on seven plays for 67 yards resulting in a Enhada keeper to bring the Mids to within 10.
On Rutgers' next possession, the Scarlet Knights' QB Teel made his only mistake of the game, throwing an interception to give Navy the ball back quickly on the Knights' 22 yard line.
That is when the play happened.
Rutgers' Courtney Greene, a junior defensive back, was a step behind his man in the back of the endzone when Enhada released his pass. Covering ground quickly, Greene leaped into the air just as the ball was flying past his fingers, reaching out and making a spectacular diving interception to preserve the 10-point lead.
"The thing that turned it was the interception," said Navy coach Paul Johnson about the Greene pick. "If we put that one in the endzone and make it 24-21, now we got a game and maybe they panic a little. To their credit, they came back out and made a play and we made a poor decision. Probably poor play call on my part."
Navy would never seriously threaten again as that play seemingly took all the wind out of their sails. Yes that was a Navy being a maritime branch of the military reference.
Next Up For Navy: The Mids next take the field for a Sept. 15 game at home against Ball State on CSTV.
Next Up For Rutgers: Next Saturday, the 15th, the Knights will have an easier contest - yes, easier than this one, I'd expect - against Norfolk State at 3:30 p.m. in Piscataway.