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Rutgers (8-5) 52
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Rice Runs For 280 As Rutgers Rolls

by Mike Mitchell
January 5, 2008

Ray Rice ran for 280 yards and 4 TD's as Rutgers defeated Ball State 52-30 in the International Bowl. It was the 8th consecutive game of 110-plus yards on the ground for Rice as the Scarlet Knights won back-to-back bowl games for the first time in school history while raising their bowl record to 2-2.

The Cardinals fell to 0-4 in bowl games with their most-lopsided ball loss ever. Ball State was playing in its first bowl game since 1996. Cardinal QB Nate Davis threw for 291 yards and 3 TD's.

Rutgers scored on three of its first four possessions to take a 17-3 lead and never looked back. By halftime, it was 24-9 and Rice already had two touchdowns. Rice's third carry of the second half went for 90 yards and a TD. He added one more in the third quarter from just 1 yard out to turn the game into a 38-16 romp.

Davis' 6-yard pass to Darius Hill got Ball State to within 38-23, but the Scarlet Knights recovered the onside kick and QB Mike Teel hit Tiquan Underwood for a 35-yard TD pass on the first play from scrimmage. Teel later hooked up with Kenny Britt for 47 yards to make it 52-23.

Ball State scored its final touchdown with 2:03 left to play. When the Cardinals failed to convert the following onside kick, they kept their three remaining time-outs in their pocket and let Rutgers run out the clock.

The question for Rutgers is whether or not Ray Rice will be back for his senior season. He has until January 15 to declare for the NFL draft. The junior has rushed for 4,926 yards and 49 TD's in three seasons while helping Rutgers to three consecutive bowl games and a 26-12 record.

The Scarlet Knights were a somewhat disappointing 8-5 this year after being picked by the computer (Congrove Computer Rankings) in the preseason to win 10 regular season games.

Conversely, Ball State was picked to go just 4-8. Instead, the Cardinals turned in a 7-6 effort for their first winning season since going 8-4 in 1996.