Rutgers' 28-7 Victory Over Army Sets Up Stretch Run for First-Ever Title
"It was a great feeling because this community has been through a lot these past two weeks. Just giving them something to cheer about is a great feeling. That's the reason we came up. We knew we were going to get a win for this community.“—Rutgers DB Duron Harmon referencing the devastation in New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy (as quoted by the Associated Press on ESPN.com).
Rutgers started slowly and looked rusty, and if not for their extraordinary special-teams play, the Scarlet Knights would have been trailing for much of Saturday's game against Army. Rutgers blocked two field goals to keep the game tied at 7-7 before scoring three unanswered touchdowns at the end of the fourth quarter to get past the Black Knights, 28-7.
Playing poorly and trailing 7-0, the Scarlet Knights utilized the halfback option pass with Jawan Jamison (who tossed a 16-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Coleman) to finally tie the game early in the second quarter. "I don't expect any game to be easy, especially against Army to be easy," offered Coleman (per the Associated Press). "They gave us their best shot."
Tied 7-7, the contest muddled on, and if not for the blocked field goals and three Army turnovers, the final outcome of this contest could have been different. Finally, the Scarlet Knights found their stride in the fourth quarter, as Brandon Coleman gave Rutgers the lead with his second TD catch of the game. Coleman was the leading RU receiver with three catches.
Jawan Jamison was held to under 100 yards, and could not manage a run over 14 yards in the game. His 90-yard effort against Army raises his season total to 953 yards.
Gary Nova had a good game statistically, going 14-of-17 for 123 yards and one touchdown. However, the team's inability to take control of the contest was due in large part to the inability to sustain drives. In addition to being 2-of-9 on third-down conversions, Rutgers committed seven penalties in the game.
Just over two minutes after Coleman's second TD, Savon Huggins found the end zone on a two-yard run to provide the Scarlet Knights with some breathing room with just 6:28 remaining in the game. It was then that the Rutgers defense salted the game away when Duron Harmon grabbed a midair fumble by Army's backup QB A.J. Schurr and raced 73 yards for the final score of the game.
"It goes from the miscues, to the fumbles, to the missed field goals and just not finishing," said starting QB Trent Steelman (per the Associated Press). "We pride ourselves on finishing every time we get the ball, and we didn't get it done today."
The victory helped to raise Rutgers to No. 22 in the BCS standings, and while a national title is out of its reach, the Big East Title is well within its grasp. Rutgers finishes against three straight conference foes, beginning with Cincinnati this weekend. After that, it travels to Pittsburgh on Nov. 24 before finishing against No. 19 Louisville on Nov. 29.
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