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Rutgers remains unbeaten behind Rice

Oct 22, 2006 - 1:16 AM PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- Ray Rice is not mentioned when it comes to talk about the Heisman Trophy. Perhaps he should be.

Rice rushed for a career-high 229 yards and a touchdown as No. 19 Rutgers remained unbeaten with a 20-10 Big East Conference victory over Pittsburgh.

Led by Rice and a defense that entered leading the nation in fewest points allowed per game, Rutgers (7-0, 2-0 Big East) is off to just its third 7-0 start in 137 seasons. The Scarlet Knights also won their first seven games in 1961 and 1976 en route to unbeaten campaigns.

Rice, who entered the nation fourth in rushing yards per game at just under 150, carried 39 times in shredding the Panthers' defense en route to his third 200-yard game of the season. The sophomore has rushed for 1,128 yards on the season.

"Ray Rice just continues to play the game the way we love to see it played," Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said. "He's a really special (running) back."

Some of Rice's biggest yards came after Tyler Palko threw an eight-yard touchdown pass to Oderick Turner with 13:23 remaining to pull the Panthers within 13-10. It was Palko's 59th career TD pass, moving him into a tie for third on Pitt's all-time list.

On the Scarlet Knights' ensuing possession, Rice helped quiet the crowd by ripping off runs of 63 and 21 yards. He capped the march with a one-yard TD run with 11:13 to go.

With Rice pounding away, the Scarlet Knights were able to win despite quarterback Mike Teel's throwing for fewer than 100 yards.

Palko never got his club's high-powered offense going as the Panthers (6-2, 2-1) had a four-game winning streak stopped. They have lost back-to-back games to Rutgers for the first time.

"We didn't play well enough to win the football game and they did," Palko said. "You can't do anything about it except get back on the horse and come back ready to play."

Jeremy Ito had field goals of 32 yards in the first quarter and 21 yards in the second to help the Scarlet Knights to a 6-0 lead.

After Conor Lee kicked a 46-yard field goal less than five minutes into the third quarter to get the Panthers on the board, Teel found Tiquan Underwood for an 11-yard score with 11 seconds left in the period to give the Scarlet Knights a 13-3 advantage.

"I thought that Rutgers started the game more physical than us and they were quicker than us. I give them credit," Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said. "But I think we came out waiting to see how fast and physical they were."






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