WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Rutgers football (2-4, 2-4) recorded its second Big Ten Conference road win of the season, downing Purdue (2-3, 2-3), 37-30, on Saturday night in West Lafayette, Indiana. The Scarlet Knights set a Big Ten program record with 26 first downs and produced five touchdowns against the Boilermakers, including two passes from quarterback Artur Sitkowski to wide receiver Shameen Jones, to earn the road victory at Ross-Ade Stadium.
Quarterback Johnny Langan also tossed a touchdown pass – a career-long 66-yard connection with running back Kay'Ron Adams – and added a team-high 95 yards on the ground. Running back Aaron Young crossed the goal line for the first time in his career, while wide receiver Aron Cruickshank returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown as RU moved to 2-0 all-time against Purdue.
In a game that featured three lead changes and the Boilermakers up by as much as 10 in the second half, Rutgers used 21 points in the third quarter and churned out a two-quarter, 18-play, 70-yard scoring drive that took nearly 10 minutes off the clock to all but secured the second win for head coach Greg Schiano in his return "On the Banks." The Scarlet Knights possessed the ball for 21:57 in the second half.
After it gave up an opening touchdown to the Boilermakers, Rutgers responded with a nine-play, 65-yard scoring drive. Pacheco ripped off a 23-yard run during the drive to get the Scarlet Knights to Purdue's 28-yard line, while Sitkowski found Jones for the first time six plays later for a 14-yard connection. A missed extra point made it 7-6 Boilermakers with 7:01 left in the quarter.
Rutgers orchestrated another scoring drive on its next possession, this time finding paydirt with an 11-play, 70 yard stretch. A roughing the passer penalty on Purdue set the Scarlet Knights up deep into enemy territory, as Sitkowski found Jones again in the back of the end zone to put RU up, 13-7, with 1:38 left before the second quarter.
Purdue got back into Rutgers' territory, but the Scarlet Knights held strong in the red zone. On fourth-and-one from the Boilermakers' third-yard line, linebacker Tyreek Maddox-Williams got in front of a Jack Plummer pass to give the ball back over to RU. However, Purdue recorded a safety on the following possession as Rutgers led, 13-9, with 12:05 left in the half.
The Boilermakers regained their lead after running back Zander Horvath scored from one yard out to make it 16-13 in favor of the home team at the 8:19 mark in the quarter.
Purdue held Rutgers off the scoreboard down the stretch in the half and scored in the final minute before the break – a one-yard keeper from Plummer – to take a 23-13 lead into halftime.
The Scarlet Knights went right to work out of the locker room, as quarterback Langan threaded the needle to find Adams, who made a cut to the right side of the field and took it 62 yards for his first career receiving score. The career-long pass for Langan shrunk RU's deficit to just three, as Rutgers trailed 23-20 with 12:29 left in the third.
The third quarter was a back-and-forth one, as Purdue produced a touchdown on its following possession before Cruickshank took a 100-yard kick return to the house on the following kickoff. It was the fifth 100-yard touchdown return in program history and made it a 30-27 game with nine minutes left before the final quarter.
Rutgers then forced its first turnover of the game to halt Purdue on its next possession. On third-and-10 from the RU 46 yard line, defensive back Tre Avery came in on a corner blitz, forcing Plummer to throw an interception to linebacker Mohamed Toure. From there, the Scarlet Knights marched down the field and capped a nine-play, 48-yard drive with a one-yard rushing touchdown from running back Aaron Young at 3:42 left in the third quarter to regain the lead, 34-30. The margin would hold heading into the fourth.
Carrying over from the third quarter, Rutgers used close to 10 minutes of clock to add three more to its lead, as kicker Valentino Ambrosio drilled a 28-yard attempt to extend its advantage, 37-30. Rutgers then used its final defensive possession to all but secure the road win, as defensive end Mike Tverdov stopped Plummer in the backfield to force the Boilermakers to punt. RU produced two first-down runs from Langan in the final five minutes to close the game out.
Rutgers plays its fourth home game of the season at SHI Stadium versus Penn State on Dec. 5 at noon, presented by Provident Bank. The television network will be either FS1 or Big Ten Network.