EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) A red-eyed Greg Schiano seemingly didn’t want to be a part of the post-game press conference after freshman Chas Dodd rallied Rutgers for the second straight week for a stunning overtime win against Army.
Schiano’s thoughts were with junior defensive tackle Eric LeGrand after the Scarlet Knights (4-2) posted a 23-20 win on Joe Martinek’s 1-yard touchdown run at the New Meadowlands Stadium.
LeGrand was carted off the field in the fourth quarter after making a vicious hit on a kickoff return. He never moved after the hit, sustaining what the school called a neck injury. He was taken to Hackensack University Medical Center.
Schiano had no word on his condition.
“If I could just ask you, I know it’s your job, but if we could respect his family and his privacy now,” said Schiano, who looked as if he had been crying. “It would mean a lot to me and his family.”
The injury left most Rutgers players subdued in the locker room on a day they could have celebrated a 14-point second-half rally over a a penalty-prone Army.
“It’s tough, we’re going to be praying for him,” said Dodd, who threw touchdown passes of 3 yards to Kordell Young and 16 yards to Mark Harrison to tie the game at 17. “We want everyone else to be praying for him. We are going to take the win and really be happy for it, but everyone’s prayers are for him, and looking out for him.”
Dodd, who rallied Rutgers for 10 points in the final 4 minutes in a win over Connecticut a week ago Friday, also hit Keith Stroud on third-and-6 to reach the 3 in overtime, setting up Martinek’s winning run two plays later.
“I don’t know how he does it,” Rutgers center Howard Barbieri said. “He just does it. He is a really good football player, and that has something to do with it.”
Dodd finished 18 of 30 for 251 yards in a game in which he was sacked eight times.
Army had to settle for a 26-yard field goal from Alex Carlton in overtime after quarterback Trent Steelman was taken down for a 1-yard loss on a broken play. Steelman, who rushed for 102 of Army’s 289-yards rushing, said the breakdown a miscommunication on a routine play.
“This is a tough one to swallow,” he said. “We have to be able to bounce back from this.”
Black Knights fullback Jared Hassin also rushed for 118 yards, scoring a 5-yard run. Carlton also added a 21-yard field goal in leading Army to a 17-3 halftime lead.
Army outgained Rutgers 404-250, but it also was called for eight penalties for 94 yards, including two major ones that kept Rutgers’ second-half touchdown drives alive.
“We had them on their heels and made some smart plays,” Army coach Rich Ellerson said, “and we don’t win the turnover battle and we don’t win the mental game because we have crucial, painful, just excruciating penalties in critical situations.”
Limited to 65 yards in the first half, Dodd engineered drives of 77 and 93 yards on Rutgers’ first two second-half possessions to tie the game.
Dodd capped the 15-play, six-penalty first drive with his short TD pass to Young on the first play of the fourth quarter. It was the Scarlet Knights’ second fourth-down conversion on the drive, one kept alive by a third-down horse collar penalty and a pass interference.
The tying drive featured a 53-yard pass to tight end D.C. Jefferson.
Army seemed to end the drive when Donovan Travis intercepted Dodd at the Black Knights 41, but linebacker Steve Erzinger was flagged for a helmet-to-helmet hit on the quarterback well after the pass left his hands.
Given second life at the Army 26, Dodd hit Mohamed Sanu for 14 yards before eventually finding Harrison in the right corner of the end zone.
“All our losses, Hawaii, Temple and Rutgers, we had chances to close out the game and put our foot on their throat,” Army linebacker Stephen Anderson said. “Special teams was great today but when the offense sputtered, the defense sputtered. We have to learn it’s not over.”
Army dominated the opening half, outgaining Rutgers 287-65 in taking its big lead.
The Black Knights got contributions in all three phases with a blocked punt by Zach Wells, setting up a three-play, 12-drive scoring drive that Steelman capped with a keeper.
Rutgers had a chance to tie the game on the next series, but settled for a 19-yard field goal by San San Te. Army came right back and drove 89 yards in seven plays to take a 14-3 lead. Hassin set up the touchdown with a 50-yard run, and two plays later scored on a 5-yard scamper.
The final three points came on a 13-play, 94-yard march on the final drive of the half with Steelman completing passes of 17 and 30 yards to set up Carlton’s 21-yard field goal.
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