Rutgers rallies from 14-point deficit, tops Syracuse

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Mike Teel threw three touchdown passes and resurgent Rutgers rallied from an early 14-point deficit to beat Syracuse 35-17 on Saturday for its third straight win.

Teel found Tiquan Underwood for scoring passes of 5 and 16 yards and he connected with Kenny Britt nine times for 107 yards, including a 16-yard TD, as the Scarlet Knights (4-5, 3-2 Big East) kept their hopes alive for a fourth straight bowl bid.

Kordell Young rushed for 143 yards and scored a go-ahead 1-yard run early in the third quarter, and little-used halfback Joe Martinek rambled 45 yards around left end after taking a direct snap as Rutgers posted its fourth straight win over Syracuse (2-7, 1-4).

The seventh loss made the Orangemen bowl ineligible for the fourth straight year under embattled coach Greg Robinson, who is now 9-35 overall and 3-23 in the conference.

For a couple of minutes in the first quarter, it seemed like Syracuse would build off its win over Louisville last weekend.

Doug Houge scored on an 82-yard touchdown run on the first possession by the Orangemen and Da'Mon Merkerson recovered a blocked punt in the end zone less than two minutes later for a 14-0 lead.

Rutgers' defense stopped Syracuse cold the rest of the way, ending Curtis Brinkley's streak of five straight 100-yard rushing games while limiting the Orangemen to 168 total yards, including 35 passing. Brinkley finished with 67 yards on 18 carries and quarterback Cameron Dantley was 3-of-12 for 19 yards before leaving late in the third quarter with a leg injury.

Teel, who was 26 of 36 for 276 yards, tied the game at the half hitting Underwood for the 5-yard score and Britt for 16 in the second quarter. He threw six touchdowns in his last game against Pittsburgh two weeks ago.

Rutgers took the lead early in the third quarter after Zaire Kitchen sacked Dantley and forced a fumble that Ryan D'Imperio recovered at the Syracuse 26. A 13-yard pass to Dennis Campbell set up Young's score.

Martinek, who had carried only nine times all season, took the direct handoff on the next series with no one else in the backfield and ran alone down the left sideline for the score.

Partick Shadle cut the lead to 28-17 with a 47-yard field goal, but Teel, who also threw two interceptions, iced the game hitting Tim Brown for 42 yards and Underwood for 16 and the score on consecutive plays.

Hogue gave the Orangemen the lead, scoring untouched on a third-and-8 on a play. It was Syracuse's longest run since James Mungro had a non-scoring 86 yarder against Kentucky in 1999. It also was the fourth longest scoring run and the fifth longest touchdown in school history.

It was the school's longest TD run since Bruce Yancey went 83 yards in 1953 against Boston University.

The lead doubled when Dorian Graham blocked a Teddy Dellaganna punt on the next series and Merkerson recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchdown that silenced the crowd.

Teel and Britt brought Rutgers back and Syracuse almost nothing the rest of the game.