(Saturday, December 19th)
Final Score: Rutgers 45, UCF 24
St. Petersburg, FL (Sports Network) - Mohamed Sanu scored three touchdowns and amassed 138 yards from scrimmage, as Rutgers ran away with a 45-24 victory over UCF in the St. Petersburg Bowl at Tropicana Field.
"We just played together instead of playing by ourselves," Sanu said. "When we play united as one we play really well."
Rutgers' (9-4) defensive effort was led by Billy Anderson, who returned and interception for a score, and Damaso Munoz, who also had a pick and took an onside kick 35 yards the other way for the clinching TD late in the game.
Tom Savage threw for 294 yards with two touchdowns and a interception in the Scarlet Knights' fourth straight bowl win. Tim Brown ended with 99 yards and a score on four grabs for the victors.
Brett Hodges threw for 175 yards and two touchdowns but completed just 13- of-28 passes and was intercepted twice for the Knights (8-5), who have lost all three bowl games in their history.
UCF's Teddy Dellaganna returned the opening kickoff 66 yards to the Rutgers 31-yard line. Hodges, though, was intercepted on the third play from scrimmage, which was turned into a Sanu five-yard TD run at the 8:37 mark.
Kamar Aiken's seven-yard catch in the end zone later in the frame came after Sanu muffed a punt, tying the game at 7-7. Rutgers answered immediately, as Savage hooked up with Brown on a 65-yard score on the second play of the ensuing drive.
Nick Cattoi's 25-yard field goal opened the second frame, cutting the UCF deficit to 14-10. Sanu later capped an 11-play, 58-yard drive with a one-yard plunge with 5:50 remaining in the frame.
After Hodges found Aiken down the right sideline for a 34-yard score, the Knights got the ball back with under two minutes to go before halftime.
However, Hodges was picked off by Anderson, who returned the interception 19 yards for a 27-17 lead that Rutgers built on in the third.
A Savage-to-Sanu 61-yard hookup on the opening play of the second half preceded the same duo getting together for an 11-yard touchdown.
San San Te tacked on a 43-yard field goal with 8:09 remaining in the third quarter for a commanding 38-17 lead after the first of four straight three- and-outs for UCF.
Jonathan Davis rushed for a two-yard score with 2:23 remaining to make it a two-score game, but Munoz caught the onside kick on a generous hop and went untouched for a 35-yard score while somersaulting into the end zone.
"I have to give a lot of credit to Rutgers. They played exceptionally well," UCF head coach George O'Leary said. "In the second half I didn't think our offense did anything at all to move the ball. I thought we hurt ourselves in a lot of situations."
Aiken ended with 65 yards on four catches...Sanu logged 41 yards on 14 carries and 97 yards on four grabs. His teammate, Joe Martinek, also went over 100 yards from scrimmage, gaining 44 yards on 14 carries and 66 yards on three receptions.
12/20 01:38:43 ET