PISCATAWAY, N.J. (October 6, 2012) – Behind Jawan Jamison’s (Stark, Fla.) sixth-straight 100-yard rushing game and a stingy defensive effort that forced five turnovers, the No. 21/22 Rutgers football team (5-0, 2-0) dropped visiting Connecticut, 19-3, Saturday afternoon at High Point Solutions Stadium.
The Scarlet Knights moved to 5-0 for just the seventh time in school history, and improved to 2-0 in the BIG EAST for the third time since joining the conference in 1991.
“If you could bottle today’s game you’d see Rutgers football,” said head coach Kyle Flood. “We had a 100-yard rusher, we were able to protect the quarterback … we played tremendous run defense and we made some terrific plays in the kicking game.”
Senior Wayne Warren (Salisbury, Md.) iced the victory with a 25-yard interception return for a touchdown with 3:44 remaining in the contest, giving RU a 19-3 lead after a missed extra point. Senior Khaseem Greene (Elizabeth, N.J.) picked off Chandler Whitmer again on UConn’s next drive before senior Marcus Cooper (Bloomfield, Conn.) recorded Whitmer’s fourth interception on a last second heave to the end zone.
Jamison rushed 28 times for 110 yards in the win, as sophomore Brandon Coleman (Accokeek, Md.) led RU receivers with six receptions and 71 yards. Senior Mark Harrison (Stratford, Conn.) scored the only offensive touchdown of the day for the Scarlet Knights on a 14-yard pass from sophomore QB Gary Nova (Elmwood Park, N.J.). Nova finished the game 18-for-27 with 157 yards and a touchdown pass.
“We want to run the football,” Flood said. “I believe that’s where it starts and where it ends, and even that touchdown to Mark Harrison — that was a run play with an option on the outside to throw the ball. You’ve seen that a couple times this year, where a run play turns into a pass, which turns into a score. That’s the way we want to play football.”
Two early UConn (3-3, 0-1) turnovers allowed RU to take a 6-0 lead before the end of the first quarter. Freshman Kyle Federico (Ponte Verdra, Fla.) connected on a 45-yard attempt late in the quarter following an interception by junior Logan Ryan (Berlin, N.J.). Ryan stepped in front of an underthrown pass from UConn QB Chandler Whitmer with 7:01 remaining in the first quarter, giving the Scarlet Knights possession on their own 45-yard line.
On the following kickoff, freshman Tejay Johnson (Egg Harbor, N.J.) forced Nick Williams to fumble on the 22-yard line, allowing sophomore Jamal Merrell (Bear, Del.) to fall on the opportunity and give the ball back to the Scarlet Knights.
A holding call negated an 18-yard Jamison scamper minutes later, but Federico converted a 31-yard field goal with 0:28 seconds left in the quarter to bump RU’s lead to 6-0.
RU got the ball back its own 24-yard line with left 10:22 in the second quarter following a near punt block. A 20-yard run by Jamison and a 10-yard completion from Nova to Coleman moved the squad into UConn territory, setting up another Federico attempt, this time from 50 yards out. The Huskies leaked through on the kick, as Shamar Stephen was able to get a hand the RU offering. The ball rattled back to the Scarlet Knights’ 47-yard line, where UConn’s Sio Moore recovered with 7:12 on the clock.
The Huskies responded with a 19-yard field goal following the turnover on a nine-play, 46-yard drive with 2:39 remaining in the half. The kick followed a huge goal line stand from the RU defense on their own two-yard line. UConn had an opportunity to knot the game going into halftime, but Chad Christen’s 51-yard attempt sailed wide right.
On UConn’s first possession, the RU defense forced a three-and-out to put the ball back in Nova’s hands. The sophomore capped a nine-play, 84-yard drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Harrison. The score gave RU a 13-3 advantage with 9:09 remaining in the third quarter. Jamison rushed four times for 44 yards on the drive to set up the touchdown strike.
