PISCATAWAY, N.J. (November 10, 2012) – With two blocked field goals and opportune plays on the defensive side, the No. 23 Rutgers football team (8-1, 4-0) got back to its winning ways Saturday afternoon at High Point Solutions Stadium with a 28-7 victory over visiting Army.
A 73-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown from senior safety Duron Harmon (Magnolia, Del.) with :40 seconds to go put the final stamp on the win. The touchdown was Harmon’s second defensive score of the season.
“I’m really excited about the win,” said head coach Kyle Flood. “As I said earlier in the week, there’s not a whole lot of carry over today with what we’re going to have to do next week but I certainly am really pleased with the defensive effort in the second half. It was just tremendous.”
Sophomore Brandon Coleman (Accokeek, Md.) hauled in two touchdown receptions in the victory, while senior linebacker Khaseem Greene (Elizabeth, N.J.) spearheaded RU’s defense with a career-high 22 tackles and a forced fumble. Sophomore cornerback Lorenzo Waters (Coram,N.Y.) notched a career-high 16 tackles and his first career forced fumble.
Sophomore QB Gary Nova (Elmwood Park, N.J.) was an efficient 14-for-17 in the win with 123 yards and a touchdown.
The win improved the Scarlet Knights to their best record since starting the 2006 season 9-0. Flood became the second coach in school history to win eight of his first nine games, joining John Bateman, whose squad started the 1960 season 8-1.
Army (2-8) made the most of its first possession, taking the ball 76 yards in 16 plays for a touchdown. A 26-yard run by Larry Dixon on third and five from RU’s 32-yardline set the Black Knights up for a first and goal opportunity. Three plays later quarterback Trent Steelman, who rushed four times for 16 yards on the drive, spun out of a tackle and fell across the goal line for a one-yard score. The touchdown gave Army a 7-0 lead with 8:34 remaining in the first quarter.
The Scarlet Knights punted the ball back to Army four minutes later following two drive-stalling penalties, one of which negated a 26-yard run by Jamison. The Black Knights used their rushing attack to get back into RU territory on their next drive, moving 45 yards on six rushes to get into field goal range.
Senior cornerback Marcus Cooper (Bloomfield, Conn.) blocked the 43-yard field goal attempt — the first of two blocks on the day — keeping the RU deficit at 7-0 and giving the Scarlet Knights possession on their own 26-yardline with 1:26 left in the quarter.
“I think blocking kicks is part of our culture and something we want to do each week,” Flood said. “It’s something I think we have a chance to do every week. I think they’re big plays in the game and anytime you can keep points off the board it helps.”
RU turned the block into its first points of the game, as Jamison rushed the ball eight times for 46 yards to get the offense into the red zone. Jamison, who finished the day with 90 yards on 22 carries, capped the 11-play, 74-yard drive with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Coleman on a crafty play from scrimmage. The score made it 7-7 with 11:43 remaining in the half and upped Coleman’s team-leading touchdown total to seven on the season.
Army found its way into RU territory again on its next two drives of the half, but opportune defensive and special teams efforts got the Scarlet Knights off the field. Junior cornerback Logan Ryan (Berlin, N.J.) recovered a Steelman fumble, forced by Waters, on RU’s 13-yardline at the 6:33 mark to stop the driving Black Knights.
With the second half winding down, Army set up for its second field goal of the game, this time from 30 yards out. Sophomore Jamal Merrell (Bear, Del.) recorded his fifth career block on the play, which also marked RU’s nation-leading 31st field goal block since 2009.
Both squads traded possessions throughout the third quarter before a Greene forced Army into its second fumble of the game with 1:47 remaining in the period. Senior defensive end Marvin Booker (Piscataway, N.J.) fell on the fumble for RU, which mobilized a 34-yarddrive that ended with a tipped interception by Nova, his 10th of the season. The turnover gave Army possession on its own 20-yardline with 13:21 left in the fourth quarter.
The Don Bosco product redeemed himself minutes later, when the Scarlet Knights took advantage of a short field to take a 14-7 lead with 8:49 to go in regulation. Following a one-yard Army punt, RU retained possession on the Black Knights’ 45-yardline.
After three consecutive rushes by Jamison, Nova found a streaking Coleman deep up the right sideline for a 31-yard touchdown strike. The touchdown was Coleman’s second of the game and moved him to 8th all-time on RU’s career list with 14 touchdown receptions.
Sophomore running back Savon Huggins (Jackson, N.J.) bumped the Scarlet Knights lead to 21-7 on his second rushing touchdown of the season with 6:28 remaining in the quarter. RU started its drive from Army’s one-yard line after an errant snap over punter Chris Boldt’s head was downed just shy of the goal line by the Black Knights.
The miscue allowed Huggins to scamper into the end zone from two yards out before Harmon iced the Scarlet Knights’ eighth victory of the season with a 73-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown.
