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Rutgers stuns No. 2 South Florida

Oct 19, 2007 - 5:55 AM PISCATAWAY, New Jersey (Ticker) -- Rutgers made South Florida wake up from its dream season.

Mike Teel, Tiquan Underwood and Ray Rice all played key roles in helping the Scarlet Knights stun the second-ranked Bulls with a 30-27 triumph in Thursday's Big East Conference matchup.

It was the most recent top-10 upset for Rutgers, which knocked off then-No. 3 Louisville here last season on November 3.

"Last year it was new. We hadn't had that opportunity," Scarlet Knights coach Greg Schiano said. "I'm not saying it's old hat by any means, but it's one game in the Big East Conference. It's a very tough conference. You see getting people knocked off every week. It's one of seven and now we're 2-1 in the league."

Rice gained 181 yards on 39 carries to become the first runner to surpass 100 yards on the ground in 15 games against South Florida. He entered the contest averaging 180.0 yards in two career meeting in the series.

"We just went out there and played our best football," said Rice, who set a new school record with his 19th 100-yard game. "When my number's called, I'm going to do whatever it takes."

The Scarlet Knights (5-2, 2-1 Big East) took the lead for good when Teel hooked up with Underwood for a 69-yard score down the right side to forge a 20-17 advantage with 12:02 left in the third quarter.

After blocking South Florida's field goal attempt, Rutgers used its second trick play of the evening, as third-stringer Andrew DePaola hit Kevin Brock on a 15-yard touchdown pass on a fake field goal attempt at the 4:07 mark for a 10-point bulge.

"We haven't done a lot of that around here," Schiano said. "Thank God it worked."

"Our kicking game I thought was the real big difference in the game," Bulls coach Jim Leavitt said. "A couple of times we gave them real good position. We had the field goal block. That hurt us."

But the Bulls (6-1, 1-1) made things interesting when Mike Ford capped an eight-play, 70-yard drive with his one-yard run with 9:16 left to draw within three at 30-27.

However, the Scarlet Knights' defense stopped two potential game-winning drives over the final four minutes to seal the victory.

Teel went 11-of-29 for 179 yards and Underwood had five catches for 114 yards to help the Scarlet Knights avoid dropping three straight home games for the first time since 2003.

"We made the key plays. The trick plays really got us going and were a real emotional lift for all of us," Teel said. "We've worked hard in all of our games, but we made the key plays and capitalized on them."

The loss was heartbreaking for South Florida, which failed to capitalize off its highest national ranking in school history.

"Special teams is a big part of the game and they were better," South Florida's Marcus Edwards said. "You can't sit around and sulk. We have conference ahead of us. We weren't thinking about the rankings. When you get between the lines all that goes out the window."

Known for his scrambling ability, South Florida quarterback Matt Grothe was sacked seven times and held in check in the second half, finishing 17-of-34 for 247 yards and one score.

"To get Matt Grothe to the ground seven times is a tremendous effort," Schiano said.

Grothe's 28-yard TD pass to Jessie Hester down the middle helped the Bulls grab a 17-13 edge at intermission.

In the second quarter, South Florida blocked a field goal attempt and returned it for a score, but officials reviewed the play and overturned the call, due to a forward lateral on the return.

The penalty erased the TD, which would have given the Bulls a 24-10 lead, and took away South Florida's momentum.

"Somehow the replay showed we didn't score," Leavitt said. "That was a big turn of events. For them to reverse the call means it must have been totally clear, but we had the whole rest of the game in front of us.

"Let's just hope they made the right call. When you change the call on the field like and I know it's coming from upstairs that's big."