PHOENIX, AZ – In a Wild West shootout staged at Phoenix’s Chase Stadium, Rutgers (7-5) fell just short of the program’s first bowl victory, losing to Arizona State (7-5) 45-40 at the Insight Bowl Dec. 27.
Rutgers, playing in its second-ever bowl game, and its first since the 1978 Garden State Bowl at Giants Stadium, struck immediately with an eight-play, 80-yard drive after receiving the opening kickoff. Brian Leonard (Gouverneur, NY) ripped off an 11-yard run through a hole on the left side, followed by an 11-yard completion from Ryan Hart (Coral Springs, FL) to Tres Moses (Delray Beach, FL) and a 16-yard scamper by Ray Rice (New Rochelle, NY) on a sweep left. Willie Foster’s (Miami, FL) reverse for seven yards kept the Sun Devils off balance, and the Scarlet Knight line did an excellent job of protecting Hart, giving him ample time to find Moses down field for a 21-yard completion, pushing RU to the Arizona State 14-yard line. After Rice probed the left side of the line for a yard, Hart hooked up with Leonard for a 12-yard completion up the right sideline, and then Hart found Clark Harris (Manahahwkin, NJ) in the back right corner of the end zone from one yard out. Jeremy Ito’s (Redlands, NJ) extra point gave the Scarlet Knights a 7-0 lead 2:08 into the contest.
Arizona State would answer with a seven-play, 80-yard drive of its own, capped by a 43-yard completion from Rudy Carpenter to Matt Miller, evening the scoreboard at 7-7 with 10:09 remaining in the first quarter.
Foster’s 22-yard return of the ensuing kickoff set up Rutgers for its next scoring drive. Leonard turned a Hart screen into a 38-yard gain, and following a Rice five-yard burst, Leonard again took a Hart screen pass and dashed up the left sideline, scoring from 31 yards out to give Rutgers a 14-7 cushion six minutes into the period.
During the Sun Devils’ next possession, Courtney Greene (New Rochelle, NY) jarred the ball loose from the ASU ball carrier at midfield and Ramel Meekins (Westwood, NJ) pounced on it, giving the Scarlet Knights possession at the Arizona State 46-yard line. Hart connected with Harris for a 23-yard completion, and Leonard fought through tackles for 13 yards over the left side, setting up a 25-yard field goal by Ito and a 17-7 lead with 5:22 to play in the opening stanza.
The two teams traded punts to finish the first quarter. Rutgers started its first drive of the second at its own seven-yard line and worked its way into ASU territory, but a fumble gave the Sun Devils the ball on their own 45-yard line. Staring at a fourth-and-five, Derrick Roberson (Oakland Park, FL) seemingly ended the Arizona State drive with a nifty interception along the left sideline, but the play was wiped away by a penalty. A 19-yard completion on the very next play helped move the Sun Devils to the Rutgers five, but on a third-and-goal Devraun Thompson (Piscataway, NJ) pressured Carpenter into an incomplete pass, forcing a 20-yard field goal by Jesse Ainsworth (17-10, 6:20).
Rutgers pushed its advantage back to two touchdowns thanks to a nine-play, 80-yard drive during its next possession. Rice gobbled up 24 yards on four carries, Moses caught a 16-yard toss from Hart on a crossing route and Rice broke a tackle to turn a short Hart pass into a 26-yard gain up the middle, placing the Scarlet Knights inside the 20. Leonard then went to work, cutting back across the grain for a 12-yard gain, and bulling his way in from the three-yard line for his second touchdown of the game (24-10, 2:29).
Arizona State found the end zone one last time before the break, a one-yard completion from Carpenter to Zach Miller, pulling the Sun Devils back to within seven points at 24-17 just 39 seconds before the intermission.
The Sun Devils received the opening kick of the second half and went for 70 yards in six plays, culminating in a one-yard touchdown by Rudy Burgess to even the score (24-24, 13:16) for the first time since five minutes into the contest.
Rutgers answered with a 23-yard field goal at the 6:53 mark, thanks in large part to completions by Hart to Leonard (17-yard screen pass) and Harris (25 yards), to give RU a 27-24 edge midway through the third quarter. But, that lead was short lived, as ASU’s Carpenter found Terry Richardson for a 22-yard touchdown and a 31-27 bulge (4:33).
Ito boomed a 52-yard field goal, a career best for him as well as an Insight Bowl record, to make it a one-point game (31-30) with 2:05 to play in the third.
