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Scarlet Knights Game Preview - Norfolk State
  • Posted on September 02, 2013 12:10:34 PM
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  • NORFOLK STATE (0-1) at RUTGERS (0-1)
    Saturday, September 7 • 12:00 p.m. • CBS Sports Network
    High Point Solutions Stadium
    Piscataway, N.J.

    Radio: Rutgers IMG Sports Network
    (710-WOR; 1450-WCTC; 610-WIP)
    Live Stats: ScarletKnights.com

    Series: Rutgers leads 2-0

    The Game
    Rutgers hosts Norfolk State Saturday, September 7 in the 2013 home opener at High Point Solutions Stadium.
    Kickoff is set for 12:04 p.m. with live national television coverage on the CBS Sports Network. Jason Knapp (play-by-play) and former NFL tight end Christian Fauria (color) have the call. 
    Coverage on the Rutgers IMG Sports Network begins at 11 a.m. with Chris Carlin (play-by-play), Ray Lucas (color analyst), Eric LeGrand (color analyst) and Anthony Fucilli (sideline) calling the action. 
    Rutgers will wear all white uniforms for the home opener and is set to debut a new white helmet with a chrome block R logo.

    Series Information
    Rutgers is 2-0 all-time versus Norfolk State. The Scarlet Knights defeated the Spartans 59-0 in 2007 and 31-0 in 2010. The combined scores of 90-0 came with both games played in Piscataway.
    The last time the two schools met, Rutgers opened the 2010 season with a 31-0 win over the Spartans. 
    The Scarlet Knights are 9-0 all-time against MEAC competition (Howard, Morgan State, Norfolk State, North Carolina Central) and have outscored MEAC opponents 367-36 in the nine victories.

    With a Victory
    Rutgers would win its fourth straight home opener. The Scarlet Knights defeated Howard 26-0 in 2012, North Carolina Central 48-0 in 2011 and Norfolk State 31-0 in 2010. 
    Rutgers would win for the 99th time on a home opener. The Scarlet Knights are 98-36-10 in home openers, including a 9-4 mark since 2000. The Scarlet Knights have won three straight home openers by a combined score of 105-0. 
    The Scarlet Knights would capture their 10th straight victory versus FCS competition. The last loss to a FCS opponent for RU was a 35-24 setback to New Hampshire (9/11/04).

    Rutgers vs. the MEAC
    Rutgers is 9-0 all-time vs. schools from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). In the last seven meetings vs. MEAC opponents since 2006, Rutgers has outscored the opposition 303-14.

    Rutgers Against the MEAC
    Opponent (Date)        Result
    Howard (9/8/12)         W, 26-0
    North Carolina Central (9/1/11)          W, 48-0
    Norfolk State (9/2/10)            W, 31-0
    Howard (9/12/09)       W, 45-7
    Morgan State (9/27/08)           W, 38-0
    Norfolk State (9/15/07)          W, 59-0
    Howard (9/23/06)       W, 56-7
    Morgan State (11/18/72)         W, 37-14
    Morgan State (11/27/71)         W, 27-8

    Super Nova
    Gary Nova started the season with 348 yards passing and five touchdown passes at Fresno State (August 29). He set a school record for passing yardage and touchdown passes in a season-opener with his performance against the Bulldogs.
    The 348 yards passing rank No. 13 in Rutgers’ single-game history and Nova became only the second player in school history to have at least two five-touchdown games. Only Mike Teel (seven vs. Louisville, six vs. Pittsburgh) in 2008 has also had two games of at least five touchdown passes. Nova also threw five TD passes in the win vs. Arkansas in 2012.
    Nova already ranks sixth in school history with 4,596 career passing yards, 363 completions and 38 touchdowns. He needs 404 yards passing to become the sixth quarterback in RU history to reach the 5,000-yard passing plateau.

    More Nova Notes ...
    Gary Nova threw for 193 yards in the first half at Fresno State, the most in an opening half in his career.
    Nova threw for 348 yards versus the Bulldogs, eclipsing the 300-yard mark for the third time in his career. The 348 yards were the second most he has thrown for in a game. His career-best is 397 at Arkansas (Sept. 22, 2012).
    Nova threw five touchdown passes, tying his career high at Arkansas (Sept. 22, 2012).

