Tuesday, December 30, 2008

CRITICAL BOWL TURNOVERS CONTINUE TO HAMPER ACC TEAMS

Rutgers (Scarlet Knights, 36,988 students, Piscataway, NJ) 29, N.C. STATE 23

In spite of a fumble on the opening play from scrimmage and a Rutgers' fake field goal that resulted in a touchdown, the N.C. State Wolfpack and phenom freshman QB Russell Wilson had a 17-6 halftime lead in the Papajohns.com Bowl. Wilson was 11-for-23 for 186 yards and a touchdown, but he left the game with a strained knee late in the first half and did not return. Game over.

Hyperbole, you say? Wilson's replacements were mostly ineffective and threw three interceptions to aid the Rutgers comeback. To Wolfpack Nation's frustrations, all the interceptions occurred in Scarlet Knight territory, two in the Red Zone – at the one and 20 yard lines – and the other at the Rutgers’ 32. Wilson threw one interception all season. Mix in a third quarter blocked punt and the Wolfpack’s hole kept getting deeper.

Rutgers' Mike Teel passed for 319 yards and two touchdowns, including a 42-yard scoring toss to Kenny Britt to give the Scarlet Knights (8 -5) the lead for good in the fourth quarter.

Teel's pass to Britt with 8:30 to play proved to be the winning touchdown. Britt, a third-team All-American, made a juggling catch as he crossed the goal line and finished with six catches for 119 yards.

Teel, a senior, was the game's MVP. He ended his career on a seven-game winning streak after being booed at home when he was struggling earlier in the season.

(AP Photos/Butch Dill)

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