PISCATAWAY, N.J. – The first home game of the Kyle Flood era was a resounding success, as Rutgers (2-0) shut out Howard (1-1) 26-0 before 50,855 fans, the fourth-largest crowd in High Point Solutions Stadium history. The Scarlet Knights limited the Bison, who entered the red zone on just one occasion, to 149 total yards.
“I think our defense did an excellent job,” said Flood. “It was great to get a shut-out. I think…we're the only team in the country that's had a shut out each of the last seven seasons. That's certainly a statistic that we're proud of.”
A trio of sophomores helped spark a Rutgers offense that generated 321 yards. Signal-caller Gary Nova (Elmwood Park, N.J.) hit seven different receivers en route to 130 yards on 15-of-27 passing with two touchdowns. Running back Jawan Jamison (Starke, Fla.) carried 10 times for 110 yards. Wide receiver Brandon Coleman (Accokeek, Md.) caught two scoring passes for 48 yards.
Defensively, the Scarlet Knights had multiple standouts. Collectively, the group had 13 tackles-for-losses, four sacks and 11 quarterback hurries. Senior linebacker Khaseem Greene (Elizabeth, N.J.) had 10 tackles, one sack and a forced fumble. Junior linebacker Jamal Merrell (Bear, Del.) made a team-best 14 tackles, including 3.5 tackles-for-losses.
Sophomore running back Savon Huggins (Jackson, N.J.) opened the scoring on a one yard scamper with 2:08 on the first quarter clock to cap a nine play drive. The possession was aided by a 64-yard run by Jamison, the longest of his career. Jamison’s burst, which occurred on a third-and-34 play at the RU 12, swung momentum in the home squad’s favor after a sluggish start.
The Scarlet Knights wasted little time adding to their advantage. Miles Shuler (Long Branch, N.J.) blocked a punt deep in Howard territory on the visitor’s next possession. The block was collected by senior Brandon Jones (Sicklerville, N.J.) at the six yard line and returned for a score. The extra point was unsuccessful and Rutgers led 13-0 with 12:47 to go before halftime.
RU’s specialty units exerted their dominance once again when the Bison lined up to punt after another three-and-out. This time Wayne Warren (Salisbury, Md.) deflected the kick, giving the Scarlet Knights a first-and-10 at the Howard 33. Two plays later, Nova connected with Coleman on a 32-yard scoring aerial with 7:05 to go in the second quarter. The snap was mishandled on the extra point, however, as Rutgers extended its lead to 19-0.
The Scarlet Knights entered the locker room at the midpoint having permitted the Bison just 15 total net yards. RU forced three turnovers and blocked two points in the initial 30 minutes.
Rutgers increased its lead to 26-0 courtesy of a nine play, 91-yard drive. Jamison had six touches on the possession, which culminated in a 16-yard touchdown toss from Nova to Coleman. The score would prove the only points of the second half.
“I think one of the really, really enjoyable things of the day for me was to see our student section,” added Flood. “They told me over 11,000 students were in the student section today. They were there from the beginning, which was great. I know that has an effect on our team and our players.”
The Scarlet Knights return to the gridiron on Thursday for a 7:30 p.m. kick-off at USF. The game will be televised live nationally on ESPN. Last season, Rutgers defeated the Bulls 20-17 in overtime at High Point Solution Stadium. RU holds a 5-2 advantage in the all-time series between the schools.
• Rutgers moved to 2-0 for the second time in three seasons with a 26-0 shutout victory over Howard (1-1).
• Rutgers is the only team in the nation to record a shutout in each of the last seven seasons.
• Rutgers moved to 3-0 vs. Howard and 9-0 all-time vs. MEAC with the victory.
• Rutgers is 98-36-10 all-time in home openers.
• The Scarlet Knights allowed just 149 yards of total offense against the Bison. It was the lowest amount of total offense by an opponent since North Carolina Central totaled 120 yards of total offense in the 2011 season opener (Sept. 1).
• The paid attendance of 50,855 was thefourth-largest crowd in school history.
• Sophomore running back Jawan Jamison (Starke, Fla.) rushed for 110 yards on just 10 carries to record his second consecutive 100-yard game to start the season.Dating back to last year, Jamison has three straight 100-yard games and has gone over the century mark in four of the last five games.
Jamison’s last three games
27 carries, 131 yards vs. Iowa State (12/30/11)
18 carries, 112 yards (TD) at Tulane (9/1/12)
10 carries, 110 yards vs. Howard (9/8/12)
• Jamison is the first Rutgers running back since Ray Rice to post three straight 100-yard games. Rice ripped off seven consecutive 100-yard games to finish the 2007 season.
• Jamison converted 3rd and 34 with a career-long rush of 64 yards.
• Jamison posted the fifth 100-yard game of his career. He is tied for 10th in school history with the five career 100-yard games.
• Rutgers is 2-0 in 2012 and 43-16 since 2000 when rushing for 150 yards or more in a game.
• The Scarlet Knights are 42-4 when holding opponents to less than 300 yards of total offense since 2000. Howard finished with 149 yards of total offense.
• Senior CB Brandon Jones (Sicklerville, N.J.) became the first defensive player since Quintero Frierson in 2006 to post two touchdowns in a season with his six-yard fumble return on a blocked punt. Jones also scored a touchdown on an interception return in last week’s victory over Tulane.
• Sophomore WR Miles Shuler (Long Branch, N.J.) blocked his first punt of his career and Rutgers has blocked three kicks in two games to start the season. Since the start of 2009, Rutgers leads the nation with 26 blocked kicks.
• Junior LB Jamal Merrell (Bear, Del.) finished with career-highs in tackles (14) and tackles-for-loss (3.5) in the shutout victory. His brother Jamil tied a career-best with 1.5 tackles-for-loss.
• Senior LB Khaseem Greene (Elizabeth, N.J.) finished with 10 tackles, the fourth straight game he produced 10-plus tackles.
• Sophomore LB Kevin Snyder (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) tied a career-high with six tackles and set a new personal-best with one sack and 1.5 tackles-for-loss.
• Junior DT Isaac Holmes (Jersey City, N.J.) totaled a career-high five tackles andfreshman DT Darius Hamilton (West Paterson, N.J.) finished with a career-best four tackles.