    Offensive Fireworks
    Rutgers scored 51 points in the first game of the 2013 season at Fresno State. It marked the first time since December 4, 2008 that Rutgers eclipsed the 50-point mark in a game (63 vs. Louisville).
    RU rolled up 543 yards of total offense against Fresno State - the highest single-game total for the Scarlet Knights since 671 yards of total offense against the Cardinals in 2008.

    CARROOOOO ...
    Sophomore WR Leonte Carroo did something that no other player has done in 144 years of Rutgers football - catch three touchdown passes in his first career game at wide receiver. Carroo played in all 13 games in 2012, but was used on special teams.
    Carroo caught five passes for 135 yards and three scores against Fresno State. The three touchdown passes are tied for third in RU single-game history and he is just the fourth player in school history to catch at least three receiving touchdowns in a game.

    Get Out of the Way for Paul James
    Sophomore running back Paul James ran for the most yards by a player coming off the bench in school history with his 182-yard performance at Fresno State.
    James finished with career-highs in rushing attempts (22), rushing yards (182) and long run (65) against the Bulldogs. It was the fourth-highest single-game rushing total by a player in school history in the opening game of the season.

    Top Single-Game Rushing Totals in Season-Opener
    Player, Opponent (Date)       Rushing Yards
    Ray Rice at North Carolina (9/2/06)   201
    Henry Henderson at Cincinnati (9/5/87)         199
    Ray Rice vs. Buffalo (8/30/07)           184
    Paul James at Fresno State (8/29/13)           182

    Big Play Brandon
    Junior wide receiver Brandon Coleman has shown throughout his career the knack for the big play and finding the end zone. 
    The Maryland native has a career yards per reception average of 19.8 and 10 of his 18 career touchdown receptions have covered 30 yards or more. Coleman’s 10 receiving touchdowns in 2012 tied Marco Battaglia’s school record for single-season receiving touchdowns set in 1995. 
    Coleman is already tied for second in school history with 18 receiving touchdowns in 27 career games.

    RU Career Receiving Touchdown Leaders
    1. Tim Brown (2006-09)         20
    2. Brandon Coleman (2011-present)           18
     Mark Harrison (2009-12)       18
    4. Kenny Britt (2006-08)        17
    Chris Brantley (1990-93)        17
    6. Tiquan Underwood (2005-08)        16
    Marco Battaglia (1992-95)      16
    Tres Moses (2001-05) 16
    9. Brian Leonard (2003-06)    13
    Bob Simms (1957-59) 13

    Record-Setting Return for Janarion
    True freshman wide receiver Janarion Grant ran back a 100-yard kickoff return to score the first points of the season for Rutgers.    
    The 100-yard kickoff return tied a school record and Grant became the first true freshman in 144 years of football at Rutgers to record a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
    Only Grant and Nate Jones have recorded a 100-yard kickoff return in the Rutgers’ record books. Jones did it at Syracuse and at Tennessee in 2002.
    The 100-yard kickoff return for Grant was the first kick return for a touchdown for the Scarlet Knights since Jeremy Deering notched a 98-yard return against USF (Nov. 5, 2011).

    Recent Rutgers Kickoff Returns for a Touchdown
    100 – Janarion Grant (Aug. 29, 2013 at Fresno State)
    98 – Jeremy Deering (Nov. 5, 2011 vs. USF)
    98 – Devin McCourty (Oct. 31, 2009 at Connecticut)
    91 – Joe LeFeged (Dec. 5, 2009 vs. West Virginia)
    35 – Damaso Munoz (Dec. 19, 2009 vs. UCF)

    Welcome to Rutgers
    The following players made their first career start at Fresno State: DT Darius Hamilton, DE Djwany Mera, LB Steve Longa, DB Gareef Glashen, DB Ian Thomas, OL Keith Lumpkin, WR Ruhann Peele.
    Three true freshmen and six redshirt freshmen made their collegiate debut at Fresno State: WR Janarion Grant, LB Steve Longa, DB Nadir Barnwell, DB Ian Thomas, LB Davon Jacobs, FB Kevin Marquez, OL Chris Muller, WR Ruhann Peele, WR Andre Patton.

