Jawan Jamison carried the ball 28 times for 110 yards and quarterback Gary Nova (18-for-27, 157 yards) threw for a touchdown as Rutgers beat Connecticut, 19-3, to keep them in first place in the Big East.
The win kept the Rutgers Scarlet Knights undefeated on the young season and helped to solidify their standing in the Top 25.
Using the same script that they have used in four of their five wins this year, Rutgers relied on a strong running performance by Jamison, solid special teams play and a smothering defense. Through five games, Jamison has amassed 601 yards and two touchdowns, but the Scarlet Knights defense was the key to the game, making play after play to thwart the Huskies' attack.
"We had a 100-yard rusher," said Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood (as quoted by the Sports Network on Ledger-Enquirer.com), "we played tremendous run defense and we made some terrific plays in the kicking game."
The Knights intercepted Connecticut quarterback Chandler Whitmer four times in the game and held highly touted Huskies tailback Lyle McCombs to just 32 rushing yards on the afternoon. The Huskies, who came into the contest averaging 23 points per game, were held to just one 19-yard field goal off the foot of kicker Chad Christen.
The total team performance by the conference-leading Knights was what DT Scott Vallone labeled, "the blueprint for what we want to do" (as quoted by Tom Luicci of The Star-Ledger on NJ.com).
The final interception thrown by Whitmer was returned 25 yards by DB Wayne Warren for a Rutgers touchdown to seal the game in the fourth quarter.
By comparison, Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova continues to mature with each passing week since his two shaky starts at the beginning of the season. Nova threw the ball to five different receivers in the game, including a touchdown to Mark Harrison and no interceptions.
"If you could bottle today's game you'd see Rutgers football," explained Kyle Flood (per the Star-Ledger's Tom Luicci on NJ.com).
It was the ninth straight game that Rutgers did not allow an opponent to rush for 100 yards, and the 5-0 undefeated start is the best for the Scarlet Knights since 2006. Rutgers next faces Syracuse on October 13.
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