TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Mike Teel threw for 294 yards and two touchdowns to help surging Rutgers rout South Florida 49-16 on Saturday for the Scarlet Knights’ fourth consecutive victory.
Kenny Britt had his fourth straight 100-yard game receiving, scoring on a 93-yard pass play early in the fourth quarter. Rutgers (5-5, 4-2 Big East) also forced six turnovers to hand USF (6-4, 1-4) its fourth loss in five games.
Britt finished with eight receptions for 173 yards. It was his sixth 100-yard performance of the season, 12th overall – moving him into third place on the career conference list for 100-yard games behind Larry Fitzgerald (14) and Antonio Bryant (13).
Jason McCourty returned one of his two interceptions 30 yards for a second-quarter touchdown, and the Scarlet Knights recovered three fumbles – all in Rutgers territory – to frustrate Matt Grothe and the rest of USF’s offense.
Grothe, one of the nation’s top dual-threat quarterbacks, completed 28 of 43 passes for 292 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed for a team-best 50 yards on 13 carries, but hurt his team with three interceptions.
The Scarlet Knights beat the Bulls for the third straight season. Rutgers won 22-20 in Tampa two years ago when South Florida had a failed two-point conversion in the closing seconds, and took another close one in 2007, prevailing 30-27 at home when USF was ranked second in the country.
Rutgers’ four-game winning streak is the longest in the Big East and has revived a season that looked bleak when the Scarlet Knights stumbled to a 1-5 start. One of the biggest differences has been turnovers: Rutgers has forced 13 in its five victories compared to none in its five losses.
Rutgers Post Game Notes at USF
The 49-16 victory over USF was the fourth straight win for the Scarlet Knights this season. Rutgers is now 5-5 overall and 4-2 in the BIG EAST.
Rutgers has won four straight BIG EAST games, which ties a school record for the longest conference winning streak in school history. The Scarlet Knights also won four consecutive league games in 2006.
Today’s 49-16 victory is Rutgers’ first BIG EAST road victory in the month of November since Nov. 18, 1995 when the Scarlet Knights defeated Temple, 23-20. The 33-point win also marked the largest margin of victory for Rutgers in a road BIG EAST contest.
Rutgers forced a season-high six turnovers (three INT, three fumbles). The Scarlet Knights previous season high was four turnovers which they recorded against Morgan State on Sept. 27.
The 49 points for Rutgers against USF is the most the Bulls have ever given up at home in BIG EAST play and the most since allowing 43 points to Pittsburgh on Dec. 4, 2004.
Senior CB Jason McCourty’s (Nanuet, N.Y.) second-quarter interception return 30 yards for a touchdown was the first defensive touchdown for Rutgers since Oct. 6, 2007 against Cincinnati when Jason’s twin brother CB Devin McCourty (Nanuet, N.Y.) returned an interception 36 yards for a touchdown.
The RU defense also posted three interceptions against USF QB Matt Grothe. In three career games against Rutgers, Grothe has six interceptions.
The Rutgers defense tallied its first blocked field goal of the season when junior SS Zaire Kitchen (Hightstown, N.J.) blocked a second-quarter field goal attempt by USF.
Rutgers has scored 138 points in its last three games. The Scarlet Knights posted a season-high 54 points in a 54-34 victory at Pittsburgh and one week later tallied 35 in a 35-17 triumph over Syracuse. In the USF victory, RU had 49 points.
The 93-yard pass from QB Mike Teel (Oakland, N.J.) to WR Kenny Britt (Bayonne, N.J.) was the second-longest reception in school history – two yards shy of the school record.
Junior WR Kenny Britt (Bayonne, N.J.) became the Rutgers all-time leader in receiving yards in the win against USF. With a 36-yard reception in the second quarter, Britt passed Tres Moses (2001-05) for the record. He now has 2,666 career yards in 31 career games.
Britt also moved into sole possession of fifth place on the BIG EAST career receiving yards list, surpassing Pittsburgh’s Latef Grim (1998-2000) with 2,666 receiving yards for his career.
With Britt’s eight receptions against USF, he moved into fourth place on the Rutgers career receptions list with 159, surpassing Jim Guarantano (1989—92).
Britt gained 173 receiving yards against USF, marking his fourth-straight 100-yard receiving game which ties his with teammate Tiquan Underwood for the most consecutive 100-yard receiving games in Rutgers history. It also increased his career total of 100-yard receiving games to a school-record 12, just two shy of the all-time BIG EAST record.
Senior QB Mike Teel (Oakland, N.J.) posted his second career rushing touchdown with a three-yard TD scamper in the second quarter. His other rushing touchdown came at West Virginia on Oct. 4 when he had a five-yard TD run in the second quarter against the Mountaineers.
Teel threw for three touchdowns against USF, increasing his career total to 49. He moves into 10th place on the BIG EAST career passing touchdowns list, surpassing Boston College’s Brian St. Pierre (1999-2002) who record 48 during his career.
Teel entered the top-10 Rutgers single-season completions list with his 18 completions against USF. He now has 177 on the season, which ranks seventh in single-season school history.
Teel also entered the top-10 Rutgers single-season passing yardage list with 294 yards against USF. He now has 2,293 yards on the season, which ranks fifth in single-season school history.
Senior CB Jason McCourty (Nanuet, N.Y.) recorded his first career interception when he picked off Matt Grothe’s pass in the second quarter and returned it 30 yards for his first career touchdown. He recorded his second interception of the game in the second half off a pass that was tipped by sophomore DE Jonathan Freeny (Margate, Fla.).
McCourty recovered a third-quarter fumble against USF for his second career fumble recovery. His first one came during the 2006 season. He also had the longest kickoff return by a Scarlet Knight this season with a career-long 59-yard return in the second quarter.
Senior DT Pete Tverdov (Union, N.J.) recorded his first career fumble recovery in the first quarter to halt the game’s opening drive by USF. Tverdov also extended his streak to 12 consecutive games with a tackle for loss, dating back to last season. He had one TFL in the USF contest.
Senior FS Courtney Greene (New Rochelle, N.Y.) passed Pat Udovich (1985-89) and moved into fourth place on the Rutgers career tackles list with six stops in the USF game. He now has 367 tackles in 48 career starts.
Greene also passed Dino Mangiero (1976-79) and moved into fifth place on the Rutgers career solo tackles list after five solo stops against USF. He now has 207 career assisted tackles.
Redshirt freshman Joe Martinek (Hopatcong, N.J.) posted career-highs in carries (21), rushing yards (98) and touchdowns (two).
Junior DE George Johnson (Glassboro, N.J.) tallied his second career interception when he intercepted USF QB Matt Grothe’s pass in the second quarter. His first career pick also came in a winning effort in 2007 vs. Navy.
True freshman David Rowe (Cocoa, Fla.) forced his first career fumble when he stripped a USF receiver in the third quarter. Rowe also recorded a career-high five tackles against the Bulls. He had previously posted four tackles on two different occasions this season.