    This Week’s Opponent: Norfolk State
    Norfolk State, under the direction of ninth-year head coach Pete Adrian, brings a record of 0-1 to High Point Solutions Stadium Saturday against Rutgers. The Spartans began the season with a 23-6 loss at home to Maine last week.
    The Black Bears totaled 377 yards of total offense in the victory and rushed for 168 yards in the victory.
    Norfolk State yielded five sacks in the first game of the season and the Spartans averaged just 2.4 yards per attempt against Maine.
    In 2012, Norfolk State finished 4-7 overall. The Spartans return 51 lettermen and 13 starters from last season’s squad. 
    Junior linebacker and Florida transfer Lynden Trail ranked tied for eighth in the FCS in tackles-for-loss and tied for 58th in sacks last season. The Spartans had the No. 3 total defense in the FCS in 2012 (278 yards per game) and the top-ranked pass defense in the FCS (136.5 yards per game) in 2012.
    Adrian, a two-time MEAC Coach of the Year (2007, 2011), led NSU to its first MEAC title in 2011. He is the third-winningest coach in school history as NSU has had four straight top-10 defenses in the FCS.

    Man in the Middle from Saddle Brook
    Redshirt freshman middle linebacker Steve Longa earned his first career start at Fresno State in the season-opener. It also extended a streak going back to 2010 of having a Saddle Brook native as the starting MLB on the Rutgers’ defense.
    Current New England Patriot Steve Beauharnais started the last three years at middle linebacker. Both Beauharnais and Longa are from Saddle Brook.
    Longa led all players with 12 tackles in the Fresno State game.

    Thompson Moves to the R
    Senior defensive end Marcus Thompson moved to the R defensive end position in the off-season and made an instant impact in the first game of 2013. Thompson recorded a career-high seven tackles and set a personal single-game best with one sack against the Bulldogs.

    Deering on Defense
    Senior Jeremy Deering made the full-time transition to defense in 2013 after splitting time in 2012 at wide receiver and safety last year. In his first career start at free safety vs. Fresno State, Deering totaled a career-high six tackles.

    Sweet Lew
    Senior cornerback Lew Toler was immediately eligible after transferring to Rutgers over the summer. Toler graduated from Western Michigan and enrolled in a master’s program prior to the season. He started 36 of his last 37 games during his career for the  Broncos.
    In his season debut at Rutgers, Toler finished with five tackles at Fresno State. He also forced a fumble and recovered a fumble against the Bulldogs.

    What a Difference a Year Makes
    Redshirt freshman cornerback Ian Thomas has come a long way in one year “On the Banks.” Thomas spent his freshman year redshirting as a wide receiver before moving to cornerback during bowl practices last season.
    At the suggestion of then RU All-America cornerback and current New England Patriot Logan Ryan, Thomas made the move to the defensive side of the ball.
    He quickly made an impression in the spring on defense and secured a starting spot at cornerback. In the first game of the year at Fresno State, Thomas picked off his first career interception as a Scarlet Knight.

    Block Party
    Since 2009, Rutgers has led all schools nationally with 31 blocked kicks/punts. During that time span, RU has scored 11 touchdowns via special teams.
    Rutgers and UCLA tied for the national lead with eight blocked kicks/punts in 2012.

    NCAA Team Blocked Kick Leaders Since 2009
    1. Rutgers        31
    2. Fresno State            24

    Big Play Offense is Back
    Rutgers had four different plays of at least 55 yards against Fresno State. In 13 games in 2012, the Scarlet Knights had just eight such plays.

    Long Night on the Left Coast
    The Fresno State game took four hours and 26 minutes to complete in elapsed time. It was the first RU game to eclipse four hours since the double-overtime win at Syracuse (4:20) in 2011 and the longest in stat files going back to the 2000 season.
    The Scarlet Knights did not arrive home from the trip to Fresno until 10:45 a.m. ET the following morning.

    Conference Championship in Three Centuries
    Rutgers captured a share of its first Big East Championship after finishing the 2012 season 9-4 overall and 5-2 in the Big East. It also gave RU conference championships in three different centuries (1894 Middle States Football League Champions; 1958, 1960, 1961 University Division Champion of the Middle Atlantic Conference and 2012 BIG EAST). In its final season in the Big East, Rutgers defeated league opponents USF, Connecticut, Syracuse, Temple and Cincinnati.

