PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) – Joe Martinek carried 20 times for 109 yards and a touchdown and Tom Savage completed 10 of 19 passes for 148 yards and a score, leading Rutgers to a 31-0 rout of Norfolk State in both schools’ season opener on Thursday night.
Martinek, a junior tailback, surpassed 100 yards for the fifth time in his career. His 6-yard touchdown run in the third quarter widened the Scarlet Knights’ slim 6-0 lead after a sluggish first half.
Sophomore quarterback Savage was unspectacular but effective, especially hitting Mohamed Sanu (three receptions, 65 yards, one TD). Savage hit Sanu with a 29-yard pass to set up a bizarre field goal right before halftime, and the pair connected on a 10-yard scoring pass in the fourth quarter.
San San Te kicked three field goals for Rutgers. Norfolk State managed just 25 yards rushing on 24 attempts and had only seven first downs.
The first half ended with a controversy. Savage hit Sanu for a 29-yard pass play, and Sanu stepped out of bounds at the 3-yard line as the clock appeared to expire. As the teams were heading off the field for halftime, Te was lined up to attempt a field goal. Referee Jeff Maconaghy ruled that time had run out, declaring it halftime.
However, the play was reviewed with the teams heading to the tunnel, and Te still standing calmly in kicking formation. One second was placed back on the clock and Te made a 20-yard field goal, giving Rutgers a lackluster 6-0 lead at halftime.
The Scarlet Knights left the field to a chorus of boos from the 46,311 in attendance.
Te gave the Scarlet Knights a 3-0 lead in the first quarter with a 31-yard field goal but missed attempts of 40 and 47 yards later in the half.
Rutgers took command in the second half. Martinek broke free for a 35-yard run down to the 6-yard line, and one play later the junior carried it in for the touchdown with 7:55 remaining in the third period, capping a seven-play, 75-yard drive. Sanu scored on a two-point PAT run, pushing the lead to 14-0.
After Norfolk State went three-and-out, Brandon Bing blocked a punt at the 19-yard line and Joe Lefeged recovered at the 3-yard line and took it in for the touchdown. Te added the point-after, giving Rutgers a 21-0 lead.
The Scarlet Knights put the game away with a drive in the fourth quarter, capped by a 10-yard pass from Savage to Sanu with 8:27 remaining. Rutgers went 11 plays, 74 yards for its final touchdown.
Te connected on his third field goal of the game to close out the scoring, this time from 27 yards with 4:40 remaining.
It was the first time the Scarlet Knights have won their season opener since 2007, when they defeated Buffalo 38-3.
Updated September 2, 2010
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