• No. 23 Rutgers (8-1, 4-0 BIG EAST) defeated Army (2-8) 28-7 Saturday afternoon at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway. The Scarlet Knights are off to their best start since 2006 (9-0) with the win.
• Rutgers has won nine straight games vs. Army and 13 of the previous 15 meetings in the series. RU now leads the all-time series 21-18.
• Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood tied the school record for single-season wins by a first-year head coach with his eighth of the season. He is tied in the record book with John Bateman (8-1, 1960) and William Reynolds (8-6, 1891).
• Flood is also the second coach in RU history to win eight of his first nine games “On the Banks”, along with Bateman.
• Senior LB Khaseem Greene (Elizabeth, N.J.) finished with a career-high 22 tackles (6 solo, 16 assists) in the win. It was the fourth-highest total by a player in the nation in 2012.
NCAA Single-Game Tackle Leaders in 2012
1. Albert Rosette, Nevada 25 tackles vs. Air Force(10/26/12)
2. Marvin Burdette, UAB 24 tackles vs. Tulane (10/27/12)
Nick Clancy, Boston College 24 tackles vs. Northwestern (9/15/12)
4. Khaseem Greene, Rutgers 22 tackles vs. Army (11/10/12)
Dray Bell, Nevada 22 tackles vs. Air Force (10/26/12)
• Greene tied for the fifth-best single-game tackle total in BIG EAST history today vs. Army. He is the first Scarlet Knight since Dax Strohmeyer (11/13/99) against Syracuse to eclipse the 20-tackle mark in a game. Strohmeyer had 23 tackles vs. the Orange.
BIG EAST Single-Game Tackle Leaders
1. 25 Frank Chamberlain, Boston College vs. Syracuse, 10/30/99
2. 23 Dax Strohmeyer, Rutgers vs. Syracuse, 11/13/99
Taylor Suman, Temple at Syracuse, 11/6/99
Nate Webster, Miami at West Virginia, 10/24/98
5. 22 Khaseem Greene, Rutgers vs. Army, 11/10/12
Lamar Myles, Louisville vs. Kentucky, 9/15/07
Grant Wiley, West Virginia vs. Syracuse, 11/10/01
Rick Sherrod, West Virginia vs. Syracuse, 11/10/01
Ramon Walker, Pittsburgh vs. Miami, 9/27/01
• Greene recorded the third-best single-game tackle total in RU history in the win over Army.
Rutgers Single-Game Tackle Leaders
1. 27 Tyronne Stowe vs. West Virginia, 11/8/86
2. 23 Dax Strohmeyer vs. Syracuse, 11/13/99
3. 22 Khaseem Greene vs. Army, 11/10/12
• Sophomore RB Jawan Jamison (Starke, Fla.) became the first player since Mohamed Sanu in 2010 to throw, catch and run for a touchdown in the same season after he threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Coleman (Accokeek, Md.) in the second quarter today. Jamison finished with 90 yards rushing on 22 carries (4.1 yards per carry).
• Rutgers blocked two field goals to increase its season total to eight, which leads the nation. RU has blocked 31 kicks since 2009, which is also the most of any school in the country.
• Junior LB Jamal Merrell (Bear, Del.) blocked his fifth career kick with his blocked field goal vs. Army. Senior CB Marcus Cooper (Bloomfield, Conn.) blocked his second career kick with his first-half blocked field goal.
• Rutgers held the nation’s No. 1 rushing offense to 282 yards rushing, 93 yards below Army’s season average. Rutgers is 11-2 vs. triple option teams since 2001.
• Rutgers forced a turnover for the 49th time in the last 53 games. The Scarlet Knights have forced a turnover in 12 straight games, totaling 29 takeaways over the 12-game stretch. RU forced three Army turnovers.
• Coleman finished the game with three receptions for 53 yards and two touchdowns. He moved into eighth place in RU history with 14 career touchdown receptions in 22 career games. Coleman’s eight touchdown receptions in 2012 place him in a tie for fifth place in RU single-season history.
• Four RU defensive players finished with a combined 64 tackles as Greene (22), sophomore SS Lorenzo Waters (16), senior LB Steve Beauharnais (14) and senior DT Scott Vallone (12) all equaled or set a career-high in tackles against the Black Knights.
Player Tackles vs. Army Previous Career-High
Khaseem Greene 22 17 vs. USF (11/5/11)
Lorenzo Waters 16 6 at Tulane (9/1/12)
Steve Beauharnais 14 9, four times
Scott Vallone 12 12 vs. Navy (10/15/11)
• Army was 3-of-5 on fourth down conversions, becoming the first team this season to convert on fourth down against Rutgers. Coming into the game, RU was the only team in the nation to not allow a fourth down conversion in 2012 (0-for-7).