Recap: Rutgers vs. Michigan
Piscataway, NJ (SportsNetwork.com) - Gary Nova threw for 404 yards and three touchdowns as the Rutgers Scarlet Knights slipped by the Michigan Wolverines, 26-24, in Big Ten Conference action at High Point Solutions Stadium.
Nova converted 22-of-39 pass attempts and survived two sacks as the Scarlet Knights (5-1, 1-1 Big Ten) won their third straight since bowing to Penn State in their conference opener. Andrew Turzilli caught just two passes on the night, but both ended up in the end zone for the hosts.
The Wolverines (2-4, 0-2), who were playing without injured quarterback Shane Morris, turned to Devin Gardner to make the start and the fifth-year senior converted 13-of-22 for 178 yards, was picked off once and sacked three times in the setback. He did, however, carry the ball 10 times for 40 yards and two touchdowns to keep the visitors in contention before suffering their third straight loss.
The Wolverines scored the first points of the evening as kicker Matt Wile knocked through a 39-yard field goal at the 10:09 mark of the opening frame.
On the ensuing Rice drive, Nova found Janarion Grant over the middle for a 53- yard gain down to the Michigan 17, but the team had to settle for a 35-yard field goal, which glanced off the left upright, by Kyle Federico.
On their next possession, the Knights again tried to exploit Michigan in the middle of the field as Nova found Leonte Carroo for 24 yards down to the Michigan 32, but the receiver was met with a vicious hit and had to be tended to on the field. Unfortunately, a penalty on the next play pushed Rutgers back and again it had to settle for a Federico field goal, this time from 45 yards out.
Less than a minute into the second quarter the Wolverines produced the first touchdown of the night when Gardner hit the end zone on a four-yard run. With the successful PAT, Michigan found itself with a 10-6 advantage.
Midway through the second frame, following a punt into the end zone by Michigan, Nova struck again for the Scarlet Knights as he found a wide open Turzilli crossing the field, en route to an 80-yard TD pass play. However, the PAT was blocked by Maurice Hurst Jr., keeping the score 12-10 with 7:23 to play before the half.
The visitors assumed the lead on a one-yard TD run by DeVeon Smith later in the second, but Nova marched the Knights right back down the field in the final minute and, despite being in the grasp of a defender, was able to wiggle his way out and find John Tsimi for a diving catch in the end zone from seven yards out to give the lead back to Rutgers yet again, 19-17.
Nova finished the half with 282 yards passing and a pair of scores on just 14 completions in the first-ever meeting between the programs.
Following a scoreless third quarter, the Knights found themselves just inside the red zone at the start of the fourth. A chop-block penalty pushed them back, but Nova responded by finding Turzilli on a 14-yard TD strike to make the score 26-17.
Refusing to go away without a fight, Gardner marched the Wolverines back down the field and took it upon himself to close the gap, streaking into the end zone on the right side from 19 yards away.
Trailing by a score of 26-24, Michigan put itself in position to take the lead on a long 56-yard field goal attempt with just under three minutes left, but it was blocked at the line of scrimmage and Rutgers took over on Michigan's side of the field.
From there, the Scarlet Knights were able to run out the clock and capture their first win as a member of the Big Ten.
Michigan, which had the worst turnover margin in the nation entering the week at minus-2.40 per contest, had held 11 straight opponents to less than 300 yards passing until tonight.Game Notes