Saturday, November 5, 2011
Final: Rutgers 20, USF 17, OT
By Andrea Adelson
Rutgers became bowl eligible after an incredible come-from-behind win over USF, erasing a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to win 20-17 in overtime.
Who had a role in the comeback? None other than Chas Dodd.
Rutgers coach Greg Schiano turned to Dodd in the fourth quarter to relieve an ineffective Gary Nova, who was 11-of-24 for 110 yards and a lost fumble. Dodd was not effective to start, but he came on strong after a huge momentum-shifting play. USF went up 17-3 with 7:38 to play after Demetris Murray capped an 89-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run.
But Jeremy Deering returned the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown and Rutgers was right back in the game. USF went three-and-out on the next possession. That is when Dodd worked his comeback magic. He and Mohamed Sanu continually burned the Bulls, including on a critical fourth-and-9 conversion that kept the drive alive. Rutgers tied the score with 1:08 remaining.
Dodd nearly blew the game, though, when he threw an interception late. B.J. Daniels marched USF down the field in no time, and set up for the game-winning 27-yard field goal from Maikon Bonani with 2 seconds left. But he missed it, and the game went into overtime.
Daniels threw an interception on the opening USF drive. San San Te did not miss his game-winning opportunity and nailed a 37-yarder to win to cap the improbable comeback.
USF, which dominated the game, has dropped four straight and is 0-4 in Big East play. The Bulls held Rutgers to minus-7 yards rushing and outgained the Scarlet Knights 381-228. But once again they found a way to lose. A team that started the season with a win over Notre Dame is now in danger of not making a bowl game.