Rutgers football has endured a rough season on and off the field so far in 2015, but the Scarlet Knights nearly scored one of the biggest upsets of the season with No. 4 Michigan State in town Saturday night.
Then they spiked the ball on fourth down in the final seconds while trying to force overtime.
It was a tough way to end a hard-fought game for Rutgers, which led the Spartans 14-10 at the half and later rallied from a 10-point deficit to tie the game at 24 with 4:21 left in the fourth quarter.
Michigan State answered, though, as Connor Cook led a 10-play, 76-yard drive for a go-ahead touchdown scored by freshman tailback LJ Scott on a 3-yard run with 0:43 to play.
Along the way, Cook hooked up with R.J. Shelton for an amazing third-down conversion.
That set up a desperation drive that ended with Rutgers quarterback Chris Laviano taking a sack on third down then hurrying the offense to the line only to run a play that would turn the ball over on downs anyway.
In his postgame press conference, Rutgers interim coach Norries Wilson took the blame for the late-game gaffe.
"At the end of the game, the clock management is 100 percent on the guy in charge and I'm the guy in charge," Wilson said. "So I mismanaged the situation. Chris Laviano did what he was told to do and I told him the wrong thing. So don't think that he screwed it up."