Mike Teel throwing.
Rice rushed for 184 yards and three touchdowns, Underwood had 10
catches for a school-record 248 yards and two TDs and Teel passed
for a career-best 328 yards as the Scarlet Knights opened their
most anticipated season with a 38-3 win over Buffalo on Thursday
"If I am running the ball, we can really play-action and hit
Tiquan over the top on those deep balls," Rice said. "That's what
happens when the running game is going. We can obviously get better
this season. What you saw today was us hitting on both cylinders."
Coming off an 11-2 season and its first bowl victory, Rutgers
gave the crowd of 43,091 -- the third largest at home in school
history -- plenty to cheer about. It scored touchdowns on its first
three series and amassed 563 yards in total offense against a
Buffalo team that won two games last season and is picked to finish
around the bottom of the Mid-American Conference again this year.
Rice, who rushed for 1,794 yards last season, scored 20
touchdowns and finished seventh in the Heisman voting, scored on
runs 34, 12 and 41 yards.
"To have a great running attack with Ray in the backfield, it
just opens it up for the passing game," said Underwood, who had 23
catches for 290 yards in 12 games last season.
Teel, who completed 16-of-23 passes, and Underwood combined on
scoring pass plays of 65 and 66 yards. Teel's final pass was a
20-yard fourth-quarter pass that pushed Underwood past the old
school mark of 237 yards set by Jack Emmer against Holy Cross in
That's when Rutgers wasn't a very good football program. All
that has changed under coach Greg Schiano. The Scarlet Knights are
now as big as Bruce Springsteen in New Jersey and they didn't need
long to show why against Buffalo.
Schiano was thrilled with the sellout in one of eight games
Rutgers has at home this season.
"To see it in game one, it used to be that we would have a big
crowd when somebody else came to town," Schiano said. "So they
came to see them. I tell the team all the time they are coming to
see you now. That feels good."
Kordell Young returned the opening kickoff 56 yards and the
Scarlet Knights needed only three plays to go 43 yards. Rice went
the final 34 off the left side of his line for a 7-0 lead just 1:21
after the kickoff.
Teel and Underwood hooked up three times for 37 yards on the
next series that Rice capped with a 12-yard run, breaking a tackle
by Kendric Hawkins at the 5-yard line.
The next score was spectacular. Teel hit Underwood on a little
slant pattern from left to right at the Buffalo 45. Underwood
continued to sprint across the field, stopped at the Bulls 30 and
cut back toward the left corner of the end zone. At the 10, he
stopped again, dodged Hawkins and then got carried into the end
zone by a Buffalo tackler for a 65-yard TD.
"It's so much easier when you can mix it up, run the ball well
and throw the ball down the field," said Teel, who called an
audible on Underwood's first touchdown. "Guys made plays and it
made the offense so much easier to run."
Rice's fumble inside the Buffalo 30 stopped the next drive, but
Teel, who previous best was 278 passing yards against West Virginia
last season, and Underwood hooked up again midway through the
second quarter. On a second-and-9, Underwood reached up with right
hand to slow down a Teel pass, pulled it in with his left and went
the final 45 yards for a 66-yard score and a 28-0 lead.
"We had a few busts in our coverage," Buffalo coach Turner
Gill said. "Some guys kind of messed up in where they were
supposed to be lined up. Teel put it on the money, [Underwood] made
the catches and the plays and they made big-play opportunities."
A.J. Principe finally got Buffalo on the scoreboard with a
35-yard field goal with 3:19 left in the third quarter.
Rice got his final touchdown with 1:31 left in the third quarter
on 41-yard run off the left side again. He now has 10 multiple
touchdown games and 16 games of at least 100-yard rushing his 26
Jeremy Ito, who missed from 40 and 56 yards earlier in the game,
closed out the scoring with a 38-yard field goal in the fourth