Rutgers 30, Temple 14
PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Brian Leonard scored three touchdowns as Rutgers snapped a 25-game Big East losing streak with a 30-14 win over Temple on Saturday.
Rutgers’ 25 straight conference losses were only two shy of the Big East record set by Temple from 1991-1995. The Scarlet Knights (4-4, 1-3 Big East) hadn’t won a Big East game since Nov. 13, 1999, against Syracuse.
Rutgers snapped a three-game overall losing streak and beat Temple (1-7, 0-3) for the first time since 1998. Either Rutgers or Temple have finished last in the Big East in 10 of the last 12 seasons.
The Owls were voted out of the Big East and are set to leave the conference after the 2004 season.
Rutgers had 363 yards against a Temple defense that came into the game ranked 110th nationally. Leonard had all three scores from inside the 10 and Ryan Sands added three field goals.
Temple may have lost its best chance for another victory this season. The Owls finish the season against Syracuse, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh and West Virginia. The Owls had won four games each of the last three seasons, but took a major step backward in Bobby Wallace’s sixth season.
Rutgers coach Greg Schiano received a Gatorade shower late in the fourth quarter.
With Rutgers ahead 7-0 on a 1-yard run by Leonard, Temple’s Mike McGann had his pass intercepted by Devraun Thompson and returned to the Temple 32.
Four plays later, Ryan Hart had a pass intercepted by Yazid Jackson and returned to the Temple 34. On Temple’s first play, McGann’s pass was intercepted again, this time by Jason Grant.
Rutgers then scored on a 7-yard touchdown pass from Hart to Leonard.
Hart went 30-for-42 for 316 yards. Leonard caught nine passes for 84 yards and added 64 yards rushing.
Leonard scored on a 4-yard run for a 21-0 lead, giving him seven touchdowns in the last two games and 10 this season.
Rutgers scored on a strange play late in the first half when Temple punter Mike McLaughlin tried to catch a low snap, but his knee touched the ground and was counted as a 13-yard loss. Rutgers took over at Temple’s 37 and the Scarlet Knights scored on Ryan Sands 32-yard field goal for a 24-0 halftime lead.
Sands added field goals from 49 and 37 yards in the second half.
McGann left with a hyperextended elbow on his right (throwing) arm late in the first half and was replaced by Walter Washington. Washington threw a 16-yard TD pass to Zamir Cobb in the third, and had a 2-yard scoring run as the fourth quarter ended.