Arizona State drove nearly 50 yards on its next possession to inside the RU 40, but on third-and-one Carpenter looked to pass and Ryan Neill (Wayne, NJ) knocked the ball out of his hand. Meekins fell on it for his second fumble recovery of the game, stopping the ASU drive cold. Ito blasted his fourth field goal of the game from 48 yards out, pushing Rutgers ahead 33-31 2:02 into the final period.
Later on second-and-25, Carpenter found Jamaal Lewis for a 42-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion made it a six-point affair (39-33, 10:00). Rutgers was unable to produce any points during its next possession, and ASU extended its lead while using a precious 4:25 of the clock during its next drive, finishing with a Burgess four-yard run and a failed two-point conversion (45-33, 4:26).
But the Scarlet Knights continued to fight, and in 51 seconds engineered a 63-yard scoring drive, capped by a 29-yard strike from Hart to Moses (45-40, 2:00).
RU was playing in just its second bowl game, but was facing a familiar opponent in the Sun Devils. In the Scarlet Knights’ only previous appearance, RU fell to Arizona State 34-18 at the 1978 Garden State Bowl. During that game, Rutgers attempted a late onside kick while trailing 28-18, and the Scarlet Knights recovered the ball in the endzone, only to have the play called back because the kicker was ruled offsides. This time, ASU fell on the squib kick, and an offsides call against the Knights was declined as the Sun Devils milked the final two minutes off the clock.
Hart completed 24 of 38 passes for 374 yards and three touchdowns. Rice rumbled 20 times for 108 yards, while Leonard collected 98 yards on six catches and 46 yards on 10 carries. Moses caught seven balls for 113 yards, while Joe Radigan (Hoboken, NJ) averaged 50.3 yards on three punts and Ito was 4-for-4 on field-goal attempts.
Greene and Thompson each registered 12 tackles for the Scarlet Knight defense. Greene also added a forced fumble and two passes broken up. Ron Girault (Spring Valley, NY) hadp 11 stops, and Meekins added five tackles to his two fumble recoveries.
Rutgers finished the season with a 7-5 overall record, its best mark since the 1992 campaign (7-4).
The 1,211 combined yards by Rutgers (532) and Arizona State (679) at the Insight Bowl are an NCAA bowl-game record. The previous record was 1,158 yards by Hawaii and Houston at the 2003 Hawaii Bowl.
4,765 TOTAL YARDS OF OFFENSE IS BEST ALL-TIME SINGLE-SEASON TOTAL
Rutgers’ 532 yards of total offense vs. Arizona State in the Insight Bowl gave the Scarlet Knights’ 4,765 yards for the season, the best mark in school history.
Rank Yards Year
1 4,765 2005
2 4,701 1995
3 4,479 1992
4 4,423 2003
5 4,389 1993
FIRST-HALF TIES BIGGEST OFFENSIVE OUTPUT OF SEASON
Rutgers totaled 349 yards in the first half of the Insight Bowl against Arizona State, tying for the most yards in a first half this season. The Scarlet Knights also posted 349 yards of offense against Pittsburgh on Sept. 30. In the Pittsburgh game, RU scored 27 first-half points, while the Scarlet Knights had 24 at the half against Arizona State in the Insight Bowl.
ITO ON TARGET, CONNECTS ON CAREER-LONG, INSIGHT BOWL RECORD 52-YARDER
Sophomore kicker Jeremy Ito connected on four field goals, including a career-long 52–yarder in the third quarter, to set a new Insight Bowl record. His previous career long was 51 yards at Syracuse earlier this season. Ito hit his last 10 attempts over a five-game span (his last miss coming on his first attempt against Navy on Oct. 29). Ito was 20-of-27 on field goal attempts this season. He now has 35 career field goals. He ended the regular season tied for 19th nationally in field goals per game (1.45).
RICE MOVES TO FIFTH ON SINGLE-SEASON RUSHING LIST WITH FIFTH 100-YARD GAME
True freshman Ray Rice eclipsed the 100-yard mark on the ground for the fifth time this season vs. Arizona State in the Insight Bowl, and for the fourth time in his last six games. He finished the Insight Bowl with 108 yards on 20 carries, ending the season with 1,120 yards to rank fifth on the school’s single-season rushing list.
