PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) -Instead of getting even with Rutgers, No. 23 South Florida didn't even get on the scoreboard for the first time in a regular-season game in its 13-year history.
Tom Savage threw for two touchdowns and Rutgers forced four turnovers, blocked a punt and recorded seven sacks in defeating the error-prone Bulls 31-0 in a nationally televised game on Thursday night.
The victory was the fourth straight for Rutgers (7-2, 2-2 Big East) over South Florida (6-3, 2-3), and this one made the Scarlet Knights bowl eligible for the fifth straight season.
The only other time South Florida was shut out was 14-0 in the Meineke Bowl in 2005 against North Carolina State.
Savage threw touchdown passes of 25 yards to Mohamed Sanu and 26 yards to Tim Brown. Joe Martinek ran for 128 yards, including a 37-yard score. San San Te kicked field goals of 36, 26 and 49 yards.
South Florida came into this game seeking revenge. The Bulls thought the Scarlet Knights ran up the score last year in a 49-16 victory and they promised to make amends, noting that coach Jim Leavitt had been discussing the Rutgers game since training camp opened.
But on the second play from scrimmage, cornerback Jerome Murphy was flagged for hitting Brown out of bounds and nothing went right for South Florida the rest of the night.
Rutgers went 80 yards on that initial drive, capped by Savage's touchdown pass to Sanu, who broke a tackle by Kayvon Webster at the 15.
The first half was awful for South Florida, although it trailed only 13-0.
B.J. Daniels threw two interceptions and lost a fumble on a scramble, Faron Hornes muffed a punt, and Rutgers' Devin McCourty blocked a punt by Delbert Alvarado late in the half.
Rutgers, however, managed only two field goals off the turnovers. Te missed a 51-yard attempt and he never got a chance to kick a 23-yarder after Hornes' fumble because holder Teddy Dellaganna didn't catch the snap.
Rutgers broke the game open in the second half. Savage (15 of 30 for 194 yards) connected with Brown on a touchdown pass midway through the third quarter. Sanu stretched the lead to 21-0, running in a 2-point conversion out of a wildcat formation.
Te kicked his 49-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter and Martinek closed the scoring with his 37-yard run around left end.
Daniels, who engineered a win over then-No. 20 West Virginia in South Florida's previous game, finished 7 of 17 for 129 yards. He also carried 16 times for 11 yards. The Bulls finished with seven first downs and 159 yards in total offense, including 30 yards rushing.
- The loss to Rutgers drops USF's record to 6-3 and 2-3 in BIG EAST play.
- The loss drops USF's all-time record against Rutgers to 2-4 and 1-2 when playing at Rutgers Stadium.
- This season USF is honoring former player Keeley Dorsey by wearing his No. 10 jersey ... Senior RB Kion Wilson donned the jersey against Rutgers ... Dorsey passed away after a team conditioning workout on Jan. 17, 2007 ... This season would have been his senior year.
- RB Moise Plancher, S Nate Allen, LB Kion Wilson, QB Matt Grothe and DE George Selvie were USF's captains... Captains will be announced throughout the season by coach Jim Leavitt on a game-by-game basis.
- Offensive starters were: WR Jason Sherman, LT Jeremiah Warren, LG Chaz Hine, C Sampson Genus, RG Jake Sims, RT Mark Popek, WR Jessie Hester, WR A J Love, WR Dontavia Bogan, QB B.J. Daniels, RB Mo Plancher
- Defensive starters were: LE David Bedford, NT Terrell McClain, DT Keith McCaskill, RE George Selvie, LB Sabbath Joseph, LB Chris Robinson, LB Kion Wilson, LC Quenton Washington, SS Mistral Raymond, FS Nate Allen, RC Jerome Murphy.
- Sophomore Keith McCaskill made his third career start and second consecutive. He finished with two tackles.
- Senior WR Jessie Hester made his first start of the 2009 season. The start marked the 10th of his career.
- Junior WR Jason Sherman made his first career start.
- Senior CB Jerome Murphy picked off a Tom Savage pass in the first half, which is his third interception of the year and seventh of his career.
- Senior WR Theo Wilson's 37-yard and junior WR A.J. Love's 37-yard and 29-yards receptions were the 26th, 27th and 28th plays of 25 yards or more for USF this season.
- Senior LB Wilson Kion Wilson led the Bulls with 18 tackles, which is a career high . Wilson has led the team in tackles three consecutive games and four times in 2009. It is the third consecutive game with double digit tackles. He now has a team best 79 tackles on the season.
- Junior DE Jason Pierre-Paul had two sacks, a career high. He now has four sacks on the season. He had 3.0 tackle for losses and now has 12.5 TFLs on the season.