PISCATAWAY, N.J. (April 26) - Led by 85 yards rushing and two touchdowns from sophomore RB Desmon Peoples (Cheltenham, Pa.), the White defeated Scarlet 21-0 Saturday at High Point Solutions Stadium in front of 11,500 fans. Senior QB Gary Nova (Elmwood Park, N.J.) also scored a rushing touchdown in the victory.
In the final five minutes of the scrimmage, 16 Special Olympians played flag football on the field to conclude the day. The two teams, which were composed of players chosen from all over the state by the Special Olympics, scored a combined four touchdowns. Last season, children affected by Hurricane Sandy played the final five minutes of the spring game.
Peoples led all players with 109 all-purpose yards while sophomore WR Janarion Grant (Tribley, Fla.) produced a game-high 45 yards receiving on three catches. Defensively, sophomore DB Nick Rafferty (Andover, N.J.) had a game-high eight tackles for the Scarlet squad and freshman DE Komoko Turay (Newark, N.J.) registered three sacks for Scarlet. Junior Darius Hamilton (West Paterson, N.J.) led the White team with four tackles.
The White squad opened up its scoring when Novascored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak with 9:15 in the first quarter to give the White team a 7-0 lead. The play was set up by a 30-yard reception from Nova to Grant to bring the White squad to the Scarlet 1-yard line.
Peoples then found the end zone with a 5-yard touchdown run to put the White squad up 14-0 with 8:44 left in the second quarter.
Peoples produced another 5-yard scoring play with 10:55 in the third quarter, breaking a tackle to get to the outside for thetouchdown. The play gave the White team a 21-0 advantage.
Senior DL David Milewski (Sayreville, N.J.) served as the game captain for the White team while sophomore LB Joey Lohmann (Naples, Fla) captained the Scarlet squad.
Rutgers opens the 2014 season Thursday, August 28 in Seattle against Washington State.
Rutgers Post-Game Quote Sheet
WR Janarion Grant
Mark Mills Second Effort Award winner (MostImproved Offensive Player)
On being named the Mark Mills Second EffortAward recipient: “It means a lot to win the award. Just to be able to come out here and perform in front of the fans was great, letting them know and showing them I can be a great guy in the slot position.”
On improvement throughout the spring: “I feel good just catching the ball more, being able to get my hands on the ball and be physical with it.”
On closing the spring in front of the fans at High Point Solutions Stadium: “It’s special. It’s not every day you get this chance to play on this field. Being able to come outhere and play in front of the fans, it’s just practice for the fall season.”
DE David Milewski
Frank R. Burns Award winner
On being named the Frank R. Burns Award recipient: “I think it’s awesome that somebody recognizes what you’ve been through. And you don’t go through it for recognition, but it’s always nice to have somebody recognize you at the end. We have a long way to go and I personally still have a long way to go but it’s been a great spring and hopefully this is a springboard for us going into the summer and into next season.”
On closing the spring on a high note: “The game is always the highlight of the whole spring. It was a lot of fun – a lot of fans came out here today, it was a beautiful day outside and being out here with the Special Olympics Team New Jersey, that was awesome. It’s priceless, you can’t get moments like that back and that’s what college football is all about. That’s why I came here and I’m living the dream right now.”
LB T.J. Taylor
Douglas A. Smith Award winner (Most Improved Defensive Player)
On being named the Douglas A. Smith Award recipient: “It was great. I knew I had to work hard to solidify my spot at WILL and I feel like I did that during the spring. All the hard work and watching film, it helps. It makes it easier to come out here and do what I have to do to achieve at my position, so I’m happy about that.”
On improvement throughout the spring: “Mentally and physically I feel like I’ve come a long way in the last 15 practices. Coming in I was a smaller defensive back and had to gain weight. The playbook was obviously harder so I just wanted to come out here and make it easier on myself.”
On closing the spring in front of the fans at High Point Solutions Stadium: “It felt great. This is the first time I’ve played in front of fans like this since my last high school game. I was really excited and just glad to get out there.”