With 2:09 left, Nova punctuated the drive with a three-yard TD pass to Sanu that, with Te’s extra point, tied the score 13-13. On the ensuing possession, head coach Doug Marrone’s gambled, going for it on fourth-down-and-10.
It backfired, as Nassib was picked off for the third time and Steve Beauharnais returned it 44 yards to the SU 33. But the defense held, and with a chance to win it, Te missed a 44-yard field goal with six seconds left.
As with other time this season, SU’s offense generated another awful first half of statistics. The Orange converted only two first downs and mustered a season-low 88 yards on 20 total plays. Rutgers also had issues, going stagnant in the red zone, and watching Te miss a pair of long-range field goals, so SU still led 7-3 at the half.
In the first quarter, it was freshman Rashard Anderson that gave SU its only score of the half. Linebacker Dyshawn Davis delivered a crushing hit on Jamison causing a fumble in the backfield that Anderson picked up and returned 66 yards for a touchdown.
The mistakes continued in the second quarter. Rutgers center Dallas Hendrikson snapped the ball over the head of Dodd that resulted in an SU fumble recovery at the 30-yard line. On the very next play, though, Nassib rolled to his right and forced a pass that ricocheted in the air and was intercepted by David Rowe in the end zone.
In the third quarter, SU appeared to be finally in rhythm when Nassib engineered a seven-play 67-yard drive that consumed 7:45 off the clock. Bailey, who finished with 124 yards on the ground, scored on a six-yard TD run, and SU built a 13-3 lead, despite the missed PAT.
From that point Rutgers repeatedly stalled because of SU’s tenacious defense. The Scarlet Knights’ running attack was pounded into submission losing yardage in the backfield that set up third-and-long situations that Dodd could not convert.