The game started out with the two teams exchanging halfback touchdown passes, first a Navy 55-yard play on the Midshipmen’s first offensive play from scrimmage, then a Rutgers 15-yard pass from Clarence Pittman (Miami, FL) to Chris Loomis (Maple Shade, NJ) to knot the score at 7-7 with 2:33 remaining in the opening quarter. But, following the two unusual touchdowns through the air, the ground game took center stage as the two teams combined for 622 yards rushing. Hairston made his presence felt early, giving the Scarlet Knights a 14-7 lead with his three-yard scamper four minutes into the second quarter, then put the Knights up by a touchdown again (21-14) with his two-yard run with 4:34 to play before halftime. Senior Brian Bender (Shenendoah, PA) blocked a Navy field-goal attempt in the second quarter’s closing seconds to preserve RU’s 21-14 halftime lead.
A second blocked field-goal attempt led to Rutgers’ next touchdown, as junior Jarvis Johnson (Miami, FL) knocked the ball down and senior Brandon Haw (Cheverly, MD) picked it up and ran 88 yards down the sideline. Sophomore Justin Musiek’s (Hanover, NH) fourth successful extra-point attempt of the night made the score 28-14 with 10:39 on the clock in the third quarter.
Navy cut the RU lead back to seven with a one-yard run of its own with less than five minutes remaining in the third, but Rutgers again answered Navy’s challenge with a Hairston touchdown, this one a four-yard burst with 13:04 remaining in the game to push the lead back to two touchdowns (35-21). A Will Gilkison (Union Beach, NJ) fumble recovery deep in Navy territory set up Hairston’s fourth score, a 10-yard run to make the score 41-21 at the 4:19 mark. The Midshipmen immediately went down the field and scored on a 20-yard run, but the blocked extra point kept the score 41-27 in the Knights’ favor. RU’s final score was a Pittman 24-yard scamper with 1:14 on the clock, making the final score 48-27.
Hairston’s performance was the first four-touchdown day for a Knight in nearly 10 years (Oct. 16, 1993), and he became the sixth active Knight to record a 100-yard game with his 31-carry, 162-yard effort. Pittman also was productive, carrying the ball 14 times for 82 yards and the one touchdown. Sophomore Ryan Hart (Coral Springs, FL) completed 14 of his 21 passes for 140 yards.
Gilkison led the Rutgers defense with his nine tackles (one solo) and fumble recovery. Johnson added eight stops and a blocked field-goal attempt, while Alfred Peterson (Miami, FL) had eight stops and half a sack.
For RU, the win gave the Knights their first 3-1 start to a season since 1993. The 32,382 fans on hand were the largest RU home crowd since the Scarlet Knights’ clash with Notre Dame on Nov. 18, 2000.
Rutgers will be back in action Saturday, Oct. 4, when the Scarlet Knights host No. 5 Virginia Tech. Kickoff at Rutgers Stadium is scheduled for 12:00 p.m.
NCAAF FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- NAVY 7 7 7 6 27 RUTGERS 7 14 7 20 48 FINAL SCORING SUMMARY 1ST QUARTER: NAVY - TD, ERIC ROBERTS 55 YD PASS FROM ANDY MICHALOWICZ (GEOFFREY BLUMENFELD KICK), 1:21. NAVY 7-0 RUTGERS - TD, CHRIS LOOMIS 15 YD PASS FROM CLARENCE PITTMAN (JUSTIN MUSIEK KICK), 12:27. NAVY 7-7 2ND QUARTER: RUTGERS - TD, JUSTISE HAIRSTON 3 YD RUN (JUSTIN MUSIEK KICK), 3:56. RUTGERS 14-7 NAVY - TD, ERIC ROBERTS 29 YD RUN (GEOFFREY BLUMENFELD KICK), 5:25. NAVY 14-14 RUTGERS - TD, JUSTISE HAIRSTON 2 YD RUN (JUSTIN MUSIEK KICK), 10:26. RUTGERS 21-14 3RD QUARTER: RUTGERS - TD, BRANDON HAW 88 YD RETURN OF BLOCKED FIELD GOAL (JUSTIN MUSIEK KICK), 4:21. RUTGERS 28-14 NAVY - TD, KYLE ECKEL 1 YD RUN (GEOFFREY BLUMENFELD KICK), 10:23. RUTGERS 28-21 4TH QUARTER: RUTGERS - TD, JUSTISE HAIRSTON 4 YD RUN (JUSTIN MUSIEK KICK), 1:56. RUTGERS 35-21 RUTGERS - TD, JUSTISE HAIRSTON 10 YD RUN (TWO-POINT CONVERSION FAILED), 10:41. RUTGERS 41-21 NAVY - TD, TREY HINES 20 YD RUN (PAT BLOCKED), 13:25. RUTGERS 41-27 RUTGERS - TD, CLARENCE PITTMAN 24 YD RUN (JUSTIN MUSIEK KICK), 13:46. RUTGERS 48-27
Tonight’s win over Navy is RU’s third in a row vs. the Midshipmen and moves Rutgers to 3-1 for the first time since the 1993 season. RU is now 8-9-1 vs. Navy and has won six in a row vs. service academies – three vs. Army and three vs. Navy.
