PISCATAWAY, NJ – Rutgers’ 48-42 triple-overtime loss to Michigan was heartbreaking considering the Scarlet Knights missed a field goal in the first OT that would have clinched the victory.
Valentino Ambrosio, who had connected on two field goals including a 42-yarder, missed on a 45-yard attempt with the score 35-all.
Both teams scored in the second overtime, but the Wolverines held Rutgers after Hassan Haskins had put them ahead with a 1-yard touchdown run in the third overtime.
Rutgers, which lost to Michigan in 2016, 78-0, got a big game Saturday night from quarterback Noah Vedral.
He threw for a career-high 378 passing yards with three touchdown passes, including a 61-yard toss to wide receiver Bo Melton.
Running back Johnny Langan added two rushing scores, and wide receiver Aron Cruickshank and tight end Jovani Haskins each caught touchdown passes.
Rutgers trailed Michigan, 35-27, before rallying to tie the game in the final minute. First, Cruickshank caught an 11-yard touchdown. Then, Vedral plowed through the center of the line for the two-point conversion to tie the score.
Linebacker Olakunle Fatukasi led the defense with 16 tackles and two sacks. With his 16 stops, Fatukasi became the first player since Aaron Brady in 1998 to produce 10 or more tackles in five consecutive games.
Rutgers jumped to a 17-0 lead at SHI Stadium, sparked by the defense.
First, the Scarlet Knights forced a turnover on their first defensive possession when safety Christian Izien scooped up a forced fumble by safety Brendon White. Then on its next defensive series, the Scarlet Knights stuffed Michigan on a fourth-and-1 attempt when linebacker Fatukasi and defensive tackle Julius Turner stopped quarterback Joe Milton short of the line of gain.
On the next play, Vedral found Cruickshank for a 43-yard reception, setting Rutgers up within Wolverine territory.
Running back Aaron Young then took a run 10 yards to give the Scarlet Knights first-and-goal, followed by a 3-yard rush from Langan for the first score of the night. Rutgers led, 7-0, with 4:33 left in the quarter.
The Scarlet Knights then moved the ball 69 yards on nine plays in the second quarter. The key play on the drive came from receiver Shameen Jones, who took an end-around 33 yards to the Wolverine 3.
Langan scored again to help Rutgers take a 14-0 lead.
Ambrosio hit a 38-yarder as Rutgers went up 17-0.
With rumors of being fired hanging over Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, he sent starting quarterback Joe Milton to the bench in favor of backup Cade McNamara. The move sparked the Wolverines, now 2-3 overall and in the Big Ten.
Rutgers fell to 1-4 overall and in the Big Ten.