NCF Nation: Shamar Stephens
October, 6, 2012
By Matt Fortuna | ESPN.com
Rutgers won't be up for any beauty contests after its 19-3 win over Connecticut, but the Scarlet Knights do look like the best in show of the Big East after five games.
The formula was simple Saturday against the Huskies, the team that crushed Rutgers' conference title hopes at the end of last season. Jawan Jamison carried the ball 28 more times for 110 yards, marking his sixth straight 100-yard game dating back to last season. The defense took care of the rest, forcing five turnovers, including a game-sealing 25-yard pick-six from Wayne Warren late in the fourth quarter.
It was a tight and, frankly, ugly contest — just the way the Scarlet Knights would like it.
UConn fumbled a kick return in the first quarter, leading to a Rutgers field goal. UConn later had a 21-yard punt after a low snap, before Shamar Stephen blocked a Rutgers field goal attempt in the second quarter. The Scarlet Knights responded with a bad punt of their own, kicking it just 12 yards on one attempt later in the second quarter.
For good measure, Rutgers' Jeremy Deering fumbled on a long kickoff return to open the second half.
The difference, however, was the Scarlet Knights' ability to capitalize on mistakes, scoring 12 points off three of UConn's turnovers. Both teams finished shy of 300 yards of offense on the day, but Rutgers was able to chew up clock in the second half on the back of Jamison, and the Huskies could never mount anything substantial on offense.
Lyle McCombs, benched for the first quarter following his arrest Friday, rushed for 32 yards on 12 carries, and the Huskies managed just 53 yards rushing as a team. They continued their streak of win one, lose one under Paul Pasqualoni, and they are still searching for an answer on offense through six games.
Rutgers, meanwhile, needs to keep from looking ahead. In the meantime, we will. Syracuse, Temple, Kent State and Army await the Scarlet Knights, and it's easy to imagine a 9-0 Rutgers team heading into Cincinnati on Nov. 17.
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