CINCINNATI (7-2, 4-1 AAC) at RUTGERS (5-3, 2-2 AAC)
Saturday, November 16 • 12:00 p.m. • ESPNews
High Point Solutions Stadium
Radio: Rutgers IMG Sports Network
(710-WOR; 1450-WCTC; 610-WIP)
Live Stats: ScarletKnights.com
Series: First Meeting
• Rutgers (5-3, 2-2) looks for its sixth victory of the season and to become bowl-eligible for the eighth time in nine seasons Saturday as the Scarlet Knights host Cincinnati (7-2, 4-1).
• ESPNews will televise the game at noon with Beth Mowins (play-by-play), Joey Galloway (color analyst) and Paul Carcaterra (sideline) on 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 looks to capture its third straight victory in the series Saturday against the Bearcats. RU leads the all-time series 9-8-1.
• The last time Rutgers won three consecutive games against Cincinnati was a four-game winning streak from 1984-88. It would mark just the second three-game winning streak vs. Cincinnati.
• Cincinnati has scored just six points in the last two meetings against Rutgers. It was the first time in series history Rutgers held Cincinnati without a touchdown in consecutive seasons. Rutgers defeated Cincinnati 20-3 in 2011 in Piscataway and 10-3 last year at Nippert Stadium.
Looking to Go Bowling
• Rutgers would move to 6-3 on the season with a win Saturday against Cincinnati. It would put the Scarlet Knights in position to play in a bowl game for the eighth time in nine years.
• Rutgers is 5-3 all-time in bowl games and has won five of its last six bowl games. Last season, RU lost in overtime 13-10 to Virginia Tech in the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando.
Possible Return for James
• Rutgers sophomore running back Paul James returned to practice last week and could return to play Saturday. James suffered a lower leg injury in the Arkansas victory and has missed the last four games.
• Despite the lost time, James still ranks fourth in the conference in rushing.
• James leads Rutgers with 573 rushing yards on the season. He also leads the team in rushing touchdowns (6) and yards per carry (7.3).
This and That ...
• Rutgers is the only school in the nation to post a shutout in each of the last eight seasons.
• Rutgers is 46-5 since 2000 when holding opponents to less than 300 yards of total offense.
• The Scarlet Knights are 35-9 since 2006 when rushing for 150 yards or more in a game.
• Since 2000, the Scarlet Knights are 47-18 when going over the 150-yard mark on the ground.
• Rutgers finished with 273 yards rushing in the 38-0 victory over Norfolk State. It was the most yards rushing in a game by the Scarlet Knights since 292 against Ball State in the 2008 International Bowl.
• Since 2000, Rutgers is 46-13 when holding the opponent below 100 yards rushing in a game.
• Since 2000, Rutgers is 22-3 when limiting the opponent to less than 50 yards rushing in a game.
• Nine true freshmen have seen action already this season, with cornerback Nadir Barnwell becoming the first to make a start versus Arkansas. A total of three true freshmen have started at cornerback this season for Rutgers (Barnwell, Anthony Cioffi, Delon Stephenson).
• Rutgers is the only school in the nation to have two true freshmen cornerbacks start in the same game this season.
• Sixteen different players have made their first career start this season, with four starting all eight games so far (Hamilton, Longa, Lumpkin, Mera).
• The longest punt return last season was 22 yards. True freshman Janarion Grant posted returns of 58 and 47 yards versus Arkansas.
• Eight of the top 16 crowds in stadium history have happened since the beginning of the 2012 season.
Tough Against the Run
One staple of the Rutgers defense over the last decade has been its ability to stop the run. The Scarlet Knights are 11th nationally in rushing defense allowing 104.3 yards per game.
NCAA Rushing Defense Leaders
School Rushing Yards Per Game
1. Michigan State 43.4
2. Louisville 78.0
3. Ohio State 88.2
4. Virginia Tech 95.2
5. Alabama 95.3
6. Cincinnati 96.2
7. East Carolina 96.7
8. Wisconsin 98.4
9. Stanford 99.2
10. Georgia Tech 103.4
11. Rutgers 104.3
Last season, Rutgers ranked sixth nationally in rushing defense (97.2 yards per game). The Scarlet Knights have also finished in the top 20 in rushing defense in 2009 (15th, 103.2 yards per game) and in 2006 (17th, 101.0 yards per game).
