KNOXVILLE, TN – Playing its first nationally-ranked opponent this season, the Rutgers football team built a quick 7-0 lead on a 100-yard, game-opening kickoff return from Nathan Jones before falling, 35-14, Saturday night. After the Vols’ tied the game at 7-7, Rutgers reclaimed the lead and silenced the crowd of over 103,000 when Ryan Cubit completed a 12-play, 80-yard drive with an 11-yard TD pass to Chris Loomis at the 14:22 mark of the second quarter. RU took the lead into halftime, but UT scored 28 unanswered points in the second half to rally for the win." />
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Tennessee Rallies Past Rutgers 35-14
  • Posted on September 28, 2002 12:00:00 AM
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  • KNOXVILLE, TN – Playing its first nationally-ranked opponent this season, the Rutgers football team built a quick 7-0 lead on a 100-yard, game-opening kickoff return from Nathan Jones before falling, 35-14, Saturday night. After the Vols’ tied the game at 7-7, Rutgers reclaimed the lead and silenced the crowd of over 103,000 when Ryan Cubit completed a 12-play, 80-yard drive with an 11-yard TD pass to Chris Loomis at the 14:22 mark of the second quarter. RU took the lead into halftime, but UT scored 28 unanswered points in the second half to rally for the win.

    Tennessee’s Phillip Newman boomed the game-opening kickoff to Jones at the goal-line and, after back-stepping into the end zone, Jones broke the length of the field to give Rutgers a quick 6-0 lead, which was followed by a Ryan Sands extra point, making it 7-0. Tennessee tied the game at 7-7 on its second possession of the game, when Casey Clausen completed a 14-yard TD pass to Derrick Tinsley completing a three-play drive, set up by a UT interception.

    Rutgers, however, came right back and orchestrated a 12-play, 80-yard drive which ended in the Cubit to Loomis TD for a 14-7 lead. RB Clarence Pittman carried the ball six times for 39 yards during the drive, which also included a 20-yard reception by fullback Ray Pilch.

    Strong defense from the Scarlet Knights stopped Tennessee on the next two drives and allowed RU to take its 14-7 lead into halftime. Following the break, Tennessee found the endzone on its first drive, tying the game at 14-14, and scored on its next possession to take the lead for good.

    “I am very proud of the way our guys played tonight,” said head coach Greg Schiano. “There are no moral victories at Rutgers. Those kids have a taste of what it is like to play really well for a long period of time and there is no reason we can’t do it again.”

    Cubit, making his first start since September 7, completed 17-of-31 passes for 151 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Pittman carried the ball 31 times for 105 yards to lead the ground attack (124 total yards), while LJ Smith was RU’s top receiver with seven catches for 61 yards. UT’s Casey Clausen completed 15-of-28 passes for 284 yards and three TDs, connecting with Kelley Washington seven times for 198 yards.

    Score by Quarters     1  2  3  4   Score
    ----------------- -- -- -- -- -----
    Rutgers............. 7 7 0 0 - 14 Record: (1-4)
    Tennessee........... 7 0 14 14 - 35 Record: (3-1) GAME STATS

    POST-GAME NOTES

    NATE JONES KICKOFF RETURN
    Junior defensive back Nathan Jones returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown for the Scarlet Knights. It was the first time a Scarlet Knight returned a kickoff for a TD since Reggie Stephens scored on a 94-yarder against Miami on Nov. 15, 1997.

    KICKOFF RETURN LONGEST IN SCHOOL HISTORY
    Nathan Jones’ 100-yard kickoff return was the longest in school history. The previous longest was Hall Connors, who returned a kickoff 98 yards vs. Maryland on Oct. 10, 1942.

    RUTGERS WINS STATISTICAL BATTLES
    There were a plethora of positives to come out of the Tennessee game and the statistics bear that fact out. Rutgers won the statistical battle in several key categories, including first downs (19-18), rushing yards (121-94), time of possession (37:55-22:05), total number of offensive plays (75-51) and penalties (5-57, 7-52).


    L.J. HAS CAREER HIGH 7 RECEPTIONS; MOVES UP ON ALL-TIME LIST
    Senior tight end L.J. Smith had a career-high seven receptions for 63 yards vs. Tennessee. He now has 110 career receptions, which places him in seventh place on the Rutgers all-time receptions list.

    RUTGERS ALL-TIME TOP RECEPTIONS LEADERS
    1. Marco Battaglia (1992-95) 171
    2. Jim Gurantano (1989-92) 158
    3. Chris Brantley (1990-93) 144
    4. Andrew Baker (1981-84) 127
    5. Reggie Funderburk (1993-97) 123
    6. Tim Odell (1977-80) 112
    7. L.J. Smith (1999-) 110


    SECOND QUARTER SURGE
    In the second quarter vs. Tennessee, Rutgers had a 10-0 edge in first downs; a 76-12 edge in rushing yards; and a 79-0 edge in passing yards.

    LARGEST CROWD
    Rutgers played in front of its biggest crowd ever vs. Tennessee, as there were 103,925 fans on hand. Here is a list of the top 10 crowds that Rutgers has played in front of.
    1. Rutgers at Tennessee 9/28/02 103,925
    2. Rutgers at Penn State 10/19/91 95,729
    3. Rutgers at Penn State 9/24/94 95,397
    4. Rutgers at Penn State 9/25/93 95,092
    5 Rutgers at Tennessee 11/2/85 92,188
    6. Rutgers at Penn State 10/4/86 86,000
    7. Rutgers at Penn State 9/24/88 85,531
    8. Rutgers at Penn State 10/10/87 85,376
    9. Rutgers at Penn State 9/22/90 85,194
    10. Rutgers at Penn State 9/8/84 84,409

    PITTMAN CRACKS 100-YARD MARK
    Sophomore RB Clarence Pittman, making his first career start in place of Markis Facyson (hip pointer), was a workhorse for the Scarlet Knights vs. Tennessee, rushing for 104 yards on 31 carries, both career highs.

    CUBIT MAKES MOST OF START
    Sophomore QB Ryan Cubit was sharp vs. Tennessee, particularly in the first half when he engineered a brilliant, 12-play, 80-yard drive that chewed 7:02 off the clock and gave Rutgers a 14-7 halftime lead. The drive was capped by an 11-yard TD pass to sophomore TE Chris Loomis. For Loomis, it was his first career TD reception. For the game, Cubit completed 17-of-31 passes for 151 yards, one TD and two INTs. Cubit made the 13th start of his career and his third against a Top 25 opponent.

    PILCH ON THE RECEIVING END
    While junior fullback Ray Pilch does not have a rushing attempt this season, he plays a critical role in the Rutgers offense as a blocking back and as a receiver. He had a career high four receptions for 33 yards. For the season, Pilch has nine receptions for 89 yards, for a 9.9 average. He had a career long 27-yard reception vs. Army in game where he had three receptions for 45 yards.


    SACKS VS. VOLS
    Tennessee came into the Rutgers game having allowed just one sack on the season. The Scarlet Knights were able to record two sacks vs. the Vols and their vaunted offensive line, with LB Gary Brackett having one sack for minus nine yards and DE Raheem Orr recording the other, which went for a four-yard loss. Both sacks occurred in the first half.

    RUTGERS CAPTAINS
    Serving as captains for Rutgers in its game vs. Tennessee were linebacker Gary Brackett, offensive tackle Trohn Carswell, defensive back Shawn Seabrooks and tight end L.J. Smith.

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