PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) – Gary Nova threw two touchdown passes to Leonte Carroo and Robert Martin ran for three more as Rutgers defeated Indiana 45-23 on Saturday to become bowl eligible for the ninth time in 10 seasons.
The win barely overshadowed a magnificent performance by Indiana halfback Tevin Coleman, who rushed for a career-high 307 yards, including a 67-yard touchdown run late in the first half. It was the second best game in school history, trailing only Anthony Thompson’s 377-yard effort in 1989.
Nova and Carroo combined on scoring passes of 34 and 56 yards and Martin tallied on runs of 2, 47 and 1 yards as the Scarlet Knights (6-4, 2-4 Big Ten) snapped a three-game losing streak and sent Indiana (3-7, 0-6) to its fifth straight loss.
Josh Hicks also scored on a 9-yard run after Indiana failed on a fake punt deep in its own territory in the third quarter. The Hoosier also opened the game by recovering an onside kick
Coleman’s touchdown run with 18 seconds left in the half gave the Hoosiers a 13-10 lead, and they upped the margin to 16-10 early in the third quarter when Griffin Oakes kicked a 22-yard field goal. It came after safety Delon Stephenson ran down Coleman at the Rutgers 5 after a 68-yard run.
The Scarlet Knights took over after the stop.
Martin capped an 80-yard drive on the ensuing possession with his 47-yard scoring run, the freshman’s longest of the season. After a three and out and a 23-yard punt return by Janarion Grant , Nova and Carroo combined from 34 yards out, with the junior receiver breaking a tackle by Tim Bennett at the 18 for a 24-16 lead.
Hicks pushed the lead to 31-16 late in the third quarter when the faked punt went awry after punter Erich Toth dropped the ball as he started to run.
A 28-yard touchdown pass from Zander Diamont to Shane Wynn got the Hoosiers within 31-23, but Rutgers put the game out of reach on Nova’s 56-yard pass to Carroo (5 catches for 125 yards) and Martin’s 1-yard touchdown run late in the game.
The end of the first half was bizarre.
Indiana stopped Rutgers on downs at its 33 with 29 seconds left in the half. The Hoosiers ran what seemed to be a simple sweep right and Coleman scored untouched from 67 yards out for a 13-10 lead with 18 seconds to go.
The touchdown was Coleman’s fourth of more than 60 yards this season and it gave him his ninth game of rushing for at least 100-yards this season.
That didn’t end the half. Grant returned to ensuing kickoff 71 to the Indiana 29. Federico’s 46-yard field goal attempt to tie the game hit off the crossbar and bounced the wrong way for Rutgers.
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