An ugly win is still a win.
Rutgers took a trip up to Syracuse on Saturday afternoon and had to battle for 60 minutes. In the end, it was the Scarlet Knights who were able to gain the advantage in an ugly game and improved to 2-0 with a 17-7 victory.
The Scarlet Knights held the Orange to seven points and 258 yards, with 60 yards on the ground. It was not until 6:46 left in the third quarter for the first points to be put on the board. Kyle Monangai scampered for an 11 yard score to give Rutgers a 7-0 lead.
The action began early — or lack thereof. Syracuse was forced to punt on its first possession of the game and the specials teams for Rutgers made a play once again. This was a theme in a season-opening victory over Temple. The Scarlet Knights blocked the punt and set themselves up at the 26-yard line of the Orange. From here, they went backwards with a sack and and a penalty.
Syracuse would then turn the ball over and this was the overall trend in the first half. The Scarlet Knights and Orange entered halftime scoreless.
Monangai got the scoring started but Syracuse answered right back with a Sean Tucker 24-yard touchdown run. This would be all the points they could get on the board.
The Scarlet Knights’ defense came up big once again. They forced three turnovers and this was the difference in the game. On the offensive side of the ball, Rutgers totaled just 195 yards and 50 yard on the ground. Despite being outgained, Rutgers won the time of possession battle and had four less penalties in the matchup.
Noah Vedral hit Jovani Haskins for a 30-yard touchdown with 24 seconds left in the third quarter to put the Scarlet Knights up for good. Vedral finished 22-for-28 for 145 yards and a touchdown while Bo Melton totaled nine catches.
This was a game the Scarlet Knights had circled on their schedule. If they wanted to get to six wins and a potential bowl appearance, they had to come out on top in this one. It was not easy but Rutgers did enough to get the job done.
Rutgers will return home on Sept. 18 to host Delaware in its final non-conference game of the season. They will look to improve to 3-0 before the gauntlet of the Big Ten schedule begins.