Gary Nova threw an interception, overthrew and underthrew receivers and the Scarlet Knights committed 11 penalties for 92 yards in a game that was sloppy before the sky opened at halftime and drenched the field with a soaking rain.
But again it was defense, special teams and the running of Jawan Jamison that made the plays that pushed the Scarlet Knights to their second victory of the season.
The Knights made a key defensive stand when the Bison had a 1st-and-goal on the 2-yard line early in the first quarter. After stops on first and second down, a third-down pitch-out to William Parker was fumbled, and Rutgers defensive lineman Scott Vallone recovered to end the threat.
That was as close as the Bison would get to scoring in the game, as Howard University was held to 149 total yards on offense for the entire game.
“I feel like the defense played fast and we didn’t give up any points,” said RU defensive back Brandon Jones (as quoted by Tom Luicci of The Star-Ledger on NJ.com). “Any time you do that it’s a good day.”
Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova went 15-of-27 in the game for just 130 yards with two touchdowns, but again looked tentative in the pocket for the second straight week. Nova spread the ball to seven different receivers, with wide receiver Mark Harrison snagging six receptions in the game. Despite the equitable distribution, only four Rutgers first downs came by way of the pass.
The Knights opened the scoring when Savon Huggins ran in on a one-yard TD plunge in the first quarter. Had that been the only points of the game, it would have been enough.
From there, WR Brandon Coleman added a touchdown reception midway through the second quarter to stake the Knights to a 19-0 lead at the half, and subsequently added a second TD catch in the third quarter to close out the day's scoring when Rutgers went up 26-0.
Due to their schedule, the Scarlet Knights have only a few days to heal up from the injuries sustained against the Bison. Offensive linemen Betim Bujari and Andre Civil, as well as running back Savon Huggins and defensive lineman Marcus Thompson, all left the field Saturday in need of medical attention.
“I don’t think we played our best football or close to what we’re capable of,” mused defensive lineman Scott Vallone (as reported by Tom Luicci of The Star-Ledger on NJ.com). “So what better time to do that than Thursday night on ESPN against South Florida?”