Howard at Rutgers (High Point Solutions Stadium)
Saturday, Sept. 6 • 12:01 p.m. • BTN
• Rutgers opens its home schedule for the 145th year of football “On the Banks” against Howard on Saturday, Sept. 6.
• Kickoff is set for 12:01 p.m. with live television coverage on BTN. Kevin Kugler (play-by-play), Shaun O’Hara (color) and Tina Cervasio (sideline) have the call. It marks the first time Rutgers has played a game on BTN.
• Coverage on the Rutgers IMG Sports Network begins at 11 a.m. with Chris Carlin, Ray Lucas, Eric LeGrand and Anthony Fucilli calling the action. Fans can listen to the game on WCTC-1450 AM in Central Jersey and ESPN Radio 98.7 FM in New York City.
• Rutgers leads the all-time series against Howard 3-0. The last time the two schools met was in 2012 as Kyle Flood earned his first victory at home as Rutgers’ head coach with a 26-0 victory over the Bison.
• Rutgers has outscored Howard 127-14 in the three previous meetings. In addition to the 2012 win, the Scarlet Knights defeated the Bison 45-7 in 2009 and 56-7 in the first meeting between the schools in 2006.
• In 10 all-time meetings against MEAC schools, Rutgers is 10-0. The Scarlet Knights have outscored MEAC opponents 405-36 all-time, including a score of 341-14 in eight games since 2006.
• Rutgers has held FCS opponents scoreless in the last five meetings and in 336:20 of game action since Howard scored a touchdown in the second quarter in 2009.
With a Victory
• Rutgers would move to 2-0 for the second time in three seasons. RU has started a season 2-0 just five times since 2000.
• RU would move to a perfect 4-0 all-time against Howard and 11-0 all-time versus schools from the MEAC.
• With a win, the Scarlet Knights would start conference play undefeated (at least two games played) for the fourth time. RU was also 2-0 when conference play began in 2012 and 2000 and 4-0 in 2006.
• Head coach Kyle Flood would remain undefeated and move to 8-0 as head coach in games played in the month of September.
Going for No. 100
Rutgers looks for win number 100 all-time in home openers Saturday against Howard. The Scarlet Knights are 99-36-10 all-time in home openers, including a 10-4 mark since 2000.
The Scarlet Knights have won four straight home openers by a combined score of 143-0.
FCS Win Streak
Rutgers looks for its 11th consecutive victory against FCS competition Saturday against Howard. The last time Rutgers lost to a FCS opponent was a 35-24 loss against New Hampshire (9/11/04).
Record Point Total in Road Opening Win
Rutgers scored 41 points in its season-opening win on the road at Washington State in Seattle - the most points scored in a win vs. FBS competition in school history for the Scarlet Knights in the first game of the season on the road.
The most points scored by RU in a victory in a season-opener on the road were 47 at Lafayette (9/29/51).
Highest Point Totals in a Road Season-Opening Win
9/29/51 Rutgers 47, Lafayette 12
9/20/69 Rutgers 44, Lafayette 22
8/28/14 Rutgers 41, Washington State 38
Aiken Becomes First B1G Player of the Week
Senior free safety Johnathan Aiken became the first player in Rutgers history to be named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts in the win over Washington State. The Big Ten named Aiken the defensive player of the week on Sept. 1 after totaling seven tackles and being in the center of two critical plays in the fourth quarter against the Cougars. Aiken first forced a Washington State fumble on a punt return with just seven minutes remaining as Rutgers trailed 38-34. Teammate Anthony Cioffi recovered the fumble as it setup the game-winning touchdown for the Scarlet Knights. On 4th-and-13 from the WSU 38 with 59 seconds remaining in the game, Aiken broke up a pass attended for River Cracraft to seal the come-from-behind 41-38 victory.
Don’t Call it a Comeback
Senior quarterback Gary Nova has shown throughout his career under center the ability to rally his team from behind in the fourth quarter. Nova has led Rutgers to six come-from-behind victories in the fourth quarter or overtime over his career. The latest fourth quarter comeback win for Nova was in the 2014 opener at Washington State. Rutgers trailed 38-34 with 7:13 remaining until Nova guided the Scarlet Knights to an eight-play, 50-yard drive that ended with a Paul James touchdown to clinch the 41-38 victory.