More on Stopping the Run
• Rutgers is second in the nation in opponent rushing yards per carry on first down (2.7) and has held opponents to 362 yards on first down (No. 3 nationally).
• Rutgers is tied for fifth in the country in fourth quarter rushing defense in 2013. RU’s opponents have combined to rush for 146 yards on 65 carries in the fourth quarter this season. In all, RU’s opponents have averaged 2.3 yards per carry in the fourth quarter in 2013.
• Rutgers is seventh nationally in second half/overtime rushing defense. The Scarlet Knights have yielded just 3.1 yards per carry and a total of 397 yards rushing in the second half and overtime in 2013.
After ranking near the bottom of the national rankings in scoring offense and total offense over the last four years, Rutgers has found its way on offense in 2013.
The Scarlet Knights are scoring almost 10 points more per game in 2013. It is the first time since 2007 that Rutgers has averaged more than 30 points per game.
Total Offense/Scoring Offense Comparisons
Year, Category (Avg. per game) National Rank
2013, Total Offense (401.8) 72
2013, Scoring Offense (30.9) 54
2012, Total Offense (329.9) 104
2012, Scoring Offense (21.5) 96
2011, Total Offense (339.0) 99
2011, Scoring Offense (26.4) 65
2010, Total Offense (294.2) 114
2010, Scoring Offense (20.8) 101
2009, Total Offense (326.3) 97
2009, Scoring Offense (28.9) 52
2008, Total Offense (398.4) 39
2008, Scoring Offense (29.0) 39
2007, Total Offense (449.3) 18
2007, Scoring Offense (32.7) 33
2006, Total Offense (345.1) 58
2006, Scoring Offense (29.7) 22
Who will win the battle defending the run?
Two of the nation’s top 11 rushing defenses will take the field Saturday at High Point Solutions Stadium. Cincinnati boasts the country’s No. 6 rushing defense (96.2) while Rutgers enters the game ranked 11th nationally (104.3).
Ground Game Continues to Improve
Rutgers is averaging 3.9 yards per carry in 2013; its highest yards per carry average since 2007. Only seven times since 1990 has a Rutgers team averaged more than 4.0 yards per carry in a season.
The Scarlet Knights have scored 12 rushing touchdowns in 2013 - double of their total amount for all of 2012 (6).
RU Team Yards Per Carry Average (Since 1990)
Year Yards per carry
1. 1993 5.4
2. 2007 4.8
3. 2006 4.7
3. 1992 4.7
5.. 1994 4.4
6. 1995 4.3
6. 2005 4.3
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. 14 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 fifth in school history with 6,130 career passing yards and 473 completions and third with 50 touchdowns. He is the fifth quarterback in RU history to reach the 6,000-yard passing plateau.
Rutgers Career Touchdown Pass Leaders
Player Touchdown Passes
1. Mike Teel (2005-08) 59
2. Ryan Hart (2002-05) 52
3. Gary Nova (2011-present) 50
4. Ray Lucas (1992-95) 43
5. Mike McMahon (1997-00) 41
Scott Erney (1986-89) 41
Rutgers Career Passing Yards Leaders
1. Mike Teel (2005-08) 9,383
2. Ryan Hart (2002-05) 8,482
3. Scott Erney (1986-89) 7,188
4. Mike McMahon (1997-00) 6,608
5. Gary Nova (2011-present) 6,130
6. Ray Lucas (1992-95) 5,896
Rutgers Career Completions Leaders
1. Ryan Hart (2002-05) 735
2. Mike Teel (2005-08) 661
3. Scott Erney (1986-89) 614
4. Ray Lucas (1992-95) 514
5. Mike McMahon (1997-00) 482
6. Gary Nova (2011-present) 473
Rutgers Single-Season Touchdown Pass Leaders
Player Touchdown Passes
1. Mike Teel (2008) 25
2. Gary Nova (2012) 22
3. Mike Teel (2007) 20
4. Ryan Hart (2005) 18
4. Mike McMahon (2000) 18
6. Gary Nova (2013) 17
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 are the third 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).
• Nova had a career-high 27 completions in the Temple win while also netting a season-best 371 yards (second best yardage of his career).
• Nova’s three passing touchdowns against Temple brought his career total to 50, nine shy of the program record.
