Rutgers’ defense and special teams showed they can carry the Scarlet Knights when running back Ray Rice and the rest of the offense can’t.
With the nation’s second-leading rusher held in check by Connecticut (3-5, 0-3 Big East Conference), the No. 15 Scarlet Knights (8-0, 3-0) held off the Huskies, 24-13, on Sunday night at Piscataway, N.J., to remain one of the nation’s six undefeated teams.
Rice scored on a five-yard run on the first drive of the game, Manny Collins returned a fumble 11 yards for a score and Quintero Frierson scored on a blocked punt in the fourth quarter to secure the victory.
Rutgers will play No. 5 Louisville a week from Thursday. The Cardinals (7-0) will face No. 3 West Virginia (7-0) Thursday.
After Rutgers took a 17-0 halftime lead, freshman Donald Brown scored on touchdown runs of 65 and eight yards for Connecticut. Playing in place of regular starter Terry Caulley, Brown finished with 199 yards in his first college start, by far the most yards this season against Rutgers, which had been allowing 78 yards a game.
Rutgers needed the contributions from its defense and special teams because its offense managed one first down in the third quarter and gained only 75 yards in the second half.
Rice came into the game averaging 161 yards, second behind Garrett Wolfe of Northern Illinois. But Rice finished with 79 yards in 22 carries, his lowest total of the season.
Colt Brennan threw for 333 yards and five touchdowns as Hawaii beat Idaho, 68-10, Saturday night at Honolulu. Ross Dickerson returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown as the Warriors (6-2, 4-1 Western Athletic Conference) won their fifth game in a row. Brennan completed 31 of 38 passes and pushed his NCAA-leading touchdown passes to 33 in picking apart the Vandals (4-5, 3-2).
Baylor senior quarterback Shawn Bell is out for the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during the fourth quarter of the Bears’ loss to No. 21 Texas A&M; on Saturday night.
Bell was 241 for 383 passing for 2,582 yards and 19 touchdowns, all single-season school records.
Redshirt freshman Blake Szymanski will make his first start Saturday at Texas Tech.