Nova’s Fourth Quarter/OT Comeback Victories
8/28/14 at Washington St. (41-38) Trailed 38-34 (4Q)
10/20/13 vs. Temple (23-20) Trailed 20-16 (4Q)*
10/5/13 at SMU (55-52) Trailed 52-49 (3OT)
9/21/13 vs. Arkansas (28-24) Trailed 24-14 (4Q)
10/15/11 vs. Navy (21-20) Trailed 17-14 (4Q)
10/1/11 at Syracuse (19-16) Trailed 13-3 (4Q)
* Threw game-winning TD pass in game’s final minute
Super Nova Notes
• Gary Nova ranks 11th among active NCAA Division I quarterbacks with 53 career touchdown passes.
• Rutgers is 16-4 in Nova starts where he throws one or zero interceptions.
• Nova owns five games of 300 passing yards or more, third-most in school history.
• Nova went 8-for-10 passing on fourth down last season with eight first downs and three touchdowns.
• Nova is now second in school history with 53 career touchdowns, six behind all-time leader Mike Teel (2005-08). He is now fourth in the record books with 6,688 career yards, needing 500 yards to tie for third and 2,695 to tie Teel as the leader.
Rutgers is B1G
Rutgers University became an official member of the Big Ten Conference July 1, increasing the Big Ten’s membership to 14 institutions along with the addition of Maryland.
The Big Ten now boasts more than 520,000 total students and 5.7 million living alumni. The conference’s broad-based athletic programs will feature almost 9,500 student-athletes for more than 11,000 participation opportunities on 350 teams in 42 different sports, including 28 official Big Ten sports. Maryland and Rutgers are already members of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), an academic consortium of Big Ten universities and the University of Chicago that is a highly regarded model for effective and voluntary collaboration among top research universities. In 2012, CIC institutions produced over $10 billion in research expenditures.
The Rutgers football team began its first season as a Big Ten program August 28 at Washington State. The Scarlet Knights make their debut in Big Ten action at home against Penn State on September 13.
The 2014 football season will feature new division alignments, with Maryland and Rutgers joined by Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State in the East Division. Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin will play in the West Division. A representative from each division will play in the Big Ten Football Championship Game on Dec. 6 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, with the winner earning the Big Ten Championship.
Since the announcement to add Maryland and Rutgers in November 2012, the Big Ten has made a series of announcements highlighting the conference’s increased presence on the East Coast. Last June, the Big Ten announced an agreement to take part in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, sending conference football teams to play at Yankee Stadium on an annual basis. In April, the Big Ten announced that it would open a second office in New York City while securing access to satellite office space in Washington, D.C. In May, BTN confirmed that the network had reached deals with Time Warner Cable and Cablevision for broad distribution to their subscribers in the New York/New Jersey television markets. In June, BTN confirmed that a similar agreement was reached with Comcast for broad distribution in Maryland and New Jersey.
Tough Against the Run
One staple for the Rutgers defense year-after-year is stopping the run. RU ranks third nationally after one game this season in rushing defense. The six rushing yards allowed against the Cougars ranks seventh-best since 2000 and is the lowest total allowed in a road game during that time span for the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers finished the 2013 season ranked fourth nationally in rushing defense allowing just 100.8 yards per game. The Scarlet Knights ended the 2012 campaign sixth nationally in rushing defense (97.2 yards per game). Since the start of the 2012 season, Rutgers is third nationally in total rushing yards allowed.
Fewest Rushing Yards Allowed Since 2000
1. (-25) vs. Texas Southern 10/10/09
2. (-23) vs. Cincinnati 11/26/05
3. (-11) vs. Pittsburgh 9/30/05
4. (-7) vs. Buffalo 9/9/00
5. (-6) vs. Ohio 9/16/06
6. 3 vs. Virginia Tech 12/28/12
7. 6 at Washington State 8/28/14
8. 8 at Tulane 9/1/12
9. 10 vs. USF 12/17/13
NCAA Leaders in Rushing Yards Allowed Since 2012
1. Alabama 2,478
2. Michigan State 2,516
3. Rutgers 2,579
4. Stanford 2,675
The four teams are a combined 85-26 since 2012.
