Piscataway, N.J. After listening to No. 23 South Florida talk about revenge all week, Rutgers sent its message on the field.
Freshman quarterback Tom Savage threw for two touchdowns, and Rutgers forced four turnovers, blocked a punt and recorded seven sacks in embarrassing the error-prone Bulls, 31-0, on Thursday night in a nationally televised game.
It marked the first time South Florida was shut out in the regular season in its 13-year history, and the lopsided score provided some extra satisfaction for Rutgers.
“I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t,” cornerback Devin McCourty said. “To come out here and play like that and get a win like that after guys were saying this and saying that — we just kept saying that’s not what we’re about. We’re not going to talk about what we’re going to do. We’re just going to prepare and come out and play.”
The victory was the fourth straight for Rutgers (7-2, 2-2 Big East) over South Florida (6-3, 2-3), and this one made the Scarlet Knights bowl eligible for the fifth straight season.
“It’s awesome,” Savage said. “That’s all you can say about it. It’s a great feeling, but we have three games to work on right now, and that’s what we are doing.”
The only other time South Florida was shut out was 14-0 in the Meineke Bowl in 2005 against North Carolina State.
“Give Rutgers a lot of credit, they just beat the dog out of us,” South Florida coach Jim Leavitt said. “They did a nice job. We haven’t fared well against Rutgers over the years.”