Barnes, Teel spark Rutgers' rout of Syracuse
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- Corey Barnes returned a blocked punt and a fumble for touchdowns and Mike Teel threw for two scores in leading Rutgers to a 31-9 victory over Syracuse on Saturday.
Despite perfect playing conditions inside the Carrier Dome, Syracuse (1-5, 0-3 Big East) lost five of nine fumbles and Rutgers (4-2, 2-1) threw three interceptions.
Still, the Scarlet Knights came away with their first win here since 1986 after nine straight losses and handed the Orange their fourth straight defeat.
Behind Teel, a redshirt freshman who started in place of senior star Ryan Hart, the Scarlet Knights outgained the Orange 191-95 and gained a 17-0 halftime lead against one of the worst offenses in the nation.
Hart had started a school-record 32 straight games since making his debut against Syracuse in 2002 and is the school's all-time leader in career passing yardage with 7,339.
Syracuse entered the game ranked 112th in total offense and 108th in scoring of the 117 teams that play in Division I-A -- and it showed. The Orange, who rotated Perry Patterson and Joe Fields at quarterback, fumbled seven times and managed just 66 yards
passing and 29 rushing in the opening half while the Scarlet Knights took control.
Jeremy Ito kicked a career-long 51-yard field goal to give Rutgers a 3-0 lead late in the first quarter.
Manny Collins blocked a punt by Brendan Carney and Barnes picked it up and returned it 16 yards for a touchdown early in the second quarter to give Rutgers a 10-0 lead.
Despite two interceptions, Teel held his own and finished 13-for-27 for 203 yards in his first start. He hit Tres Moses over the middle for a 37-yard touchdown with 5:26 left in the second for his first career scoring pass. Moses had three catches for 59 yards to run his career total to a school-record 172 catches, one more than Marco Battaglia.
The errors were glaring for both teams. Clarence Pitman forced a fumble by Syracuse's Steve Gregory on a punt return in the second quarter and Sam Johnson recovered for the Scarlet Knights. But on the next play Anthony Smith intercepted for the Orange.
In the final minute of the half, Smith notched his 12th career interception and fourth of the season, but Patterson dropped the final snap of the half and the Orange left the field under a shower of boos.
Things didn't improve in the second half. On the Orange's second possession, Patterson fumbled a snap on a third-and-inches play and Damien Rhodes was stopped short of the first down on fourth down.
Teel then struck quickly in the face of a third-down blitz, hitting Johnson on the right side for a 24-yard scoring pass and a 24-0 lead.
Patterson lost another fumble when he was hit by linebacker Devraun Thompson while trying to throw. The ball squirted loose and Barnes scooped it up and ran 26 yards for another score midway through the period.
John Barker kicked field goals of 26 and 45 yards in the third quarter as Syracuse averted its first shutout loss at home since Miami beat the Orange 26-0 in 2000. Barker added a 38-yarder in the fourth.
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