Thursday, December 28, 2006
Rice gains 170 yards rushing in Rutgers' first bowl win
HOUSTON -- Ray Rice again piled up the yardage to help
conclude a magical season for Rutgers.
Rice gained 170 yards on 24 carries and Mike Teel tossed a pair
of touchdown passes for the 16th-ranked Scarlet Knights, who
recorded their first bowl victory with a 37-10 triumph over
Kansas State in the Texas Bowl.
Rutgers (11-2) opened the campaign with nine victories before
losing two of its final three regular-season contests, including
a triple-overtime defeat to West Virginia on December 2.
However, the Scarlet Knights finished on a winning note to tie
the single-season school record for victories set in 1976. They
also completed a tremendous turnaround in the program, which
went 1-11 in 2002.
"This was just a really great night for our school and our
program, and to say that we are all very excited to win our
first bowl game would be an understatement," Rutgers coach Greg
Schiano said. "I have a good feeling about where this program
"This is everything the seniors deserved," Teel said. "Every
hard game they've been through and every hard moment they've
been through. To end it this way, that is the way it should be
and what they deserve."
In his 10th 100-yard game of the season, Rice extended his
school record to 1,794 yards this year and has 2,914 in two
campaigns to rank third on the Scarlet Knights' all-time list.
"Coach just called the plays and we executed," Rice said. "We
did what we were supposed to do tonight and the results were
there. The offensive line played just an unbelievable game and
maybe their best game of the year. They were magnificent."
Leading 17-10, Rutgers broke open the contest with a pair of
dramatic touchdowns in the first 3:19 of the second half.
Senior linebacker Quintero Frierson intercepted Josh Freeman on
the first play of the third quarter and returned it 26 yards to
the end zone to give the Scarlet Knights a 24-10 advantage.
"That play was there," Freeman said. "I just slipped. But I am
not going to make excuses. The ball just didn't go where I
wanted it to go. It was a little low and the linebacker made a
On Rutgers' next possession, Rice began the drive by gaining 22
yards to the Kansas State 46. Following a timeout, the
sophomore broke through for his 20th touchdown of the season to
widen the margin to 31-10.
Teel, who finished 16-of-28 for 265 yards, came out firing on
all cylinders by hitting seven of his first nine passes. He
found Tim Brown for a 14-yard touchdown on the Scarlet Knights'
second possession and a 49-yard score with 2:42 left in the
first quarter for a 14-0 lead.
"I thought Mike overthrew him on that when I first saw the ball,
but Tim just ran and caught up with the ball," Schiano said of
the second TD. "They have a really good chemistry."
After Jeff Snodgrass booted a 44-yard field goal for Kansas
State early in the second period, senior Yamon Figurs returned
Joe Radigan's punt 76 yards to the end zone to cut the deficit
to 14-10 with 9:38 to go before halftime.
Freeman went 10-of-21 for 124 yards and two interceptions for
Kansas State (7-6), which lost its second straight game after
being outgained, 479-162.
"It's never fun to lose," Freeman said. "You have to give it to
Rutgers. They played a very good game and I think they were
really hungry because they felt they got left out of a BCS game
and they were out there to prove something."
"Getting to the postseason is kind of a new experience for many
of us on this team," Wildcats coach Ron Prince said. "Our
players have to understand that we are going to have to play
these kinds of teams in the future and I want our team to
remember this and know how hard it is to win."