Big Play James
Junior running back Paul James reached 1,000 career rushing yards on his 56-yard touchdown run in the second quarter at Washington State. It took him 174 carries to reach the mark. By comparison, it took Ray Rice 170 career rushes to obtain 1,000 yards (2005 vs. Cincinnati). Overall, James is second in school history to Steve Simms with 5.7 yards per rush (minimum 100 carries). James’ 56-yard rushing score was the longest rushing touchdown since Jawan Jamison had a run that long to the end zone Nov. 12, 2011 at Yankee Stadium against Army. The longest before that was Mohamed Sanu’s school record rush of 91 yards versus Tulane on Oct. 2, 2010.
James had a career-high 29 carries in the win at Washington State. He averaged 4.9 yards on 13 first-down carries and 8.6 yards, four first downs and two touchdowns on 11 second-down attempts.
News and Notes
• Rutgers is 18-3 in the last three seasons when attempting at least 35 rushes in a game.
• Rutgers finished third in the nation last season with a 77.8 conversion rate on fourth down (21-of-27). In 2014, Rutgers is 1-for-1 on fourth down.
• Rutgers is one of 21 teams in the power five conference (64 teams) to reach a bowl game in at least eight of the last nine seasons (Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech, West Virginia, Nebraska, Ohio State, Rutgers, Wisconsin, Oregon, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Missouri, South Carolina).
• Rutgers finished 14th in the nation last season with only 18.47 yards allowed per kickoff return.
• Rutgers finished fourth in the nation last season with only 100.8 rushing yards allowed per game.
• Rutgers is 14-2 when scoring 20 points or more under Kyle Flood and 12-2 when leading after three quarters over the last two seasons.
• Eight of the top 16 crowds in stadium history have happened since the start of the 2012 season. This season, Rutgers has sold a record amount of season tickets (Over 30,900).
• Rutgers had three sacks at Washington State. The team is 5-2 since the beginning of last season when recording at least that many sacks in a game.
• Delon Stephenson led the defense with nine tackles against the Cougars, matching his total from all of last season.
• Kyle Federico has made 10 of his last 12 field goals to bring his career total to 20. He needs one more to tie Steve Barone (1998-01) for 10th in school history.
• Rutgers is 4-1 in its second game after winning its opener in the last five instances.
• Kyle Flood is a perfect 7-0 in games played in September, winning by a combined mark of 202-85.
• Before the game at Washington State, Rutgers had not used multiple punters in a game since Nov. 13, 2010 against Syracuse (Kyle Sullivan, Mohamed Sanu). The last time RU had two punters with multiple punts in a contest was Nov. 6, 2004 at Boston College (Joe Radigan, Michael Cortese).
• The Rutgers offense matched Washington State with 70 total plays from scrimmage in the game, holding the time of possession advantage in the second half, 16:57-13:03.
• Rutgers and Auburn are the only two schools in the nation to have a player record over 150 yards receiving and 170 yards rushing in the same game in 2014.
• Rutgers is the only school in the nation to post a shutout in each of the last eight seasons.
• Rutgers is 47-5 since 2000 when holding opponents to less than 300 yards of total offense.
• The Scarlet Knights are 37-9 since 2006 when rushing for 150 yards or more in a game.
• Since 2000, the Scarlet Knights are 49-18 when going over the 150-yard mark on the ground.
• Since 2000, Rutgers is 48-14 when holding the opponent below 100 yards rushing in a game.
• Since 2000, Rutgers is 24-3 when limiting the opponent to less than 50 yards rushing in a game.
• Rutgers was the only school in the nation to have two true freshman cornerbacks start in the same game in 2013.
• Seventeen different players made their first career start in 2013, with three starting all 13 games (Longa, Lumpkin, Mera).
• Players who have made their first career start in 2014 (3): WR Janarion Grant, WR John Tsimis, NT Kenneth Kirksey.
• Players who have made their collegiate debut in 2014 (8): H Mike Bimonte, DB Andre Hunt, LB T.J. Taylor, DL Julian Pinnix-Odrick, DL Kemoko Turay, TE Matt Flanagan, LS Alan Lucy, DB Dre Boggs.
• Lucy and Boggs was the first true freshman to earn playing time in 2014 on special teams.
• Players who made their Rutgers debut in 2014 (3): WR Andrew Turzilli, P Joey Roth, P Tim Gleeson.
