The Rutgers Scarlet Knights lead UConn, 6-3, after one half in New Jersey. The Knights converted two first quarter field goals, but have squandered good field position so far.
After getting points from two UConn turnovers, the Rutgers offense appeared to gather some momentum on their first possession of the second quarter. The Scarlet Knights pounded the ball on the ground with Jawan Jamison, who went off the left tackle for a big 20-yard pickup on the second play of the drive. The rush moved the ball into UConn territory, but the drive stalled out after three straight Gary Nova incompletions. Rutgers set up for their third field goal of the first half, but UConn burst through the center of the line and a 50-yard attempt by Kyle Federico was easily blocked.
UConn took over after the blocked field goal attempt and quickly moved the ball into the red zone. The Huskies rushed it on seven straight plays with either Lyle McCombs or Scott McCummings. On third and goal from the Rutgers two, they opted to go playaction and float a pass to the right side of the end zone. But Martin Hyppolite was ruled out of bounds, and UConn settled for a field goal to cut the lead in half.
Rutgers gave UConn another opportunity after Justin Doerner shanked a punt that went just 12 yards in the final minute of the half. The Huskies picked up a quick 22 yards when Chandler Whitmer connected with a sliding Geremy Davis in the middle of the field. A last second 51-yard field goal, however, sailed just right and Rutgers held on to the lead heading into the locker room.
The Connecticut Huskies (3-2) open up Big East Conference play on Saturday afternoon when they face the undefeated and No. 22/21 ranked Rutgers Scarlet Knights (4-0) inside High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, New Jersey.
UConn, which last faced a ranked opponent on October 8, 2011 when it faced West Virginia, has played Rutgers on 31 previous occasions, with the Scarlet Knights owning a 21-10 edge. However, the Huskies and Scarlet Knights have split their last ten meetings. The two schools last squared off last season on November 26, and Lyle McCombs and Scott McCummings both had two touchdown runs to lead Connecticut past Rutgers, 40-22, in East Hartford, CT.
Connecticut has alternated wins and losses so far this season on the way to a 3-2 record. Last weekend, the Huskies escaped with a 24-17 win over the Buffalo Bulls at Rentschler Field. Chandler Whitmer had 227 passing yards and one touchdown while McCombs rushed for 97 yards and one score for the Huskies.
Rutgers has been victorious in all four games it has played this season, beating the Arkansas Razorbacks, 35-26, most recently last weekend. Gary Nova torched the Arkansas defense for 397 yards and five touchdowns and Jawan Jamison had 118 rushing yards for the Scarlet Knights, who racked up 525 total yards.
Saturday's game will be televised nationally on ESPNU and can be heard on the radio on the UConn IMG Sports Radio Network.