• It was Nova’s fifth comeback win when trailing in the fourth quarter or overtime (2011: Syracuse, Navy; 2013: Arkansas, SMU, Temple) and first on a two-minute drill.
• Nova’s 371 passing yards against Temple were the eighth-best total in RU single-game history.
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.
The Edison native ranks ninth nationally and first in the conference with nine receiving touchdowns in 2013. Carroo leads the nation with six touchdown receptions in the fourth quarter and is second nationally with eight touchdown receptions in the second half of games and overtime.
Carroo is tied for third in RU single-season history with nine receiving touchdowns in 2013.
RU Single-Season Receiving Touchdown Leaders
Player (Year) Touchdowns
1. Brandon Coleman (2012) 10
1. Marco Battaglia (1995) 10
3. Leonte Carroo (2013) 9
3. Mark Harrison (2010) 9
3. Tim Brown (2009) 9
3. Bob Simms (1958) 9
7. Kenny Britt (2007) 8
7. Reggie Funderburk (1994) 8
The Glassboro Express
Sophomore running back Paul James is still fourth in the conference with 573 rushing yards. James has missed the last four games with a lower leg injury.
He would rank fourth nationally in rushing yards per game (143.3 yards per game), but does not have enough rushing attempts to qualify. The first-year starter is averaging 7.4 yards per carry and is just one of five players in the country with four runs of 50 yards or longer.
Big Play James Notes ...
• Paul James found the end zone three times in the Eastern Michigan victory; giving him six touchdowns in two games. Rutgers had six rushing touchdowns for the 2012 season.
• James was the first Scarlet Knight since Ray Rice in 2007 to score at least three touchdowns in two consecutive games. Rice had three touchdowns against Louisville and four touchdowns in final collegiate game against Ball State.
• James was the first player to have four rushes of at least 50 yards in a season in the 2000s. The last RU player with at least two rushes of 50 yards or more was Rice in 2006 with two.
• James’ four rushes of 50 yards or more are more than the previous three seasons combined. RU had one rushing play of 50 yards or longer in 2012, 2011 and 2010.
• Since 2000, Rutgers has had multiple 50-yard runs in a season four times: 2013 (4), 2009 (2), 2006 (2) and 2005 (2).
• James ran for the most yards by a player coming off the bench in school history with his 182-yard performance at Fresno State in the 2013 opener.
• James finished with 22 rushing attempts for 182 yards 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.
• James was the fourth player in Rutgers history to post multiple games of 180 yards or more in the same season. He joins Ray Rice (2007, 2006), Terrell Willis (1993) and “JJ” Jennings (1973) in the record books.
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
Memorable First Career Start
Paul James scored three touchdowns in his first career start in Rutgers’ 38-0 victory over Norfolk State. On his mother’s birthday, James found the end zone for the first time in his career.
True freshman running back Justin Goodwin rushed for a career-high 161 yards and two rushing touchdowns in his first career start against Houston. Goodwin ripped off the most yards by a true freshman in a game since Ray Rice in 2005.
Player, Opponent Att.-Yards-TD
Terrell Willis at Army (10-16-93) 37-221-4
Savon Huggins at Cincinnati (11-17-12) 41-179-0
Justin Goodwin vs. Houston (10-26-13) 31-161-2
Jourdan Brooks at Navy (9-20-08) 22-134-2
Paul James vs. Norfolk State (9-7-13) 18-119-3
“JJ” Jennings vs. Colgate (11-20-71) 21-108-3
Bruce Presley vs. WVU (11-14-92) 27-105-0
Kordell Young vs. Fresno State (9-1-08) 26-94-0
Mason Robinson vs. UNC (9-11-08) 16-82-0
Joe Martinek vs. Louisville (12-4-08) 18-57-0
Ray Rice at Illinois (9-3-05) 12-55-0
Jawan Jamison at Syracuse (10-1-11) 24-48-0
Brian Leonard vs. Buffalo (8-30-03) * 6-11-0
* started at fullback
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.
The Scarlet Knights scored 28 points or more in each of the first five games to start the season for the first time in school history in 2013.
Rutgers is averaging 30.9 points per game - its highest scoring average since the 2007 season in Piscataway.
Take it to the House
Rutgers is 14th nationally in kickoff returns with an average return of 25.2 yards. The Scarlet Knights are one of seven teams nationally with two kickoff returns for a touchdown this year.