• As a head coach Kyle Flood is now 10-2 when leading at the half, 8-1 in games played in August or September, 6-1 when scoring over 30 points, 13-4 when having more rushing yards than the opponent and 5-3 in games decided by seven points or less.
Junior wide receiver Leonte Carroo was third in school history with nine touchdown receptions in 2013. In just 10 games played, Carroo totaled 28 receptions for 478 yards (17.1 average) with nine touchdowns a season ago. In his career, 29 percent of Carroo’s receptions (10-of-34) have gone for a touchdown.
Of passes completed to Carroo, 75 percent (21-of-28) went for either a first down or touchdown last season. In the 2014 opener, four of his six receptions were for a first down or touchdown.
Carroo picked up right where he left off in the 2014 opener at Washington State. Carroo had a career-high 151 yards, topping the 147 he picked up last season against Temple. It was his third game in his career with more than 100 yards.
He caught a 78-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage in the game. It was his 10th career score and second of longer than 60 yards. His first career catch last season at Fresno State was a 69-yard touchdown.
Can’t Stop Kemoko
Redshirt freshman Kemoko Turay made quite the debut in his first game as a Scarlet Knight. Turay was the first Rutgers player with two sacks in a season opener since Justin Francis in 2011 against NC Central. George Johnson was the last player to do that against an FBS opener opponent (Buffalo, 2007) and Val Barnaby was last to do that against a power conference opener opponent (Illinois, 2005).
Steve Longa was the last freshman to have two sacks in a game Sept. 14, 2013 versus Eastern Michigan.
Kroft Coming Up Big
Of passes completed to tight end Tyler Kroft, 72 percent (31-of-43) went for either a first down or touchdown last season. The Downingtown, Pa., product earned honorable mention All-America honors in 2013 after ending the season with 46 receptions for 632 yards and five touchdowns. He became the first RU tight end since 2006 to be named first team all-conference and he led the team in receptions and receiving yards.
The Kick is Good!
Junior kicker Kyle Federico is sixth in school history with a 64.5 field goal percentage (20-of-31). He made 10 of his last 12 field goal attempts. Federico needs one successful field goal to move into the school’s top-10 list for made attempts.
Nation’s Leader Among Freshmen
Steve Longa led all freshmen nationally with 9.5 tackles per game in 2013. The New Jersey product had three games with 12-plus tackles in 2013. In all, Longa had 123 tackles on the year, first among all freshmen nationally. Longa ranked 27th nationally in tackles per game. It marked the fourth-straight season a Rutgers player has totaled over 100 tackles in a season and the most by a middle linebacker since Gary Brackett finished with 130 stops in 2002. Longa was the first Rutgers freshman to record 100 tackles in a season since defensive back Courtney Greene in 2005. Greene totaled a team-high 116 stops in 2005. 73 of Longa’s tackles last season were on rushing plays.
Memorable Home Openers
Here is a look back at some of the most memorable home openers for the Scarlet Knights:
Rutgers 38, Buffalo 3 (8/30/2007 at RU)
Rutgers cruised to an easy 38-3 victory over Buffalo as junior WR Tiquan Underwood set a school record with 248 yards receiving. The New Jersey native hauled in 10 receptions on the night, including a pair of touchdowns in the 35-point victory.
Rutgers 19, Michigan St. 14 (9/4/2004 at RU)
In front of an ABC television audience and a sell-out crowd at Rutgers Stadium, Rutgers stopped Michigan State 19-14 to open the 2004 season. PK Jeremy Ito connected on four field goals and DE Ryan Neill returned an interception 31 yards for a touchdown in the win.
Rutgers 20, Boston College 13 (8/31/1991 at RU)
Rutgers and Boston College played the inaugural BIG EAST conference game as the Scarlet Knights defeated the Eagles 20-13 at Rutgers Stadium. RB Bill Bailey scored the first touchdown in league history just 1:17 into the game while QB Tom Tarver threw for 275 yards and a touchdown.
Rutgers 6, Princeton 4 (11/6/1869 at RU)
The first college football game was played at College Field in New Brunswick as Rutgers came away with a 6-4 victory.
This Week’s Opponent: Howard
Howard started the season August 28 with a 41-0 loss at Akron. It was the first shutout of the Bison since Rutgers’ 26-0 victory in 2012.
