2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 4 - Ohio at Rutgers
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Sept. 24 at Rutgers 38 … Ohio 26
CFN Analysis: Get the ball to Mohamed Sanu over and over and over again is a good gameplan. The playmaking receiver caught 16 passes for 176 yards and two scores in a scintillating, unstoppable performance. He not only made big plays, but he kept the offense and the chains moving as a safety blanket. The Scarlet Knights weren't too bad running the ball when they had to, and the defense held up in the second half once Ohio started to press. The four takeaways helped, but it was the play of Sanu that was the difference, helping Rutgers hang on to the ball for almost 40 minutes.
Ohio can't just pin this loss on the injury to star corner Travis Carrie. He obviously would've made a big difference in trying to stop Mohamed Sanu, but this was a total team defensive meltdown after such a terrific start to the year. Ohio needs to control the clock with the running game and so far it's been great at not screwing things up with a slew of turnovers, but against the Scarlet Knights there were only 65 rushing yards, four turnovers, and nine penalties. This was an aberration; watch out for a far sharper performance when MAC play starts against Kent State next week.
(AP) PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Four turnovers, a concussion to top cornerback Travis Carrie and a record-setting game by Rutgers receiver Mohamed Sanu brought Ohio's best start since 1976 to an end.
"You can look at a lot of things, but bottom line is, Rutgers played well and we didn't," Ohio coach Frank Solich said. "When you start looking at things, there are things that add up. Bottom line for us is that we just have to play better football."
The four turnovers led to 17 points for the Scarlet Knights (2-1) and the loss of Carrie contributed to a phenomenal performance by Sanu, who had 16 catches for 176 yards and two touchdowns in a 38-26 win that knocked the Bobcats (3-1) from the unbeaten ranks.
"They didn't beat us, we beat ourselves," said Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton, who threw for 339 yards and three touchdowns. "We were ready to play. That was the only thing that happened."
What the Bobcats didn't anticipate was losing Carrie, who was hurt making a tackle on Rutgers' second series.
"That was huge," said Ohio safety Xavier Hughes, who set up the Bobcats first touchdown with an interception. "He is our No. 1 corner. Jamil (Shaw) came in and did a great job, but I felt like if Travis was able to stay in the game, we would have had a better opportunity (to win). We would be fresher and Jamil could come on and off and make more plays."
Without Carrie, Sanu was unstoppable. He caught touchdowns of 7 and 4 yards from Chas Dodd, who iced the game with a 10-yard scoring pass to Paul Caarrezola with 5:00 to play.
Sanu's 16 catches broke the Rutgers record of 13 that he tied in his last game two weeks ago. It also broke the single-game mark of 13 for a Big East Conference receiver.
"He made some plays," Hughes said. "I have to give him credit, but a lot of things were mental that we could have fixed."
Freshman Savon Huggins scored on a 3-yard run and Marcus Cooper returned a fumbled punt 3 yards for another score for Rutgers' other touchdowns.
Tettleton's touchdown passes covered 10 yards to LaVon Brazill, 31 to Donte Foster and 10 to Riley Dunlop.
The game had a dramatic moment at the end of the third quarter when a fan in the stands suffered a heart attack and was given CPR behind the Ohio bench. Solich walked onto the field after the opening play of the fourth quarter, trying to get the officials to stop the game so a cart carrying the fan could get off the field. The cart rolled down the sideline and out of the stadium seconds later.
"I was down on the sideline and our director of football operations yelled at me that someone had a heart attack," Solich said. "We thought that they were going to try to get the cart across the field. We weren't real sure, but I didn't bother to listen to any kind of explanations. When somebody said somebody had a heart attack, I just went out to get the game stopped and see if anything could be done."
Rutgers spokesman Jason Baum said the fan was taken to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital. He did not know his condition.
The Scarlet Knights turned two of the Bobcats' mistakes into touchdowns in building a 21-10 halftime lead, with the last score coming on a wild fumble return that Cooper carried the final 3 yards. Ka'Lial Glaud recovered a fumble by Brazill on a punt return at the Bobcats 15 and returned the ball to the 2, where he fumbled, only to see Cooper pick it up at the 3 and score for a 21-7 lead.