A Quartet of New Starters
Tonight’s game vs. Navy served as the first career starts for four Rutgers players – three on offense and one on defense. On offense, freshman running back Justise Hairston, right tackle Ron Green and tight end Sam Johnson all made their first starts, while on defense, free safety Jason Nugent earned the starting nod. In addition, freshman LB Quintero Frierson saw his first action of the 2003 season tonight, breaking in on kick-off duty. Frierson missed the first three weeks of training camp awaiting a decision from the NCAA Clearinghouse.
Loomis Returns with TD
Junior TE Chris Loomis returned to the active roster this week after missing the first three games with a foot injury. Loomis caught his first pass at the 9:32 mark of the first quarter (12 yards) and then hauled in a 15-yard TD pass from Clarence Pittman with 2:33 left in the first quarter to knot the score at 7-7. It was Loomis’ second career TD reception and first since Sept. 28, 2002, at Tennessee.
Halfback Pass Strikes Again
Rutgers successfully completed a halfback pass for a touchdown in the first quarter, as Clarence Pittman hit Chris Loomis in the end zone to tie the game at 7-7. The completion was the first for a TD by a non-QB since Corey Barnes hit Shawn Tucker with a 36-yard score in the 2002 season finale at Boston College. Markis Facyson also completed a pass last season, hitting LJ Smith with a 36-yarder.
Hairston’s First-Half Total is Best Since Tennessee in ‘02
Justise Hairston, who earned his first start of the season tonight, rushed for 78 first-half yards, the most since Clarence Pittman gained 79 in the first half of last season’s 35-14 loss at Tennessee (9/28). Rutgers, as a team, rushed for 121 first-half yards.
Bender Blocks Second-Quarter Field Goal
One game after forcing a fumble and then recovering it for a touchdown, senior LB Brian Bender blocked a field goal in the waning moments of the second quarter to keep the RU lead at 21-14. It is Bender’s first career blocked field goal and the first of the 2003 season for the Scarlet Knights, after blocking six in 2002.
Haw Picks Up Third Career TD on Blocked FG in Third Quarter
On Navy’s first series of the third quarter, junior safety Jarvis Johnson blocked a 23-yard field goal attempt, which senior CB Brandon Haw returned 88 yards for a touchdown. It was Haw’s third career touchdown and second of the 2003 season, following a 61-yard INT return on Sept. 6 at Michigan State. Haw returned a blocked field goal, also a 23-yard attempt, (blocked by Nate Jones) 90 yards for a score last season vs. Syracuse on Oct. 26.
Attendance is Best Since 2000
Tonight’s attendance of 32,382 is the best at Rutgers Stadium since the RU-Notre Dame game on Nov. 18, 2000, which attracted 40,011 fans. This is the 15th home game since the RU-Notre Dame contest.
Hairston Becomes Sixth Member of 100-Yard Club; Second in Two Games
With his 162 rushing yards tonight, freshman RB Justise Hairston became the sixth member of the active Rutgers roster to rush for 100 yards in a game. Hairston is also the second in as many games to accomplish the feat, joining Brian Leonard, who rushed for 132 yards at Army on Sept. 13.
Hairston Records Multiple Rushing TD’s
Justise Hairston, who rushed for four TD’s in tonight’s game, is the first RU player to rush for more than one touchdown since Mike McMahon at Syracuse on Nov. 25, 2000 – the final game of the ’00 season, a span of 27 games. In addition, Hairston’s four TDs are the most since Terrell Willis rushed for four vs. Army on Oct. 16, 1993.