Sept. 16, 2006
PISCATAWAY, N.J. - The Bobcat offense scored the first touchdown of the game but was limited to just 119 yards of total offense, 79 in the final three quarters, as Rutgers scored 24 unanswered points in a 24-7 Ohio loss to the Scarlet Knights Saturday at Rutgers Stadium.
"We just didn't play well enough in some areas to beat what is a very good Rutgers football team," Head Coach Frank Solich said.
Running back Ray Rice paced the Scarlet Knight offense with 190 yards on 29 carries and two touchdowns. Rice came into the week fourth in the nation in rushing with 154.5 yards per game. Rutgers quarterback Mike Teel was just 6-for-16 with three interceptions.
The Bobcats were unable to get much going offensively, especially on the ground, as Ohio ran for a net of negative six yards. Junior Kalvin McRae (Decatur, Ga.) led the Bobcats in rushing with 28 yards on 12 attempts. Senior quarterback Austen Everson (Brentwood, Tenn.) finished 11-for-21 for 77 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He moved into seventh place all-time in Ohio history in passing yards with 2,678. His first completion of the day marked the 200th completion of his career. Junior Chido Nwokochoa (Elk Grove, Calif.) led the team with four receptions and 45 yards while senior Scott Mayle (Philippi, W.Va.) recorded three receptions to move him into ninth place in Bobcat history with 89.
Defensively, senior Tyler Russ (Stetsonville, Wis.) led the way with 13 tackles and an interception. Senior Matt Muncy (Miamisburg, Ohio) recorded seven tackles, two for a loss, and also picked off a pass. The Bobcats were unable to tally a sack on the day.
"Our defense showed signs of playing well," Solich said, "but offensively we didn't get much put together to help the defense out."
Ohio wasted no time to get off to a fast start. On the second play from scrimmage, Muncy intercepted a Teel pass to give Ohio the ball in Rutgers territory. The Scarlet Knights forced the Bobcats into a third-and-19 situation but Everson hit Nwokochoa for a first down. On third and goal, Everson connected with senior Thomas Christy (South Euclid, Ohio) for a one-yard touchdown pass. The catch was the second of Christy's career and first touchdown reception for the senior Bobcat. Senior Matt Lasher (Copley, Ohio) hit the extra point for an early 7-0 lead, marking the first time Rutgers had trailed this season.
After a 31-yard field goal sailed wide for Rutgers kicker Jeremy Ito on the ensuing possession, the Bobcats gave the ball right back with an interception. The Scarlet Knights made the most of the opportunity as Rice scored from four yards out to tie the game at seven.
Rutgers earned great field position again on the next Ohio possession. After forcing another Bobcat punt, James Townsend blocked the kick and the Scarlet Knights recovered deep in Ohio territory. The Bobcat defense stepped up and limited Rutgers to just four yards to force a fourth down, but Ito put the Scarlet Knights up 17-7 with a 29-yard field goal.
The Bobcats ran into more problems in the punting department on their next possession. After back-to-back false starts, the Bobcat punt traveled just 23 yards to give Rutgers good field position again. On the fifth play of the drive, Rice plowed his way into the endzone from four yards out to earn a 17-7 lead.
The big blow for Rutgers came with just 46 seconds remaining in the first half. Facing a third-and-10 from their own five-yard-line, Everson dropped back to pass but was sacked in the endzone and fumbled the ball. The Scarlet Knights recovered for a touchdown and a 24-7 lead heading into halftime.
Neither team was able to mount much of an offensive attack in the second half. Freshman Chris Garrett (Bristow, Va.) gave the Bobcats excellent field position with a 62-yard punt return late in the third quarter, his second nice return of the day. Garrett finished with 90 punt return yards, the ninth most in a game in Bobcat history. The return gave Ohio the ball at the Rutgers 16-yard-line, but the Scarlet Knights were able to hold and then blocked a Lasher field goal attempt to stifle the Bobcat scoring attempt.
After a scoreless third quarter, Ohio looked to get back in the game after an interception by senior T.J. Wright (Beaumont, Texas). The pick gave the Bobcats good field position and a defensive pass interception kept the drive alive. The drive would come to an end, however, as Rutgers intercepted a Bower pass in the endzone to once again thwart a scoring opportunity. Neither team made it to the endzone the rest of the way and the Bobcats suffered their first defeat of the season by a score of 24-7.
Rutgers improved to 3-0 for the first time since 1981 while the Bobcats fell to 2-1 on the year. Ohio has not been 3-0 since the 1976 season, when the Bobcats began the year 4-0.
Ohio will look to get back into the win column next week when the Bobcats play their third consecutive road contest. The Bobcats will battle Missouri at 1:00 p.m. CT.