CINCINNATI -- Nick Davila showed Rutgers what the value of senior leadership is all about.
Davila completed 11-of-15 passes for a career-high 277 yards and
cornerback DeAngelo Smith returned an interception for an 84-yard touchdown as Cincinnati ended seventh-ranked Rutgers'
bid for a perfect season with a 30-11 Big East Conference victory.
After coming off the bench to throw for 167 yards and two
touchdowns in last week's loss to West Virginia, Davila - who also set a personal best in completions - led the Bearcats (6-5,
3-3 Big East) to their first win in five tries against top-10 opponents this season.
Entering fourth nationally in total defense (231.7) and scoring defense (10.9), Rutgers (9-1, 4-1) surrendered a season high in points while scoring a season low. The Scarlet Knights were denied in their bid for their first undefeated season since 1976.
Coming off a dramatic comeback victory against Louisville on November 9, Rutgers fell into a three-way tie with the Cardinals and West Virginia in the race for the Big East championship. The Scarlet Knights meet Syracuse next Saturday before closing the regular season against the Mountaineers.
After Kevin Lovell opened the scoring for Cincinnati with a 32-yard field goal in the first quarter, Davila capped a
10-play, 80-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run on the second play of the second period for a 10-0 lead.
On the ensuing possession, Scarlet Knights quarterback Mike Teel's pass was intercepted by Smith, who raced 84 yards to the
end zone for a 17-0 advantage. It was Teel's 10th interception of the campaign.
The teams traded field goals before the lefthanded Davila connected with Brent Celek for an 83-yard touchdown with 3:11
remaining in the third quarter, widening the Bearcats' margin to 27-3.
Cincinnati limited Rutgers to 288 yards on offense, including just 85 in the first half, while gaining 402 to become bowl
eligible for the fifth time in seven years. The Bearcats face Connecticut next Saturday.
Despite becoming Rutgers' all-time single-season rushing leader
(1,388), Ray Rice was held to just 54 yards on 18 carries, snapping a seven-game streak of 100-yard outings. He scored a one-yard TD late in the fourth quarter.
Teel finished 18-of-54 for 238 yards and four interceptions for the Scarlet Knights, who fell to 1-4-1 here all-time.
Cincinnati: FG, K Lovell 32 YD
Cincinnati: TD, N Davila 1 YD RUN (K Lovell KICK)
Cincinnati: TD, D Smith 84 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN (K Lovell KICK)
Rutgers: FG, J Ito 34 YD
Cincinnati: FG, K Lovell 19 YD
Cincinnati: TD, B Celek 83 YD PASS FROM N Davila (K Lovell KICK)
Cincinnati: FG, K Lovell 27 YD
Rutgers: TD, R Rice 1 YD RUN (M Teel PASS TO T Underwood FOR TWO-POINT CONVERSION)