Tuesday, October 21, 2008

On Location: Rutgers 12, UConn 10


PISCATAWAY, NJ – Just like in the real estate market, football is all about location, location, location.

And just like a shrewd agent, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights were able to reap the benefits of good location.

Starting the second half of play on homecoming weekend tied 3-3, Rutgers (2-5 overall, 1-2 in Big East play) stopped UConn red-shirt freshman kick returner Robbie Frey on the 1-yard line, then forced the Huskies to go three-and-out.

Although they weren’t able to convert the succeeding drive into points, it was a preview of things to come for Rutgers.

Punter Teddy Dellaganna, who performed brilliantly for the Knights, helped the special teams once again win the battle of field position, pinning the Huskies on their own 1.

“He (Dellaganna) had a big, big day,” Head coach Greg Schiano said after the victory. “I thought he did a great job. He picked up steam, and away he went.”

On a second-and-11 from their own 2, UConn starting running back Donald Brown appeared to be stopped in the end zone, but his forward progress was ruled to have gotten him out.

“One thing I’ve learned over the years is that for it to be called a safety, it clearly has to be a safety,” Schiano said. “If it’s close, it’s not going to be.”

The Scarlet Knights, benefiting from great field position once more, would not let the next opportunity slip away.

On a drive that started at the Huskies’ 37-yard line, the Knights converted on a third-and-seven from the 22 on a nice pass from starting quarterback Mike Teel to speedy receiver Tim Brown. They would eventually cash-in on a first-and-goal from the 6-yardline when starting running back Kordell Young scampered in for a touchdown to make the score at 10-3.

The third quarter was a sore spot for Rutgers through the first five games of the season – it wasn’t until their sixth game, against Cincinnati, that they were able to convert their first points in the quarter. The Scarlet Knights continued to buck that non-scoring trend in the third quarter of this contest, forcing the Huskies to start with poor field position and converting that into points for themselves.

After a failed Knights drive, Dellaganna again pinned UConn inside the 5. This time, however, Rutgers was able to get the safety when Brown was stopped by defensive tackle Blair Bines for what would turn out to be the game-winning points.

Although the Knights played well on defense for most of the game, a blown coverage allowed UConn to score on a Zach Fraser to Kashif Moore 47-yard touchdown pass with 8:33 left, bringing the Huskies within 12-10.

Later in the fourth quarter, Rutgers’ defense allowed the Huskies (5-2, 1-1 in Big East) to march right down the field, but held them to one final 42-yard field goal attempt.

Tony Ciaravano lined-up for the attempt and missed his third field goal of the day, hitting the right upright to seal the win for the Knights.

Rutgers eventually ran out the clock to record the 12-10 victory, their sixth consecutive homecoming win.