    Pipeline to the NFL
    Rutgers had 15 players sign with NFL teams following the 2012 season, including a school-record seven selected in the NFL Draft.

    2013 NFL Draft Class
    Player                                     NFL Organization                 Rd.      Pick     
    Logan Ryan, CB                     New England Patriots             3          83
    Duron Harmon, FS                 New England Patriots             3          91
    Khaseem Greene, LB              Chicago Bears 4          117
    D.C. Jefferson, TE                  Arizona Cardinals                   7          219
    Jawan Jamison, RB                 Washington Redskins             7          228
    Steve Beauharnais, LB           New England Patriots             7          235
    Marcus Cooper, CB                San Francisco 49ers                7          252

    2013 Free Agent Signees   
    R.J. Dill, OT    Jacksonville Jaguars
    Mark Harrison, WR    Chicago Bears
    Tim Wright, WR         Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    Brandon Jones, CB     New England Patriots
    Ka’Lial Glaud, LB      Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    Scott Vallone, DT       New England Patriots
    Mason Robinson, CB  Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    Marvin Booker, LB     Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    Flood Announces 2013 Captains
    Kyle Flood announced the 2013 season captains as selected by members of the Rutgers football team. Senior defensive tackle Jamil Merrell, senior linebacker Jamal Merrell, junior wide receiver Brandon Coleman and junior quarterback Gary Nova were selected team captains.
    The Merrell brothers are the first brothers to serve as team captains in the same season for Rutgers since Gabe and George Ludlow 120 years ago. The Ludlow brothers were team captains in 1893.
    Three additional sets of brothers were tabbed Rutgers football captains, but not in the same year. Those captain combinations included Jason McCourty (2008) and Devin McCourty (2009), Bill Pickell (1982) and George Pickel (1985) and Clem Udovich (1985) and Pat Udovich (1989).

    Getting it Done in the Classroom
    The Rutgers football program has earned the 2012-13 BIG EAST Team Excellence Award, the conference office announced. It was the second-straight year the Scarlet Knights won the honor for football.
    RU was chosen as the BIG EAST’s football winner based on the 2012-13 grade-point average (GPA) of each student-athlete who appeared on the RU roster as of the last contest of the championship segment in each conference-sponsored sport.
    Rutgers football continues its established trend as one of the nation’s top programs in the classroom and on the playing field as the Scarlet Knights ranked tied for 11th nationally in Academic Progress Rate (APR), according to the latest multi-year APR figures released by the NCAA. RU was the lone state university to be ranked in the top 10 percent nationally in APR for the sixth-consecutive year. In addition, Rutgers was the only institution to win four bowl games while earning the APR honor in the top 10 percent over the previous six-year span.
    In February, 28 football players were named to the BIG EAST All-Academic Football Team.

    Coleman Nominated for AFCA Good Works Team
    Brandon Coleman has been nominated for the 2013 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team®. The award honors college football players at all levels of the sport for their selfless acts of giving back to the community and off-the-field achievements. A record 150 nominees have been put up for the AFCA Good Works Team®.
    Coleman has been heavily involved in the community since arriving on campus, participating in such events as Read Across America, Port Reading Saints Pop Warner, Metuchen Middle School Anti-Bullying Campaign, Athletes in Action, Urban Impact, Hurricane Irene cleanup and Special Olympics New Jersey. The junior also visited Haiti after its earthquake in 2010 and helped with the recovery efforts by taking part in the construction of a church and mentoring young children.
    “Volunteering and performing community service has been ingrained into me since a young age,” Coleman said. “My parents would take me to soup kitchens and we would go on school trips to help whenever we could. It has been a habit and I didn’t want to stop once I arrived at Rutgers. The feeling of helping others is truly rewarding. I plan on continuing to volunteer once I leave here as well.”
    On the field, Coleman was named to the All-BIG EAST Second Team after tying a school record with 10 touchdown receptions in 2012. He was tabbed a 2013 Preseason Third Team All-American by Sporting News and was named to the Preseason All-American Athletic Conference First Team by Phil Steele and Athlon.
    From the nominees submitted by sports information directors across the nation on behalf of their schools, a special voting panel consisting of former Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® members and prominent college football media members will select the 2013 Good Works Team.®  Comprised of 11 players from the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision and 11 players from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, Divisions II, III, and the NAIA, the final roster of 22 award recipients will be unveiled in September.

