PISCATAWAY, N.J. (September 1, 2011) – Behind a two-touchdown performance from freshman running back Savon Huggins (Jackson, N.J.) and a stingy defensive effort, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights opened the 2011 season with a convincing 48-0 win over North Carolina Central at High Point Solutions Stadium.
It was the second-consecutive year that RU began the season with a shutout. Rutgers blanked Norfolk St., 31-0, last year to begin the season.
Huggins converted two touchdowns in the first half to become the first Rutgers freshman to score twice in his debut since Terrell Willis punched in two against Colgate at Giants Stadium on Sept. 5, 1993.
The Scarlet Knights’ defense put pressure on NCCU throughout the night, recording nine sacks, the most in a single-game for RU since 2005.
After each side traded punts several times to begin the game, the Scarlet Knights struck first with 38 seconds to go in the first quarter with a 1-yard touchdown run from Huggins on third down and goal. The run capped a 12-play, 52 yard drive, highlighted by a 20-yard pass from Chas Dodd (Lyman, S.C.) to Mohamed Sanu (South Brunswick, N.J.) to put RU on the doorstep.
Huggins struck again for a seven-yard score after the defense put together back to back sacks to end the Eagles next drive. The drive went 40 yards on nine plays, spanning 3:46 to put Rutgers ahead 14-0.
The Scarlet Knights tacked on one more touchdown before halftime – a 13-yard receiving touchdown from Dodd to Sanu – to take a commanding 21 point lead in to the locker room.
Dodd ended the first half completing eight of 14 passes, with 106 yards. De’Antwan Williams (Woodbridge, Va.) rushed for 44 yards on eight carries.
The second half was all about the defense, as the unit converted two NCCU turnovers into touchdowns to put the game away early in the third quarter.
Scott Vallone (Central Islip, N.Y.) registered his first career touchdown after recovering a fumble in the end zone after a David Milewski (Sayreville, N.J.) sack. The next drive, Duron Harmon (Magnolia, Del.) notched his second interception of the night, returning this one 37 yards for the score. Rutgers now has 47 non-offensive touchdowns under head coach Greg Schiano.
Rutgers was not done denting the scoreboard, as Gary Nova (Elmwood Park, N.J.) threw a 44-yard touchdown to Brandon Coleman (Accokeek, Md.) for his first-career passing score. The touchdown was also Coleman’s first of his career.
San San Te converted all six point-after-attempts and added field goals of 36 and 22 yards.
The Scarlet Knights return to action at North Carolina on Saturday, Sept. 10 in Chapel Hill.
Rutgers opened its 142nd season of college football with a 48-0 victory over North Carolina Central Thursday evening at High Point Solutions Stadium.
The Scarlet Knights are 72-61-9 in season openers and are 7-4 under Greg Schiano.
Rutgers is 97-36-10 in home openers.
For the first time in the Schiano era, Rutgers selected game captains. RB Joe Martinek, OG Desmond Wynn, LB Edmond Laryea and CB Mason Robinson served as game captains for the Scarlet Knights.
The Scarlet Knights are 8-0 all-time vs. MEAC – 6-0 under Schiano – outscoring the opposition 277-7.
The nine sacks by Rutgers were the most by a Scarlet Knight defense since totaling nine sacks in a 44-9 victory over Cincinnati on November 26, 2005.
Rutgers scored 21 first-half points – the most in a season-opening half since scoring 28 vs. Buffalo on August 30, 2007.
Rutgers is 22-15 in September under Schiano and 13-5 home games in September since 2005.
Rutgers scored the 46th non-offensive touchdown of the Schiano era as David Milewski (Sayreville, N.J.) sacked NCCU’s Michael Johnson in the end zone, resulting in a fumble recovery for a TD by Scott Vallone (Central Islip, N.Y.). It was Vallone’s first career TD.
On the ensuing drive, RU scored its 47th non-offensive TD of the Schiano era as junior SS Duron Harmon (Magnolia, Del.) returned his second INT of the night 37 yards for his first career touchdown. Harmon recorded his first two career INTs vs. NCCU.
Rutgers scored two touchdowns defensively for the first time in a game since scoring two at Maryland in 2009.
The 48 points scored are the most for RU in a season-opener since 68 vs. Colgate in 1993.
First-time offensive starters
Sophomore TE Paul Carrezola (Langhorne, Pa.)
Sophomore C David Osei (Abington, Pa.)
Junior RB De’Antwan Williams (Woodbridge, Va.)
First-time defensive starters
Sophomore DE Michael Larrow (Union, N.J.)
Senior DT Justin Francis (Opa-Locka, Fla.)
Junior DE Marvin Booker (Piscataway, N.J.)
Sophomore LB Jamal Merrell (Bear, Del.)
First Career Appearances
Redshirt freshman FB Michael Burton (Long Valley, N.J.)
Redshirt freshman DT Taj Alexander (Downingtown, Pa.)
Junior TE Beau Bachety (Babylon, N.Y.)
Redshirt freshman WR Brandon Coleman (Accokeek, Md.)
Sophomore LB Nick DePaola (Parkton, Md.)
Junior P Justin Doerner (Redondo Beach, Calif.)
Redshirt freshman CB Gareef Glashen (Miami, Fla.)
Redshirt freshman RB Jawan Jamison (Starke, Fla.)
Redshirt freshman LB David Milewski (Sayreville, N.J.)
Redshirt freshman DE Shane Meisner (Greensburg, Pa.)
Redshirt freshman OT Jorge Vicioso (Passaic, N.J.)
Senior WR Jawann Westerman (Brampton, Ontario)
Redshirt freshman WR Jawaun Wynn (Piscataway, N.J.)
True Freshmen Appearances
DB Johnathan Aiken (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
RB Savon Huggins (Jackson, N.J.)
CB Tejay Johnson (Egg Harbor Township, N.J.)
DT Kenneth Kirksey (Daytona Beach, Fla.)
QB Gary Nova (Elmwood Park, N.J.)
WR Miles Shuler (Long Branch, N.J.)
LB Kevin Snyder (Mechanicsburg, Pa.)
DT Daryl Stephenson (Sayreville, N.J.)
True freshman RB Savon Huggins became the first Rutgers RB to score two touchdowns in his first game since Terrell Willis scored two TDs vs. Colgate on Sept., 5, 1993. Willis finished his day with 7 carries for 89 yards and two scores vs. Colgate in a 68-6 Rutgers’ victory at Giants Stadium.
True freshman QB Gary Nova’s first career completion was a touchdown as he connected with redshirt freshman WR Brandon Coleman (Accokeek, Md.) on a 44-yard scoring strike. It also marked the first touchdown of Coleman’s career.
Justin Doerner booted two touchbacks in his first career appearance for the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers totaled just five touchbacks all of last season.
Doerner also averaged 46.6 yards per punt (five punts), including a long of 58 yards.
Scott Vallone finished the night with four tackles, two sacks and an interception to guide the RU defense.