Rutgers is one of six schools in the country with two kickoff returns of 90 yards or more in 2013.
In addition to returning kickoffs well, the Scarlet Knights are 12th nationally in kickoff coverage, allowing just 18.1 yards per kick return.
True freshman wide receiver Janarion Grant ran back a 100-yard kickoff return to score the first points of the season for Rutgers at Fresno State.
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).
Senior Quron Pratt scored on a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the victory over Eastern Michigan. Both Pratt and Grant scored a touchdown on the first kickoff return of their careers, respectively.
Rutgers has three players on its roster with career kickoff returns for touchdowns - Grant, Pratt and Jeremy Deering.
Recent Rutgers Kickoff Returns for a Touchdown
99 - Quron Pratt (Sept. 14, 2013 vs. Eastern Michigan)
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)
Nation’s Leader Among Freshmen
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 leads all freshmen nationally with 10.0 tackles per game in 2013. The New Jersey product has three games with 12-plus tackles this season.
In all, Longa has 80 tackles on the year, the most of any freshmen nationally.
Longa ranks 17th nationally in tackles per game and fourth in the conference.
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 19.6 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 tied for second in school history with 18 receiving touchdowns.
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
Senior defensive end Marcus Thompson has become a force in his first season playing the R position in the Rutgers defense. Thompson is sixth in the conference in sacks this season.
Thompson picked up at least one sack in the third straight game in the 28-10 win over Eastern Michigan. He was the first player since Jamaal Westerman in 2007 to achieve the feat. Westerman totaled five sacks against Cincinnati, Syracuse and USF.
This Week’s Opponent: Cincinnati
Head coach Tommy Tuberville guides the Bearcats into Piscataway Saturday with an overall record of 7-2, including a 4-1 mark in conference play. Cincinnati defeated SMU 28-25 last week at home.
In addition to the SMU win, the Bearcats have also defeated Purdue (42-7), Northwestern State (66-9), Miami of Ohio (14-0), Temple (38-20), Connecticut (41-16) and Memphis (34-21). Cincinnati’s only two losses of the season came against Illinois (45-17) and USF (26-20).
The Bearcats bring one of the nation’s most balanced teams on offense and defense to High Point Solutions Stadium this week.
UC is 32nd nationally in total offense (463.1), 26th in passing (283.8), 58th in rushing (179.3) and 43rd in scoring (33.3). The Bearcats lead the league in rushing.
The Bearcats own the nation’s No. 8 total defense (299.0) and allow just 96.2 rushing yards per game (No. 6 nationally). UC is 14th in scoring defense (18.8) and 17th in passing yardage allowed (202.8).
Quarterback Brendan Kay leads the nation in completion percentage (74.1) and ranks 11th nationally in pass efficiency.
Since 2009, Rutgers has led all schools nationally with 34 blocked kicks/punts. During that time span, RU has scored 14 touchdowns via special teams.
Senior LB Jamal Merrell blocked the seventh kick of his career with a blocked field goal against Houston. On the season, Rutgers is tied for fourth in the nation with three blocked kicks.
Rutgers and UCLA tied for the national lead with eight blocked kicks in 2012.
NCAA Team Blocked Kick Leaders Since 2009
1. Rutgers 34
2. Fresno State 25
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.
The triple overtime win at SMU lasted four hours and thirty-four minutes. The 3OT win marked the first overtime win since RU downed USF, 20-17, in the first overtime on Nov. 5, 2011.
Rutgers competed in only one other three overtime game in its history at No. 15 West Virginia on Dec. 2, 2006 (41-39 loss).
The Scarlet Knights are 5-6 all-time in overtime contests.
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 Pickel (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 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.
Kroft Named National Tight End of the Week
The John Mackey Award (www.johnmackeyaward.com) named Tyler Kroft (Downingtown, Pa.) of Rutgers as John Mackey Tight End of the Week on September 25. The sophomore recorded six receptions for 133 yards and a touchdown to help guide Rutgers to 21 unanswered points in a 28-24 victory over Arkansas. Down 10-0, Kroft got Rutgers on the board with his second quarter touchdown reception and he also caught a 42 yard pass late in the game which was pivotal to the fourth quarter comeback win.
