Rapid reaction: Rutgers downs Syracuse, starts 2-0 for first time since 2014 thanks to defensive dominance
Rutgers is off to its best start since it first joined the B1G.
The Scarlet Knights are now 2-0 after posting a 17-7 victory over Syracuse on Saturday afternoon. The two teams found themselves in a defensive battle, with Greg Schiano’s team making just enough plays offensively to escape the Carrier Dome with a victory.
Rutgers forced 3 turnovers and Syracuse had 8 penalties for 55 yards in the game, which was ultimately the difference in the contest. It was a putrid day offensively for both squads, with Syracuse totaling 258 yards compared to Rutgers’ 195.
All scoring came in the second half, and it started with a Kyle Monangai 11-yard run in the third quarter, giving Rutgers a 7-0 advantage early. Syracuse’s Sean Tucker tied the game up with a 24-yard touchdown run of his own.
That was the end of the scoring for the Orange, though.
Noah Vedral connected on a Jovani Haskins for a 30-yard touchdown, which was ultimately the game-winning score. In the fourth quarter, the Scarlet Knights put a little breathing room between them and the Orange thanks to Valentino Ambrosio field goal from 27 yards out.
Vedral had a solid game from a consistency standpoint, completing 22-of-28 passes for 145 yards and the go-ahead touchdown pass in the third quarter. The Scarlet Knights were led in rushing by Isaih Pacheco, who totaled 44 yards on 18 carries.
Bo Melton was the leading receiver with 44 yards on 9 catches. Haskins had 3 catches for 38 yards and the score.
Tommy DeVito hit 15-of-26 passes for 149 yards with an interception for Syracuse. Tucker ended the game with 54 yards and the Orange’s lone touchdown in the contest. Taj Harris had a great game in the passing attack, hauling in 8 receptions for 122 yards.
Rutgers now has a chance to get halfway to bowl eligibility next week and match last year’s win total. The Scarlet Knights welcome FCS program Delaware to Piscataway for a chance to get off to a 3-0 start.
If Schiano’s team can secure that victory, Rutgers will need just three conference wins to get back to a bowl game. Wouldn’t that be quite the accomplishment in such a short period of time under the new staff?