Rank Name Yards
1. “JJ” Jennings (1973) 1,353
2. “JJ” Jennings (1972) 1,262
3. Terrell Willis (1993) 1,261
4. Bryant Mitchell (1968) 1,204
5. Ray Rice (2005) 1,120
Rice entered the game with 1,012
MEEKINS RECOVERS PAIR OF FUMBLES
Junior defensive tackle Ramel Meekins recorded his second and third fumble recoveries of the season in the Insight Bowl. Freshman safety Courtney Greene was credited with a caused fumble in the first quarter which Meekins scooped up. Meekins recovered his second fumble of the game on the first play of the fourth quarter after senior defensive end Ryan Neill stripped the ball. The Scarlet Knights finished the regular season tied for 22nd nationally in fumble recoveries with 12, and ended the season with 14.
LEONARD POSTS 22ND 100-YARD ALL-PURPOSE YARD DAY IN LAST 27 GAMES (IN 1ST
Junior fullback Brian Leonard amassed 144 yards in the Insight Bowl, marking the 22nd time in his last 27 games he topped the 100-yard plateau in all-purpose yards. He achieved the feat in the in the first quarter with 101 yards (81 receiving, 20 rushing) and finished with 144 (98 receiving, 46 rushing).
LEONARD NEARS RUTGERS ALL-TIME SCORING MARK
Junior fullback Brian Leonard scored 12 points in the Insight Bowl, bringing his career total to 242 points. He finished the season only 19 shy of all-time scoring leader kicker Kennan Startzell (1976-79), who scored 261 points in his career.
LEONARD POSTS CAREER HIGH IN RECEIVING YARDS Junior fullback Brian Leonard finished the Insight Bowl with 98 yards on six catches, eclipsing his career high in receiving yards. His previous career best was a nine-catch, 84-yard performance on Oct. 25, 2003, at Temple.
HART OPENS GAME ON TARGET
Senior quarterback Ryan Hart opened the Insight Bowl completing his first seven passes for 137 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
HART ECLIPSES 50 TD MARK FOR CAREER
Senior quarterback Ryan Hart’s one-yard touchdown pass to junior TE Clark Harris in the first quarter marked the quarterback’s 50th career TD pass. He was already the all-time school leader for career TD passes (Ray Lucas, 1992-95, with 43 TD passes is second), along with career passing yards, attempts and completions. He later threw #51 to Brian Leonard in the first quarter, and #52 to Tres Moses in the fourth quarter.
HART ECLIPSES 300-YARD MARK FOR TENTH TIME IN CAREER
Senior quarterback Ryan Hart recorded his 10th career 300-yard game with 374 yards on 24-of-38 passing with three TDs. He finished his career with a school-record 8,482 yards. The Insight Bowl marked his second 300-yard game of the season (342 yards at Illinois on Sept. 3).
RADIGAN THUNDER FOOT
Junior punter Joe Radigan boomed punts of 58 and 56 yards vs. ASU. For the game, he punted three times for a 50.3 average.
ALSO MOVING UP THE RUTGERS CHARTS
Junior Brian Leonard moved into second place in all-purpose yardage (3,926), seventh place in career receiving yards (1,574) and into a tie for fourth in
career receiving touchdowns (13). Senior WR Tres Moses moved into a tie for second in career receiving touchdowns (16) and fourth in all-purpose yardage
(3,513). Senior WR Shawn Tucker moved into a tie for 10th in career receptions (109).
Leonard extended his streak of consecutive games with a reception to 34, moving into a tie for third place all time in BIG EAST history. Junior TE Clark Harris also extended his streak to 30 games, moving into a tie for seventh place.
