West Virginia 27, Rutgers 14
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP)—Steve Slaton ran for a career-high 139 yards and one touchdown to help West Virginia beat Rutgers 27-14 Saturday.
Jason Gwaltney added 57 yards rushing for West Virginia (5-1, 2-0 Big East), which beat Rutgers (3-2, 1-1) for the 11th straight time.
West Virginia rushed for 236 yards against a depleted Rutgers defense, which was without three starters: linebacker Terry Bynes, defensive back Jason Nugent and end Eric Foster.
Special teams and defense either scored or set up West Virginia’s first three touchdowns as the Mountaineers took a 21-0 lead in a driving rainstorm.
The Mountaineers’ first score came when Thandi Smith blocked Joe Radigan’s punt, then recovered it at the 1-yard line and carried it into the end zone. Rutgers’ next two possessions ended with turnovers that West Virginia converted into points.
Kevin McLee recovered a fumble by Ray Rice at the 28-yard line, and five plays later Slaton scored on an 11-yard run. On Rutgers’ next series, Mike Lorello intercepted backup Mike Teel at the West Virginia 7-yard line. The Mountaineers responded with a 93-yard drive, capped by Adam Bednarik’s 21-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Myles.
Teel, who came in for an ineffective Ryan Hart, led an 80-yard drive that Brian Leonard capped with a 1-yard touchdown run to make it 21-7 at halftime. Leonard finished with 76 yards.
West Virginia added to the lead on its first possession of the third quarter, getting a 45-yard field goal from Pat McAfee. Hart returned in the second half, and the Knights responded with Leonard’s 1-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to 10 entering the final quarter.
With 9:16 remaining, West Virginia mounted on a 68-yard drive that consumed 5 minutes and resulted in a 35-yard field goal by McAfee. Teel entered on Rutgers’ next possession, which ended with a game-sealing interception by Dee McCann with 2:07 remaining.
Hart finished 9-for-16 for 66 yards, while Teel was 9-for-15 for 105 yards and two interceptions. Bednarik, who played most of the game in West Virginia’s rotating system, was 9-for-10 for 78 yards.