Kroft finished with career-highs in receptions (six) and receiving yards (133). He was the first RU tight end since Clark Harris in the 2006 Texas Bowl to post 100 yards receiving in a game.
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 - Cincinnati Game
Player Injury Game Status
Brandon Arcidiacono Shoulder Out
Sam Bergen Ankle Out
Betim Bujari Ankle Doubtful
Leonte Carroo Lower body Probable
Jeff Gignac Hamstring Out
Justin Goodwin Hamstring Doubtful
Bryant Gross-Armiento Hamstring Out
Darius Hamilton Shoulder Doubtful
Isaac Holmes Elbow Probable
Paul James Lower leg Probable
Sebastian Joseph Ankle Out
Kenneth Kirksey Tricep Out
Brian Leoni Ankle Probable
Taylor Marini Shoulder Out
Jamil Merrell Foot Probable
Julian Pinnix-Odrick Knee Out
Lew Toler Arm Out
Quron Pratt Lower body Probable
Lorenzo Waters Ankle Doubtful
Rutgers football continues its history of being one of the nation’s premier programs academically with the latest Graduation Success Rate (GSR) report, released by the NCAA for all Division I institutions. Football had a GSR of 85, which is best among former Big East Conference members, tied for second among current Big Ten Conference members and ranks 12th nationally.
The Graduation Success Rate is a four-year measure of freshmen and transfer student-athletes who entered between the fall of 2003 and the spring of 2007. It does not penalize the institution for those student-athletes who transfer in good academic standing. In addition, the GSR includes student-athletes who transfer into the institution and receive athletics aid.
In June, the Rutgers football program was the lone state university ranked in the top 10 percent nationally in the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate for the sixth straight year. The Scarlet Knights continue to be one of the leaders nationally in both production on the field and in the classroom. Last year, Rutgers football was ranked ninth nationally in APR, after placing number two in 2011 and number one in 2010.
Rutgers was one of only 13 Football Bowl Subdivision programs to be ranked in the top 10 percent in the APR scores earlier this year.
Knight Notes ...
• Rutgers has won six consecutive games when passing for less than 100 yards in a game. In the Eastern Michigan victory, the Scarlet Knights went 8-for-13 with 89 yards. The last time the team threw for less than 100 yards was a 19-14 win over FIU in 2010, with RU passing for 96 yards (8-for-16, one touchdown).
• Eastern Michigan rushed for 38 yards against the Scarlet Knights. RU improved to 9-3 under Kyle Flood when allowing less than 100 rushing yards and 2-2 with less than 50 rushing yards allowed.
• Rutgers has won three consecutive games against SEC competition.
• Rutgers has three touchdowns on special teams this year (two kickoff returns, one punt return).
• The Arkansas win marked the biggest second-half comeback since beating Vanderbilt 37-34 on the road in 2004. RU was down 27-3 in the third quarter against Vandy before the come-from-behind victory.
• The last time RU rallied from a 17-point deficit was the victory over No. 3 Louisville in 2006 when the Scarlet Knights were down 25-7 in the second quarter and came back to defeat the Cardinals 28-25.
• Rutgers has 925 yards of total offense and has scored 63 points against the Razorbacks over the last two seasons.
• True freshman running back Justin Goodwin saw his first significant action in his career, picking up 149 yards on the ground in the SMU win. De’Antwan Williams was the last RU true freshman to pick up 100 yards rushing in a game versus Texas Southern (Oct. 10, 2009). Ray Rice was the last true freshman to go over 100 in a conference game versus Cincinnati (Nov. 26, 2005).
• Goodwin also joined Rice as the last true freshman to record over 200 all-purpose yards in a game. The New Jersey native totaled 222 all-purpose yards against SMU. Rice went over the 200 all-purpose yard mark in 2005 against Connecticut.
• Goodwin was the first Rutgers true freshman running back since Rice to go over the century mark twice in a season. He has two career 100-yard games.
• Rutgers is 27th nationally in sacks per game (2.8). The Scarlet Knights are 36th in tackles-for-loss per game (6.5).
• Rutgers is third nationally and first in the conference converting fourth downs in 2013. RU is 13-of-17 on fourth down conversions (76%). The Scarlet Knights are tied for seventh in the nation with 13 fourth down conversions this season.
• Gary Nova is 19th nationally in passing yards per completion (13.8) and 29th in passing touchdowns (17).