- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 30, 2008

From combined dispatches

PAPAJOHNS.COM

RUTGERS 29, N.C. STATE 23: It’s fitting that the Scarlet Knights would end their 2008 season with a come-from-behind win.

After winning only one of their first six games, Mike Teel and Rutgers (8-5) erased an 11-point, second-half deficit Monday to defeat the Wolfpack (6-7) in Birmingham, Ala.

“As the whole year went, we were able to fight through adversity and stick to it, stick to the plan,” Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said. “This game was very much indicative of our season. They stuck with it. You make your own breaks, and they did.”

Leading the comeback - as he did all season - was Teel, who passed for 319 yards and two touchdowns, including a 42-yard scoring toss to Kenny Britt to give the Scarlet Knights (8-5) the lead for good in the fourth quarter.

“We knew that - somehow, someway - we could get out of that hole. You looked around that locker room, there wasn’t one ounce of panic or doubt,” Teel said. “It was just a matter of continuing to do what we’ve done to get us into this position.”

Teel’s pass to Britt with 8:30 to play was the winning touchdown. Britt, a third-team All-American, made a juggling catch as he crossed the goal line and finished with six catches for 119 yards.

Teel, a senior, was the game’s MVP. He ended his career on a seven-game winning streak after being booed at home when he was struggling earlier in the season.

Schiano said he didn’t have to give his team much of a pep talk at the half.

“I had to say very little about what we were going to do in the second half,” he said. “Our seniors stepped up, really throughout the game. It was probably the most relaxed I’ve seen our guys as far as just playing football.”

N.C. State (6-7) held a 17-6 halftime lead, led by quarterback Russell Wilson, who was 11-for-23 for 186 yards and a score. But Wilson left the game with a strained knee late in the first half and did not return.

His replacements were mostly ineffective and threw three interceptions to aid the Rutgers comeback. Wilson threw one interception all season. N.C. State coach Tom O’Brien said doctors recommended Wilson not play in the second half.

“There’s no politicking when the doctor recommends you don’t play,” O’Brien said.

But O’Brien did not blame the loss on the injury.

“You can’t blame it on injuries. We had our opportunities in the third quarter and couldn’t seem to make a play,” O’Brien said.

The Scarlet Knights scored 10 consecutive points in the third quarter on a 31-yard field goal by San San Te and an 11-yard pass from Teel to Tiquan Underwood.

Rutgers took a 19-17 lead with 13:31 to play on a 28-yard field by Te after a 10-play, 70-yard drive. The Wolfpack came right back; reserve quarterback Daniel Evans drove them 64 yards in eight plays and hit Anthony Hill with a 16-yard touchdown pass to give N.C. State a 23-19 lead.

But Teel hit Britt for the go-ahead score only two plays later.

Rutgers got off to a fast start: Cornerback Jason McCourty recovered a Wolfpack fumble on the first play from scrimmage. On the next play, Teel hit Underwood with a 22-yard pass and the Scarlet Knights drove to the N.C. State 6, where they lined up for a field goal.

ALAMO

No. 25 MISSOURI 30, No. 22 NORTHWESTERN 23 (OT): Chase Daniel threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin in overtime, and the Tigers (10-3) rallied to beat the Wildcats (9-4) in San Antonio.

After Missouri scored on the opening possession of overtime, its defense delivered, too. Missouri sacked a backpedaling C.J. Bacher, forcing a fumble that left Northwestern with fourth-and-goal from the 32-yard line.

Bacher’s desperation heave into the end zone was knocked down, and Daniel rushed off the sideline with his teammates to celebrate.

The win gave Missouri double-digit victories in consecutive seasons for the first time in school history. Northwestern fell to 1-6 in bowl games, with its only win coming in its first bowl appearance in 1949.

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