(Photo credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
Kyle Monangai racked up 143 rushing yards and a career-best three touchdowns on 16 carries to help Rutgers stay unbeaten with a 35-16 win over visiting Virginia Tech on Saturday in Piscataway, N.J.
Monangai broke off a 55-yard TD run with 10:41 left to play to turn a five-point lead into a safermargin for Rutgers (3-0), which opened with three straight wins for the third year in a row.
Scarlet Knights quarterback Gavin Wimsatt added a career-high 87 rushing yards and a score, plus 46 yards and a touchdown on 7-of-16 passing.
Quarterback Kyron Drones made his first career start for Virginia Tech (1-2) in place of Grant Wells, who was out with an ankle injury. Drones completed 19 of 32 passes for 190 yards, a touchdown and an interception and ran for 74 yards. Da'Quan Felton had six catches for 84 yards and a score.
On the second play from scrimmage, Drones muffed the handoff exchange to Bhayshul Tuten and Wesley Bailey recovered the fumble for the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers capitalized on its first offensive play, as Monangai charged in for a 19-yard touchdown 43 seconds into the game.
Drones settled in and strung together some drives. John Love missed a 36-yard field goal but redeemed himself from 30 yards at the end of a 15-play, 57-yard drive to put the Hokies on the board with 9:29 before halftime.
Wimsatt, faced with third-and-7, faked a handoff and scampered up the middle untouched for a 34-yard touchdown, making it 14-3 Rutgers with 7:50 left in the half.
A short Virginia Tech punt set Rutgers up at midfield with time for a two-minute drill. Wimsatt hit Christian Dremel in the right flat with 4 seconds left for a 4-yard touchdown. Dremel was ruled out at the 1-yard line, but the call was corrected on review.
Early in the third quarter, Felton beat his defender but dropped a long would-be touchdown. He made up for it on the next drive, getting open for a 39-yard TD catch to cut the Hokies' deficit to 21-10 with 3:39 left in the third.
The Hokies forced a three-and-out and marched downfield again. Tuten punched it in from the 1 on the second play of the fourth quarter, but Rutgers stopped their 2-point conversion try to hold the score at 21-16 with 14:18 left.
Rutgers answered when Monangai bounced out to the left where no defenders were positioned and sprinted to the end zone.
Aaron Lewis sacked Drones to help halt Virginia Tech's ensuing drive, and Monangai tacked on a 12-yard rushing score with 3:20 left.
--Field Level Media