Rutgers 56, Howard 7
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP)—Ray Rice rushed for 105 yards and three touchdowns and undefeated Rutgers avoided a letdown against a Division I-AA opponent with a 56-7 victory over Howard on Saturday.
Brian Leonard and Kordell Young ran for two touchdowns apiece and Mike Teel threw a touchdown pass for the Scarlet Knights (4-0), who are off their best start since 1980.
The 56 points scored and the 49-point margin of victory were the largest for Rutgers since Greg Schiano took over as coach in 2001. The previous highs came in a 44-0 win over Army in 2002.
The Scarlet Knights were less than seven minutes away from their second shutout in three games when Howard cornerback Thomas Claiborn picked up a fumble by Dimitri Linton and went 70 yards for a touchdown.
Howard (0-3) had 172 total yards in losing its seventh straight game. The Bisons are now 0-3 against I-A foes.
Rice scored on runs of 3, 1 and 2 yards in rushing for at least 100 yards in his sixth straight game, one shy of the school mark set by J.J. Jennings in 1972-73.
Leonard, who had 18 touchdowns last season to help Rutgers post its first winning season since 1992 and earn its first bowl berth since 1978, scored on short runs. The touchdowns gave the Scarlet Knights a 21-0 lead. They came after the special teams and defense forced Howard turnovers.
Teel, who was trying to atone for three interceptions last week against Ohio, got Rutgers going on its opening series. He hit Clark Harris on an 8-yard swing pass at the Howard 37 and the tight end ran the rest of the way for a 45-yard score.
Howard mistakes helped break the game open.
Late in the first quarter, Leonard Moore dropped a Joe Radigan punt inside his own 20 and James Townsend of Rutgers recovered at the Bison 17. Leonard scored from on a 5-yard run four plays later.
Two possessions later, Howard quarterback Will Blanden made a bad pitch near his own 22 and Ron Girault recovered and returned to the 12. Leonard scored from a yard out four plays later.
Rice extended the lead to 28-0 with a 3-yard run with 4:36 left in the half. His other touchdown runs came on Rutgers’ first two possessions of the second half.
Schiano pulled his starters midway through the third quarter. Young scored on a 2-yard, fourth-down run late in the third quarter and added 1-yard TD run in the fourth quarter after an illegal kick gave the Scarlet Knights the ball at the Bisons 1.
Rutgers has had letdowns against I-AA opponents during Schiano’s tenure, losing to New Hampshire in 2004 and Villanova in 2002.