The Scarlet Knights got the ball back on the one-yard line with 14:45 remaining in the fourth quarter after a stop and UConn punt. Nova and the offense kept the ball moving and clock running on the drive, moving all the way to the UConn 35-yard line before pinning the Huskies on their own one-yard line with 7:17 remaining. A fourth down stop gave the ball back to RU, which ran more time off the clock before intercepting Whitmer three times in the game’s final four minutes.
RU returns to host BIG EAST-rival Syracuse (2-3, 1-0) next Saturday at noon at High Point Solutions Stadium.
Follow Rutgers Athletics on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/RutgersAthletics) and Twitter (@RUAthletics) for all of the latest news and updates. Fans can receive timely information, including special offers and giveaways throughout the year on our social media outlets along with http://www.ScarletKnights.com.
POST GAME NOTES
• Rutgers (5-0, 2-0 BIG EAST) defeated Connecticut (3-3, 0-1 BIG EAST) 19-3 Saturday afternoon to improve the Scarlet Knights to 5-0 on the season. RU is 5-0 for the first time since 2006 and just the third time since 1976.
• Rutgers is 5-0 for just the seventh time in 143 years of college football.
• Rutgers has won four of the last five games vs. UConn and lead the all-time series 22-10. It was the fewest points for UConn in a game vs. RU since 1978 (10-0 RU win).
• The Scarlet Knights won their first game as a ranked team since 2007 with today’s 19-3 victory.
• Rutgers is 2-0 in the BIG EAST for the third time since conference play began in 1991. RU also started 2-0 in the league in 2011 and 2006.
• Rutgers has outscored its opponents 38-3 in the third quarter of games in 2012.
• Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood became the first RU head coach since John Bateman in 1960 to start his coaching career “On the Banks” 5-0. He is just the second coach in school history to start his coaching career at RU 5-0.
• Kyle Flood is one of twofirst-year coaches to be undefeated in 2012. Urban Meyer (Ohio State) is the other.
• Rutgers is 43-4 since 2000 when limiting the opposition to less than 300 yards of total offense. UConn finished with 244 yards of total offense. RU is 3-0 in 2012 when holding the opponent to less than 300 yards.
• Rutgers has not allowed an opponent to rush for 100 yards in nine straight games. The last player to rush for 100 yards against the Scarlet Knights was USF ‘s Darrell Scott (100 yards) on November 5, 2011.
• Rutgers limited UConn to 53 yards rushing – the fifth straight opponent in 2012 to rush for less than 100 yards in a game. RU has held the last six opponents to less than 100 yards rushing in a game. RU entered the game with the nation’s top rushing defense (62.5 rushing yards per game).
• Sophomore running back Jawan Jamison (Starke, Fla.) rushed for 110 yards – the sixth straight game he has topped the century mark. The last RU player to rush for 100 yards in six straight games was Ray Rice in 2007 with eight straight 100-yard performances.
• Jamison’s streak of six straight 100-yard games is the fourth-best streak in RU history. He joins Ray Rice and “JJ” Jennings as the only players in school history with at least six consecutive 100-yard rushing games.
• Jamison has rushed for 100 yards in each of the season’s first five games – the longest streak for a RU player since Ray Rice started 2006 with five consecutive 100-yard games. He finished the game with 129 all-purpose yards.
• Senior linebacker Khaseem Greene (Elizabeth, N.J.) finished with eight tackles to move into ninth place in RU history with 300 career tackles. He moved past Devraun Thompson (297 career tackles from 2003-06) into ninth. Greene is the ninth player in RU history to record 300 career tackles.
• Senior wide receiver Mark Harrison (Stratford, Conn.) caught his 15th career touchdown reception in the third quarter vs. UConn. He is alone for seventhplace in school history in career receiving touchdowns.
• Harrison has enjoyed playing against the Huskies in his career. The Connecticut native has 10 receptions for 165 yards and three touchdowns in four games vs. UConn.
• Senior defensive back Wayne Warren (Salisbury, Md.) scored his first career touchdown on a 25-yard interception return for a score in the fourth quarter.