PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP)—Chris Henry’s lack of discipline is overshadowing his talent and annoying his coach.
Henry caught a touchdown and set up another with a 69-yard catch before being kicked out of the game for two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in West Virginia’s 35-30 win over Rutgers on Saturday.
“I just told him it was embarrassing, flat out simple,” Mountaineers coach Rich Rodriguez said. “I said: ‘You are embarrassing yourself, you are embarrassing the program.’
“I don’t even need to see what happened. ….Just a lack of poise plain and simple.”
West Virginia (7-1, 3-0 Big East) beat Rutgers (4-4, 1-3) for the 10th straight time.
Henry, who didn’t start because of previous on-the-field antics, got his first unsportsmanlike penalty for posturing near the end zone after his long catch and run with a fourth-quarter pass.
After the 15-yard penalty, Rasheed Marshall gave West Virginia a 28-17 lead with a 4-yard TD toss to Miquelle Henderson.
Henry, the Big East rookie of the year in 2003, increased the lead to 35-17 by outjumping Joe Porter for a 39-yard pass in the corner of the end zone. The two landed together, with Porter on top.
Seemingly angry that Porter didn’t get off him right away, Henry, who had four catches for 119 yards, tossed the ball at the Rutgers player and kicked his leg out.
It got him a second unsportsmanlike penalty and a trip to the locker with 8:52 to go.
Henry was escorted off the field, occasionally looking at the Rutgers bench and later yelling at fans. A league official said he will not be suspended, because such punishment is only for fighting.
Rodriguez plans to discipline Henry, but he did not say what would happen.
“That stuff is just stupid, man,” said Marshall, who also ran for a touchdown. “I try to talk to him all the time. Sometimes, he listens and other times he just goes and does his own thing.”
Henry, who has only talked to the media twice in two seasons, was not available for comment.
Rutgers cornerback Derrick Roberson said Henry never stopped talking.
“He was talking trash the whole game, and right in front of the official’s face,” Roberson said. “They chose not to call it.”
Ryan Hart threw three touchdown passes for Rutgers, which made the game interesting by scoring twice after Henry was tossed.
Hart, who hit 35 of 46 passes for 324 yards, found Clark Harris on a 3-yard TD pass. Brian Leonard scored from 2 yards out with 1:22 remaining to get the Scarlet Knights within five points. A 2-point conversion pass was nullified by a holding penalty.
Rutgers’ last chance ended when its onside kickoff went out of bounds after being touched by a West Virginia player. The Mountaineers then ran out the clock.
Coach Greg Schiano was annoyed after the loss.
“Don’t worry about the team downstairs,” he said. “Don’t worry about this coach. Contrary to some of the popular opinion in great state of New Jersey, people instead of trying to build this thing, they are trying to tear it down.”
Pernell Williams, Marshall and Kay-Jay Harris scored on short runs to help West Virginia take a 21-14 halftime lead.
Hart threw touchdown passes of 27 yards to Tres Moses and 22 to Marcus Daniels. Moses also got a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty for celebrating after is catch.