    Eric LeGrand to Have Jersey Number Retired
    Continuing to persevere and provide an inspiration to all, Eric LeGrand’s No. 52 will be retired by Rutgers football in a ceremony Sept. 14 at High Point Solutions Stadium. It will be the first number raised in the 144-year history of the program.
    “We’re excited to be able to do that for him and his family,“ head coach Kyle Flood said at the American Athletic Conference Kickoff in Newport, R.I. “It will be a great day, not just for Rutgers football, but for the LeGrand family and everybody that’s associated with us.
    “Through his career and now beyond it, where he’s still a huge and a daily part of our program while he still continues to work towards graduation, he is somebody who is special to us at Rutgers and special to me as a coach and a friend.”
    Rehabbing since suffering a career-ending injury in a game in 2010, LeGrand has set a goal of walking once again – inspiring many along the way. He regularly speaks to organizations about overcoming obstacles, and was presented the Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award at the ESPYs in 2012. LeGrand additionally enters his third season as a member of the Rutgers Radio Network and has a major presence on Twitter.
    “What an honor thank you @RFootball this means the world to me,” LeGrand tweeted.
    The number will be officially retired in a presentation against Eastern Michigan. The birthplace of college football, the Scarlet Knights have never set aside a number in program history.
    Flood added that once LeGrand walks again, Rutgers will bring back the number for special occasions.

    Coleman Named to Biletnikoff Award Watch List
    Brandon Coleman has been named to the 2013 Biletnikoff Award Preseason Watch List. Given annually to the outstanding receiver in college football, the award will be presented live on Dec. 12 on The Home Depot College Football Awards Show on ESPN.
    Coleman is coming off one of the best receiving seasons in Rutgers history in 2012, tying a school record with 10 touchdown grabs. The 2012 All-BIG EAST Second Team selection led the team with 718 receiving yards last season and ranks tied for fifth on the school’s all-time list with 16 career touchdown catches.

    Johnson, Lowery On Outland Trophy Watch List
    Junior offensive tackle Kaleb Johnson and senior guard Antwan Lowery have been named to the initial Outland Trophy Watch List, announced by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). The Outland Trophy is given annually to the nation’s best interior lineman.
    Johnson, one of 25 tackles on the preseason list, is a preseason All-American Athletic Conference selection by Athlon, Phil Steele and Sporting News. He started all 13 games in 2012, earning All-BIG EAST Second Team honors.
    Lowery garnered First Team All-BIG EAST recognition after earning the nod in every game of the 2012 season at left guard. One of 20 guards on the list, Lowery is a Preseason All-American Athletic Conference First Team selection by Athlon and Phil Steele.
    Johnson and Lowery each helped pave the way for a 1,000-yard rusher Jawan Jamison last season, while anchoring a line that allowed the eighth-fewest sacks in the nation.

    Jamal Merrell on Bednarik Award Watch List
    Jamal Merrell earned a spot on the 2013 Bednarik Award watch list, the Maxwell Football Club announced. The Bednarik Award has been presented to the College Defensive Player of the Year since 1995.
    It is the third preseason honor for Merrell, who also was named Phil Steele Preseason Second Team All-American Athletic Conference and Athlon Preseason All-Conference Third Team. He recorded 83 total tackles, 8.5 for loss and two blocked kicks in 13 starts as the strongside linebacker last season. Merrell picked up double-digit stops against Howard, Arkansas and Louisville.

    Rutgers Injury Report - Norfolk State Game
    Player Injury Game Status
    Johnathan Aiken         Ankle  Game-time decision
    Carlton Agudosi         Hamstring       Game-time decision
    Paul Carrezola Lower body    Game-time decision
    Andre Civil     Ankle  Game-time decision
    Bryant Gross-Armiento          Hamstring       Out
    Dallas Hendrikson      Lower leg        Probable
    Max Issaka      Shoulder          Out
    Myles Jackson Shoulder          Out
    Quanzell Lambert       Shoulder          Probable
    Jamil Merrell   Lower leg        Game time decision
    Julian Pinnix-Odrick   Knee    Out

     

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