Johnny Langan threw two touchdown passes and rushed for another score Saturday afternoon as host Rutgers pulled away in the second half for a 44-34 victory over Liberty to snap a six-game losing streak.
Two weeks after throwing for one yard in a 35-0 loss at Indiana, Langan completed 15 of 21 passes for a career-high 192 yards. He also rushed for a career-best 118 yards, helping Rutgers (2-6) convert 12 of 17 third downs and maintain possession for 40 minutes, 48 seconds
Isaiah Washington caught a 51-yard pass three minutes into the third quarter to snap a 21-21 tie and he finished with four receptions for 89 yards.
Isaih Pacheco rushed for two TDs and totaled 107 yards on 19 carries in Rutgers’ first win since beating Massachusetts on Aug. 30.
Eddie Lewis caught the other TD, hauling in a 5-yard catch with 3:16 left in the first half that forged a 21-21 tie. Justin Davidovicz kicked three field goals in the second half.
Liberty’s Stephen Calvert completed 17 of 31 passes for 244 yards and one touchdown. Josh Mack had two TDs and totaled 109 yards on 11 carries while leading receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden finished with five catches for 68 yards and a TD.
Liberty (5-3) began a four-game trip by seeing its five-game winning streak snapped. The Flames were denied a sixth straight victory for the first time since 2011 and remained two wins away from becoming bowl eligible in their first FBS season.
The Flames were doomed by nine penalties, including an offsides and unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after they recovered an onside kick with 5:34 remaining. The Flames were also whistled for an offsides penalty on an onside kick with 27 seconds remaining.
After recovering its own fumble on the opening kickoff, Liberty marched down the field and took a 7-0 lead a little over three minutes in on Frankie Hickson’s 4-yard run. Rutgers answered when Langan scored from 3 yards out with 5:17 remaining, capping a drive in which he rushed six times for 40 yards.
Liberty took a 14-7 lead with 1:50 left when Mack ran down the middle from 18 yards out. Rutgers capped another long drive on Pacheco’s 1-yard run with 10:18 left in the second but less than two minutes later Gandy-Golden’s one-handed catch gave Liberty a 21-14 lead.
Rutgers tied the game for a third time with 3:16 remaining when Langan found Lewis in the left corner of the end zone.
Washington raced 51 yards down the left sideline after catching a perfect throw from Langan for a 28-21 lead with 12 minutes left in the third and Pacheco’s 19-yard run with 2:34 left upped the lead to 35-24.
—Field Level Media