Todd and Sanu put Rutgers ahead 7-0 with a 7-yard touchdown pass just five plays after a bad snap gave the Scarlet Knights possession at the Ohio 29.
Hughes' interception gave Ohio the ball at the Rutgers 26 and Brazill made a one-handed catch to tie the game at 7 with 2:36 to go in the quarter.
Huggins, who fumbled inside the Ohio 10 on Rutgers' opening drive, scored from 3 yards out to put the Scarlet Knights ahead 14-7 on the ensuing series and then the fumble on the punt return made it a 14-point lead.
Matt Weller kicked a 42-yard field goal on the final play of the half to get the Bobcats within 21-10. It was the 39th of his career, setting a school record.
Tettleton's TD pass to Foster closed the cap to four points, but Dodd, who passed for 232 yards, drove Rutgers 62 yards in nine plays, hitting a double-covered Sanu for a 28-17 lead.
A fumble by Ryan Boykin set up a 44-yard field goal by San San Te early in the fourth quarter and Dodd iced the game with his last TD pass, which was set up by a 14-yard pass to Sanu on a third-and-15 and a penalty on the next play against Ohio for having 12 players on the field.
Ohio (3-0) at Rutgers (1-1) Sept. 24, 2:00, ESPN3.com
Here's The Deal … There's one unbeaten program left in the Mid-American Conference, and Frank Solich is its head coach. Ohio has jumped out to its first 3-0 start since 1976, blasting Marshall, 44-7, Saturday in the "Battle for the Bell". The Bobcats have begun to click in all phases of the game to vault into contention in the East Division. A road win over a Big East team would provide an even bigger boost just as league play is set to begin.
Rutgers is coming out of its bye week, one that head coach Greg Schiano described as one of the most productive since he's been at the program. It'll have to be for a Scarlet Knights team that's had a dubious start to the season. Even in putting a scare into North Carolina before the break, they were sloppy in the process. With the start of the Big East schedule just a week away, Schiano can ill-afford to drop a winnable game at home.
Why Ohio Might Win: If last week's win over the Thundering Herd is any indication, the Bobcats can win games in a multitude of different ways. QB Tyler Tettleton threw for a career-high 285 yards and three touchdowns, while RB Ryan Boykin rushed for 130 yards and a touchdown behind a veteran line. The return from last year's injury of WR LaVon Brazill has provided an immense boost to the passing game. The Ohio D has allowed just 10 points over the last two games, and has picked off eight passes on the year. It'll keep the heat on a flimsy Rutgers offensive line still looking for the right combination.
Why Rutgers Might Win: As well as Ohio has played, it's yet to face an opponent with the overall talent as the Scarlet Knights. Sure, they're a second-rate Big East school at this point, but they'd probably win the MAC. On offense, they've got a pair of playmaking receivers, Mohamed Sanu and Mark Harrison, and a rising star in rookie RB Savon Huggins. The defense is bigger and faster than the Bobcats are accustomed to seeing, rolling out sideline-to-sideline linebackers Khaseem Greene, Steve Beauharnais and Jamal Merrell. Rutgers is a blue-collar group that leads the league in run defense, scoring D, sacks and turnovers.
What To Watch Out For: During the week off, Rutgers' leading rusher De'Antwan Williams decided to transfer after being dropped on the depth chart. That choice should create more carries for Huggins, one of the highest rated high school backs in the country a year ago. The true freshman debuted with two scores, but had no yards on seven carries in the Carolina loss. Actually, the team had one net yard on 25 carries on that day, highlighting a need area for the Scarlet Knights. Huggins has the talent to be an answer, provided the erratic line can do its job.
What Will Happen: Ohio will enter the weekend ready and motivated to get to 4-0 on the backs of a Big East opponent. Rutgers will be rested and a little angry. The Scarlet Knights are taking on the personality of their coach, playing physically and to the whistle. They'll quiet the Bobcats offense, creating turnovers and short-field opportunities for the offense. Huggins will score from short range, aided by 100 all-purpose yards from Sanu.
CFN Prediction: Rutgers 23 … Ohio 16
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Rutgers -4.5 O/U: 50.5
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