The No. 2 South Florida Bulls came to Piscataway, New Jersey last night as college football’s Cinderella team in 2007. But as the clock neared midnight on the East Coast, Rutgers turned USF into something much worse than pumpkins—they turned them into losers.
The Scarlet Knights, last year’s surprise team, upset the Bulls 30-27, ending South Florida’s magical 6-0 start. Running back Ray Rice rushed for 181 yards on 39 carries, but it was the special teams’ trickery that carried Rutgers to the victory. On the game’s first drive, a 36-yard completion on a fake punt by punter Jeremy Ito set up one of his three field goals, and in the third quarter, Andrew DePaola tossed a 15-yard touchdown pass on a fake field goal to put the Scarlet Knights up 27-17. The Bulls never recovered. “We haven’t done a lot of that around here,” Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano said, referring to the trickery. “Thank God it worked.”
Rutgers, who looked like the 20th-century Rutgers program—that is to say, they sucked—during losses to Maryland and Cincinnati earlier this season, jumped right back into the Big East race with the big upset. And with the Big East being so lackluster this season (How can UConn be winning a major football conference? Do they even play football?), all the Scarlet Knights really have to do is beat a bunch of basketball schools and a banged-up West Virginia squad and a BCS berth will be theirs.