New Hampshire 35, Rutgers 24
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP)—Redshirt freshman Ricky Santos threw for 385 yards and a school-record five touchdowns to help Division I-AA New Hampshire spoil Rutgers’ season of great expectations with a 35-24 victory Saturday night.
The victory was the Wildcats’ first over a Division I-A team since the NCAA split in the late 1970s that created I-AA teams. It also came a week after New Hampshire opened the season by knocking off defending I-AA champion Delaware.
The loss for Rutgers (1-1) came a week after the Scarlet Knights renewed hope at the birthplace of football with a 19-14 win over Michigan State, a win that had fans and players celebrating on the field.
Santos, who got the starting job last week when Mike Granieri was lost with a knee injury, had them booing by the second half.
Santos’ scoring passes covered 55, 3, 11, 24 and 21 yards. He finished 30-of-40 with one interception.
David Ball caught TD passes of 11 and 24 yards in the third quarter to give the Wildcats a 28-24 lead, and Shaun Diner caught the 21-yarder with 6:04 to play to send many in the crowd of 31,615 to the parking lots in disgust.
The last touchdown came after Rutgers’ Willie Foster muffed a fair catch and Will Morey recovered at the Scarlet Knights’ 15.
Ryan Hart threw two touchdown passes and Brian Leonard scored on a 1-yard run in helping Rutgers take a 24-14 halftime lead.
New Hampshire got its biggest break in the opening minutes of the third quarter when Rutgers punter Joe Radigan fielded a low snap with his knee on the ground, blowing the play dead.
The Wildcats took over at the Rutgers 21. Ball scored two plays later to cut the lead to 24-21.
Santos then hit five passes late in the quarter on a 58-yard drive that ended with passes of 24 and 20 yards to Ball.
Rutgers seemed to take control late in the first half, scoring 17 points in the final 3:21 to take a 24-14 lead.
With the Scarlet Knights trailing 14-7, Hart hit all five of his passes in a 65-yard drive that was capped with an 11-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Sam Johnson.
After holding New Hampshire on the next series, Hart was 4-of-5 in moving Rutgers 57 yards for a 21-14 lead. New Hampshire was caught in an all-out blitz on the final play and Chris Loomis had no one near him on his 17-yard TD catch.
A fumble by Aaron Brown after a 15-yard catch gave Rutgers the ball at its own 48 with 25 seconds to play. A 22-yard pass to tight end Clark Harris set up Jeremy Ito’s 48-yard field goal on the final play of the half.
Hart finished 30 of 50 for 307 yards and one interception.
New Hampshire had built its 14-7 with a creative offense that made Rutgers looked foolish at times, especially with the flanker screen.
David Bailey scored on a 55-yard flanker screen for a 7-0 first-quarter lead and Brown made it 14-7 on the same play in the second quarter.
Leonard had tied the game at 7-all with a 1-yard run.