TAMPA, Fla. – Florida natives Kyle Federico (Ponte Vedra, Fla.) and Jawan Jamison (Starke, Fla.) closed out the win for the Rutgers football team Thursday night inside Raymond James Stadium, scoring a 22-yard field goal and 41-yard rushing touchdown, respectively, to win 23-13 over BIG EAST opponent USF.
The 10-point scoring flurry inside the final three minutes of action sealed the first conference victory of head coach Kyle Flood’s career “On the Banks” and improved RU’s record to 3-0 (1-0 BIG EAST). The Bulls dropped to 2-1 (0-1 BIG EAST) with the loss.
With the score knotted at 13-13, Federico hit his field goal at 2:48 try to give the Scarlet Knights a slim 16-13 advantage. After a four-and-out stop for RU’s stingy defense, Jamison took the second carry of Rutgers’ following drive 41 yards to the end zone, using a spin move to spring his run.
The Bulls initially struck first in the contest with two consecutive field goals from kicker Maikon Bonani to hold a 6-0 advantage after the first quarter. The USF kicker scored from 41 yards and 46 yards at 2:54 and 1:42, respectively.
Federico swung back with his first of three field goals for the Scarlet Knights on a successful 51-yard attempt with 28 seconds remaining in the half to set the score at 6-3 at the break. Federico leveled the score at 6-6 at the 10:40 mark in the third quarter with a 30-yard field goal.
The Scarlet Knights turned the first interception of LB Jamal Merrell’s (Bear, Del.) career into points after the junior defender snagged a tipped USF screen pass from quarterback B.J. Daniels at the Bulls’ 30-yard line. QB Gary Nova (Elmwood Park, N.J.) hit WR Mark Harrison (Stratford, Conn.) on a six-yard scoring connection to put RU on top 13-6 with 7:00 left in the third quarter.
Rutgers’ defense rose to the occasion on the ensuing USF drive when driven back into its own red zone, with DB Wayne Warren (Salisbury, Md.) intercepting Daniels on a second-and-goal play from the five-yard line at 2:59. The diving pick in the end zone, the first of Warren’s career, was downed for a touchback.
USF was able to tie the game after a near-interception by CB Marcus Cooper (Bloomfield, Conn.) was tipped to Bull wide receiver Derric Hopkins at the one-yard line. USF scored on the following play to tie the game at 13-13 with 9:23 remaining in the contest.
The Scarlet Knights continue on the road at Arkansas on Sept. 22 and have a bye week before returning to High Point Solutions Stadium to continue BIG EAST action against UConn on Oct. 6.
• Rutgers moved to 3-0 for the first time since 2007 and just the fifth time since 1980 with a 23-13 victory over USF Thursday night at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
• The Scarlet Knights won their BIG EAST opener on the road for the third time in school history (3-7).
• Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood became the first RU head coach since John Bateman (1960) to start 3-0.
• The Scarlet Knights are now 6-2 all-time vs. USF, including a 3-1 record in Tampa.
• Rutgers is 6-4 all-time on ESPN Thursday primetime games and have won three in a row on ESPN Thursday nights.
• Sophomore RB Jawan Jamison (Starke, Fla.) set a school record with 41 rushing attempts, breaking the previous record of 40 carries in a single-game by J.J. Jennings (40 rushing attempts in 1972 vs. Colgate).
• Jamison finished with his third straight 100-yard game of the season – and his fourth straight dating back to last season. He is the first RU running back since Ray Rice to record four straight 100-yard games (Rice had seven straight to close out the 2007 season).
• Jamison ended the game with 151 yards, including a 41-yard touchdown with 54 seconds left to close out the scoring.
• Senior WR Tim Wright (Wall Township, N.J.) posted career-highs in receptions (8) and receiving yards (125), including a career-long 46-yard grab vs. the Bulls.
• Sophomore QB Gary Nova (Elmwood Park, N.J.) posted season-highs in passing attempts (42), completions (23) and passing yards (277) in a turnover free performance.
• Rutgers held USF to just 95 rushing yards on 29 attempts, the third straight opponent to be held to fewer than 100 yards rushing in a game.
• Senior LB Khaseem Greene (Elizabeth, N.J.) posted his fifth consecutive 10-plus tackle game with a team-best 10 tackles in the victory.
• USF QB B.J. Daniels dropped to 1-3 in his career vs. Rutgers after finishing the game 15-of-33 passing for 242 yards and three interceptions.
• Freshman PK Kyle Federico (Ponte Vedra, Fla.) booted a career-long 51-yard field goal in the second quarter. It tied for the fifth longest field goal in school history. He finished with a career-high three field goals.
• Senior CB Brandon Jones (Sicklerville, N.J.) recorded his second interception of the season.
• Senior DB Wayne Warren (Salisbury, Md.) notched his second career INT in the end zone to end a USF drive.
• Junior LB Jamal Merrell (Bear, Del.) came up with his first career INT on a tipped pass in the third quarter.
• Rutgers senior WR Mark Harrison (Stratford, Conn.) finished with five receptions for 41 yards and a touchdown - the 13th receiving touchdown of his career – and is now tied for seventh in RU career history.
• Rutgers forced four turnovers vs. USF – the first time in a game with four turnovers forced since last season vs. Pitt.
• Rutgers has rushed for at least 145 yards in a game in all three games in 2012 – and four straight overall – the longest consecutive streak since 2009 (Howard, FIU, Maryland, Texas Southern).