True freshman Gary Nova threw two touchdown
passes in his first career start and Rutgers is 2-0 in Big East play for the second time in 21 seasons after a 34-10 victory over
visiting Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Cornerback Logan Ryan scored on a 45-yard
interception return in the final quarter as the Scarlet Knights (4-1,
2-0) picked off four passes to continue a season-long takeaway trend
while frustrating the Panthers (3-3, 1-1).
Rutgers has forced 22 turnovers, including 12 interceptions, while matching last season’s victory total.
Rutgers’ opportunistic nature was on display
midway through the third quarter when linebacker Steve Beauharnais
intercepted Pittsburgh’s Tino Sunseri and returned the ball nine yards
to the Panthers’ 18-yard line. The interception set
up Nova’s 6-yard scoring pass to Mark Harrison, which gave the Scarlet
Knights a 13-3 lead.
Later in the quarter, Joe Martinek took a screen pass from Nova and rumbled 60 yards to make it 20-3.
Pittsburgh star Ray Graham finally broke loose on
the first drive of the fourth quarter, breaking a 64-yard run and
scoring from 3 yards out on the ensuing play. Graham finished with 165
The Scarlet Knights boosted the lead back to 17 points on a 3-yard scoring run by Savon Huggins.
Sunseri threw three of Pitt’s four interceptions.
San San Te kicked field goals of 50 and 44 yards as Rutgers took a 6-3 halftime lead.
The Scarlet Knights’ other 2-0 start in Big East play came in 2006.