Head coach Gary Harrell guides the Bison into Piscataway. The third-year head coach is 12-11 overall at Howard. The Bison return 29 lettermen and 11 starters from last season’s 6-6 squad.
The Bison ranked 29th nationally in rushing offense in 2013, averaging 200.1 rushing yards per game. Howard protected the passer well, allowing just 1.08 sacks per game (17th nationally in the FCS).
Howard totaled 2.33 sacks per game on defense in 2013 to rank 31st in the FCS.
Senior QB Greg McGhee returns as one of the top quarterbacks in the FCS. He averaged 272.9 yards of total offense last season, good for 18th nationally. He ranked 31st nationally in completions per game (19) and 52nd in completion percentage (59.2). He threw for 2,379 yards in 2013, 40th in the FCS.
Since 2009, Rutgers has led all schools nationally with 35 blocked kicks/punts. During that time span, RU has scored 15 touchdowns via special teams. The Scarlet Knights have blocked at least four kicks every year since 2007.
NCAA Team Blocked Kick Leaders Since 2009
1. Rutgers 35
2. Fresno State 26
3. USC 24
Two Straight Bowls for Flood
Kyle Flood became the first coach in 144 years of football at Rutgers to guide the Scarlet Knights to two consecutive bowls in his first two years as head coach. Flood and Greg Schiano are the only coaches in RU history to guide the Scarlet Knights to multiple bowl appearances. Flood has 15 victories in his first two seasons as head coach at Rutgers. The 15 wins rank him second in school history for wins by a head coach in his first two seasons. Flood’s nine victories in 2012 were the most by a first-year head coach in school history. He is the only coach in RU history to lead a team to a bowl and conference championship in their first season.
Most Wins in First Two Years at Rutgers
John F. Bateman (1960-61) 17
Kyle Flood (2012-13) 15
Harvey J. Harman (1938-39) 14
2014 Captains Named
Two-time captains aren’t particularly rare at Rutgers recently, but those achieving the distinction have had to prove they deserved the honor the second time around. Quarterback Gary Nova did just that as a junior last year, having been replaced for the final three games after he started the previous 23 – a test of leadership, character and captaincy worthiness if there ever was one. So it came as little surprise that the Scarlet Knights’ senior quarterback attained two-time captaincy, being named one of the official team leaders along with strong safety Lorenzo Waters, defensive lineman David Milewski, defensive tackle Darius Hamilton and fullback Michael Burton following a vote of the players.
Nova joined Mike Teel (2007-08), Eric Foster (2006-07), Tres Moses (2004-05), L.J. Smith (2001-02), Gary Brackett (2001-02), Shawn Seabrooks (2001-02) and Brian Sheridan (1995 and 1997) as the eighth two-time Rutgers captain in the past 20 years.
Big Ten Opener Sold Out
Rutgers Athletics announced on August 28 that Rutgers’ first football game in the Big Ten versus Penn State on September 13 is sold out.
“We are thrilled to announce our first preseason sellout of High Point Solutions Stadium for the Penn State game,” said Rutgers Director of Athletics Julie Hermann. “Our Rutgers supporters stepped up to paint our stadium scarlet and that’s a first key to our Big Ten success.”
Season tickets for the 2014 season are also sold out as a record 30,927 purchased season tickets for Rutgers’ first Big Ten season.
The highly anticipated game has been one of the hottest tickets in school history. It is the earliest a game has sold out prior to a season since High Point Solutions Stadium was expanded to its current capacity of 52,454 in 2009.
Here is the breakdown of who is up in the press box and who is on the field on gamedays for the Rutgers football coaching staff:
Ralph Friedgen (offensive coordinator)
Joe Rossi (defensive coordinator)
Rutgers Football Injury Report – Sept. 1, 2014
Player: Injury, Status
Nick Borgese: Lower body, Probable
Talib Abdur-Ra’oof: Upper body, Out
Nick Arcidiacono: Upper body, Out
Savon Huggins: Upper body, Out
Bryan Leoni: Lower body, Out
Logan Lister: Lower body, Out
Andre Patton: Upper body, Out
Ruhann Peele: Upper body, Out
Jacquis Webb: Lower body, Out