NEW ORLEANS – Cornerback Brandon Jones (Sicklerville, N.J.) returned an interception 14 yards for a touchdown and WR Brandon Coleman (Accokeek, Md.) took a pass from QB Gary Nova (Elmwood Park, N.J.) 43 yards to the end zone in the fourth quarter to help Rutgers surge past Tulane 24-12 to notch the first win of head coach Kyle Flood’s career “On the Banks” Saturday night in the Superdome.
The Scarlet Knights (1-0) struck first in the contest, with RB Jawan Jamison (Starke, Fla.) breaking loose on a 46-yard touchdown run with 9:42 remaining in the second half. The RU running back juked a final Tulane defender before finishing his sprint to the end zone. Jamison finished with 112 yards on 18 carries.
Tulane (0-1) was able to find first half points with a 40-yard field goal from kicker Cairo Santos with 41 seconds left in the second quarter. Rutgers wasn’t done, with junior WR Jeremy Deering (Tampa, Fla.) returning the ensuing kickoff 55 yards to Tulane’s 45-yard line. Freshman K Kyle Federico (Ponte Vedra, Fla.) ended the drive and the half with a 28-yard field goal to give Rutgers a 10-3 lead at the break.
The Green Wave tightened the game to 10-6 with a 32-yard field goal from Santos at 14:52 in the fourth quarter.
RU then made its late surge with the 14 points from Jones’ interception return and the Coleman-Nova touchdown connection. Tulane answered with its first touchdown of the night on an 11-yard pass from quarterback Ryan Griffin to running back Rob Kelley at 5:07, setting the score at 24-12 after DT Isaac Holmes (Jersey City, N.J.) blocked the extra point.
Both teams battled to a 0-0 score in the first quarter, with the Scarlet Knights leading in possession with 8:55.
Linebacker Khaseem Green (Elizabeth, N.J.) led RU with 14 tackles (nine solo), including one sack for seven yards lost. Defensive back Wayne Warren (Salibury, Md.) and DE Ka’Lial Glaud (Sicklerville, N.J.) also recorded sacks. Along with his interception, Jones made three pass breakups.
• Rutgers (1-0) opened the 2012 season with a 24-12 victory over Tulane (0-1) Saturday evening in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. It was the head-coaching debut for Kyle Flood, the 29th coach in school history.
• The Scarlet Knights improved to 4-2 all-time vs. Tulane and a perfect 3-0 in the Superdome.
• Rutgers is now 73-61-9 in season-openers, including a 9-4 mark since 2000.
• Since 1924, Rutgers coaches are 11-1 in head coaching debuts. All-time, RU head coaches are 14-11-1 in their first game.
• Senior CB Brandon Jones (Sicklerville, N.J.) scored his first career touchdown on a 14-yard interception return in the fourth quarter to give Rutgers a 17-6 lead. It was the first INT returned for a TD for the Scarlet Knights since Logan Ryan’s (Berlin, N.J.) 45-yard INT return for a score in 2011 vs. Pitt.
• Sophomore RB Jawan Jamison (Starke, Fla.) topped the century mark on the ground for the fourth time in his career with 18 carries for 112 yards and a touchdown. He averaged 6.2 yards per carry.
• Jamison’s 46-yard touchdown in the second quarter was his second-longest TD run of his career. (56 vs. Army in 2011 at Yankee Stadium)
• Rutgers held Tulane to eight rushing yards on 16 carries, including -5 yards on 10 carries in the first half. Rutgers also held Norfolk State to eight yards rushing on 30 attempts in the 2011 season-opener.
• Rutgers limited Tulane to 262 yards of total offense. Dating back to last season, RU has held three of its last four opponents to under 300 yards of total offense. Since 2000, Rutgers is 41-4 when limiting the opponent to less than 300 yards of total offense in a game.
• As a team, Rutgers rushed for 151 yards. Going back to last year, RU has gone over the century mark on the ground in four of the last five games. Since 2000, Rutgers is 42-16 in games when rushing for 150 yards or more.
• Sophomore WR Brandon Coleman (Accokeek, Md.) has seven career touchdown receptions. Six of the seven have been 34 yards or longer.
• Senior All-America LB Khaseem Greene (Elizabeth, N.J.), the 2011 BIG EAST Co-Defensive Player of the Year, finished with a team-high 14 tackles. He also contributed one sack.
• Rutgers ended the night with three sacks as a team while the RU offensive line did not allow a sack.