By JOHN GARRETT -
RUTGERS BEAT WRITER
You can’t ask for much more than to be in a situation to win the game with under two minutes left in the fourth quarter – especially when you’ve been outplayed most of the day.
But for the second week in a row Rutgers had the ball and fate in their own hands, but was unable to capitalize.
The Scarlet Knights (1-5) had redshirt sophomore Kordell Young in the starting lineup at tailback – his first start since the season opener – but it wasn’t enough as they dropped their second consecutive Big East contest 13-10 to Cincinnati (5-1).
Early on, the Rutgers defense looked good up front, but the secondary once again was susceptible to the pass. On their fourth drive of the game, the Bearcats started to exploit the porous secondary, but stalled in the red zone, settling for a field goal which put Cincinnati up 3-0 with 1:06 left in the first quarter.
With a chance to answer the Bearcats’ score, the Scarlet Knights failed to convert on a third-and-6, throwing the patented two-yards-short-of-the-sticks pattern.
Rutgers first 4 drives: 14 plays for 29 yards.
Special teams also played a factor in the first half. After a Teddy Dellaganna 60-yard punt, out of his own end zone, Cincy returned the punt 33 yards into Knights territory -- three plays later starting quarterback Chazz Anderson scampered in for an 8-yard touchdown.
As bad as Rutgers special teams’ coverage was, Tim Brown put a little, but not enough, life back into kickoff returns.
Starting inside their own 10-yard line with a little more than three minutes to go in the half, the Knights converted on their first third-down play of the half. But all-for-not, as fifth-year senior quarterback Mike Teel missed a wide open Brown for a sure score with a very badly underthrown ball.
At the half, Rutgers had two rushing yards and two first downs for 63 total yards -- Teel was 6-of-15, for 61 yards.
But this is the Big East, so they were still in the game, only down 10-0.
On the opening drive of the second half the Knights drove 90 yards on eight plays, highlighted by a third-and-2 halfback-option pass in which Young connected with junior fullback Jack Corcoran for a 17-yard score – Rutgers first third-quarter points of the year.
The Knights were right back in the game, only down 10-7.
On the following drive the Knights defense held the Bearcats to a 51-yard field goal. San San Te matched the long field goal with a 50-yarder of his own (the longest by a RU kicker since 1988), to bring Rutgers within 13-10 with 3:53 remaining in the third quarter.
But in typical Scarlet Knight fashion, they were unable to capitalize. With 2:10 remaining in the fourth, and starting at their own 12-yard line, Rutgers converted on first down, but then found themselves in a fourth-and-1 with 1:32 left and the ball on their own 31-yard line. Junior wide receiver Kenny Britt, who was well covered, dropped a slant pass…game over.