Box Score (Final) Arizona State vs Rutgers (Dec 27, 2005 at Phoenix, Ariz.) Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score ----------------- -- -- -- -- ----- Arizona State....... 7 10 14 14 - 45 Record: (7-5) Rutgers............. 17 7 6 10 - 40 Record: (7-5) Scoring Summary: 1st 12:52 RUTGERS - HARRIS, Clark 1 yd pass from HART, Ryan (ITO, Jeremy kick), 8-80 2:08, ASU 0 - RUTGERS 7 10:09 ASU - Miller, Matt 43 yd pass from Carpenter, Rudy (Ainsworth, Jesse kick), 7-80 2:43, ASU 7 - RUTGERS 7 08:51 RUTGERS - LEONARD, Brian 31 yd pass from HART, Ryan (ITO, Jeremy kick), 3-74 1:18, ASU 7 - RUTGERS 14 05:22 RUTGERS - ITO, Jeremy 25 yd field goal, 8-38 2:10, ASU 7 - RUTGERS 17 2nd 06:20 ASU - Ainsworth, Jesse 20 yd field goal, 9-52 3:18, ASU 10 - RUTGERS 17 02:29 RUTGERS - LEONARD, Brian 3 yd run (ITO, Jeremy kick), 9-80 3:51, ASU 10 - RUTGERS 24 00:39 ASU - Miller, Zach 1 yd pass from Carpenter, Rudy (Ainsworth, Jesse kick), 8-80 1:50, ASU 17 - RUTGERS 24 3rd 13:16 ASU - Burgess, Rudy 1 yd run (Ainsworth, Jesse kick), 6-70 1:44, ASU 24 - RUTGERS 24 06:53 RUTGERS - ITO, Jeremy 23 yd field goal, 7-49 2:01, ASU 24 - RUTGERS 27 04:33 ASU - Richardson, Terry 22 yd pass from Carpenter, Rudy (Ainsworth, Jesse kick), 6-78 2:20, ASU 31 - RUTGERS 27 02:05 RUTGERS - ITO, Jeremy 52 yd field goal, 7-24 2:28, ASU 31 - RUTGERS 30 4th 12:56 RUTGERS - ITO, Jeremy 48 yd field goal, 5-28 1:58, ASU 31 - RUTGERS 33 10:00 ASU - Miller, Matt 42 yd pass from Carpenter, Rudy (Miller, Brent pass from Carpenter), 8-76 2:56, ASU 39 - RUTGERS 33 04:26 ASU - Burgess, Rudy 4 yd run (Carpenter rush failed), 8-69 4:25, ASU 45-RUTGERS 33 02:00 RUTGERS - MOSES, Tres 29 yd pass from HART, Ryan (ITO, Jeremy kick), 7-63 0:51, ASU 45 - RUTGERS 40 ASU RUTGERS FIRST DOWNS................... 33 24 RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............ 45-212 32-158 PASSING YDS (NET)............. 467 374 Passes Att-Comp-Int........... 35-23-0 38-24-1 TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS..... 80-679 70-532 Fumble Returns-Yards.......... 0-0 0-0 Punt Returns-Yards............ 2-18 1-0 Kickoff Returns-Yards......... 5-85 3-103 Interception Returns-Yards.... 1-12 0-0 Punts (Number-Avg)............ 4-39.2 3-50.3 Fumbles-Lost.................. 2-2 2-1 Penalties-Yards............... 11-102 10-70 Possession Time............... 31:15 28:45 Third-Down Conversions........ 2 of 10 3 of 11 Fourth-Down Conversions....... 0 of 0 1 of 1 Red-Zone Scores-Chances....... 4-4 4-4 Sacks By: Number-Yards........ 0-0 1-6 RUSHING: Arizona State-Burgess, Rudy 17-102; Herring, Keegan 19-79; Carpenter, Rudy 6-31; Jones, Preston 1-7; Team 2-minus 7. Rutgers-RICE, Ray 20-108; LEONARD, Brian 10-46; FOSTER, Willie 1-7; TEAM 1-minus 3. PASSING: Arizona State-Carpenter, Rudy 23-35-0-467. Rutgers-HART, Ryan 24-38-1-374. RECEIVING: Arizona State-Miller, Matt 5-135; Hagan, Derek 5-97; Burgess, Rudy 4-68; Miller, Zach 4-43; Lewis, Jamaal 2-62; Richardson, Terry 2-46; Miller, Brent 1-16. Rutgers-MOSES, Tres 7-113; LEONARD, Brian 6-98; HARRIS, Clark 6-85; FOSTER, Willie 2-21; RICE, Ray 1-26; TUCKER, Shawn 1-24; UNDERWOOD, Tiqu 1-7. INTERCEPTIONS: Arizona State-Barrett, Josh 1-12. Rutgers-None. FUMBLES: Arizona State-Jones, Preston 1-1; Carpenter, Rudy 1-1. Rutgers-UNDERWOOD, Tiqu 1-0; RICE, Ray 1-1. Stadium: Chase Field Attendance: 43536 Kickoff time: 6:30 PM End of Game: 10:37 pm Total elapsed time: 4:01 Officials: Referee: Joe Rider; Umpire: George Burton; Linesman: Tyrone Davis; Line judge: Sterling Allen; Back judge: Barry Hendon; Field judge: Billy Beckett; Side judge: Vincent Parker; Scorer: John Olson; Temperature: Wind: Weather: ID-415002