Ray Rice ran for 202 yards and two touchdowns last night, leading No. 23 Rutgers to a 22-20 victory over South Florida in the Scarlet Knights' first game as a ranked team in 30 years.
Jeremy Ito kicked field goals of 32, 40, and 53 yards for Rutgers (5-0, 1-0 Big East), which is unbeaten through five games for the first time since 1976 -- thanks to South Florida (3-2, 0-1) failing to make a 2-point conversion with 15 seconds left.
Matt Grothe threw a 16-yard TD pass to Ean Randolph to give USF a chance to send the game into overtime, but the quarterback's pass on the conversion attempt was dropped by a wide-open Amp Hill in the end zone.
Rice matched a school record with his seventh consecutive 100-yard game, boosting his season total to 806 yards and 11 touchdowns. He scored on a 3-yard run in the first quarter and added a 6-yarder that gave Rutgers the lead for good early in the fourth.
Grothe completed 16 of 25 passes for 241 yards and one TD for South Florida. He also scored on runs of 1 and 22 yards, but his three second-half turnovers -- two interceptions and a fumble -- helped Rutgers overcome a 14-10 halftime deficit.
Rutgers cracked the Top 25 this week for the first time since its 1976 perfect season.
Merrimack 35, Southern Conn. 27 -- Chris McNeill had four touchdowns and 132 yards receiving to lead the Warriors (2-3, 2-2) over the Owls in Northeast-10 action in North Andover.
Two of McNeill's scores came in Merrimack's 27-point second half.
Southern Connecticut (2-3, 2-2) dominated the first half after scoring on its first possession with a 76-yard drive that ended with a 4-yard pass from Steve Armstrong to Marcus Ganthier. Brandon Toles scored for the Owls with seven seconds left in the first quarter.
Toles had a 6-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, followed by Armstrong's 15-yard scoring pass to Ganthier.
The Owls led, 27-7, at the half, but were held scoreless after that.
Toles rushed for 168 yards in the game. Armstrong had 219 yards passing for two touchdowns, but was intercepted twice.