Rutgers Vs. USF: Scarlet Knights Rally Past Bulls In Big East Opener

Rutgers took advantage of South Florida mistakes to have a big second half Thursday night en route to a 23-13 victory.

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Scarlet Knights' 3-0 Start Best Since 2007

Jawan Jamison and Kyle Federico combined for a ten point scoring flurry in the final three minutes of play to lead the Rutgers Scarlet Knights to a 23-13 victory over USF in the squads' Big East season opener on Thursday night.

With just under three minutes remaining and the scored tied at 13 all, Federico connected on a 22-yard field goal to give the Scarlet Knights the slim three-point lead.

Jamison wasn't content with just a slight lead, though

The Florida native and sophomore running back sprinted 41 yards down the field only a few plays later to cement the Scarlet Knights' victory, bolstering the team to a 3-0 record for the first time since 2007.

Jamison led the Rutgers offense for the third straight week, setting a school record with 41 rushing attempts and rushing for his fourth consecutive game of 100+ yards, going back to the 2011 season.

It wasn't just a single-handed effort from the Scarlet Knights running back, though. Quarterback Gary Nova posted a season-best performance, going 23-of-42 for 277 yards and no interceptions.

If the Rutgers offense, which racked up almost 400 yards of total offense on Thursday night, can find that kind of rhythm again, they might find themselves no longer the biggest question in the Scarlet Knights' future success this season.

As per usual, the Rutgers offense was aided by their dominant defense, led by senior linebacker Khaseem Greene, who posted his fifth consecutive game with at least ten tackles.

The Scarlet Knights also picked off USF quarterback B.J. Daniels three times in the Big East victory.

The defensive unit continued to look Big East championship caliber, controlling the game from the beginning.

Perhaps no performance was bigger than the Scarlet Knights' stopping a final USF drive, forcing the Bulls to go out on downs and giving the offense - and Jamison - the ball back to set up the final touchdown of the game.
Naturally, there were mistakes. Rutgers has yet to perform in a mistake free game, but if we're being honest, neither have many other teams in any other league throughout the country.

The Scarlet Knights did what they did best; they found a way to win in a physical setting.

Was it perfect?

No, but with the victory, the Scarlet Knights are supremely confident, with an extended practice regiment over the next week before they line up against Arkansas next Saturday night.

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Rutgers At USF Preview: Game Time, TV Schedule, Injuries, Streaming And More

Get in front of a TV or set your DVR’s. Whatever you do, don’t forget that the Rutgers Scarlet Knights open their Big East football schedule tonight as they line up against USF, because this is going to be good.

The primetime ESPN-broadcast matchup (7:30 p.m. ET) pits the two undefeated squads against each other, in what is projected to a bitter and close fought battle for a potential top spot in early Big East play.

In fact, as late as this afternoon, ESPN projected just a 7.5 point advantage to USF, who will be hosting the game at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

So what is the tipping point to a victory?

Only a few days removed from an emotional come-from-behind, one point, victory over Nevada last Saturday, the Bulls are still reeling from a fight that isn’t a week cold in the record books.

If the Rutgers’ defense, which has been almost pitch perfect in the first two games of the season, including a shutout victory over Howard last weekend, can take advantage of any of USF’s mistakes, they could propel themselves to their third straight victory of the early season.

The Scarlet Knights are going to have to find some offensive rhythm as well though, if they hope to grab the game away from USF.

Quarterback Gary Nova has just three touchdowns and 288 yards in the air, as opposed to the Bulls’ B.J. Daniels, who has already thrown for six touchdowns and 588 yards in two games.

"He's still at the beginning stages of his career," Rutgers coach Kyle Flood said of his starter earlier in the week. "We certainly need to give him significant opportunities every game because he's certainly somebody that can affect the game in a big way."

Nova, who missed some key passing opportunities in last weekend’s victory over Howard, is going to have to effectively fix the Scarlet Knights’ sputtering air attack and quickly. If Rutgers continues to base their offense solely on the feet Jawan Jamison, they’re going to find themselves a very one dimensional team.

That makes them very easy to beat.

Both teams are dealing with several injuries to key positions, which will make tonight’s matchup all the more difficult to predict.

Betim Bujari, Andre Civil, Savon Huggins and Marcus Thompson, all of whom were injured in the Scarlet Knights’ win over Howard, are still questionable for tonight’s game.

Sterling Griffin will be on the sidelines for USF, after sustaining a knee injury last week that will end his 2012 season.

College Football Week 2 Highlights: The Cheat Sheet (via sbnation)

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Rutgers At USF: Getting To Know The Bulls

Despite a shortened week of practices, the USF Bulls football team is primed to open their Big East season against Rutgers on Thursday, with the league matchup going primetime on ESPN.

Fresh off a come-from-behind 32-31 victory over Nevada last weekend, the Bulls go into Thursday evening’s matchup rolling on a wave of enthusiasm and a 2-0 early season record.

The USF offense plans to be a pitch perfect matchup for the dominant Scarlet Knights’ defense, which has allowed only minimal points in the first two games of the season.

Paced by quarterback B.J. Daniels, who went 22-of-40 for 363 yards, three touchdowns and not a single interception, the Bulls engineered a final second drive, capped off by a 56-yard touchdown reception to Andre Davis to grab the victory.

Davis also managed to set a school record for USF, with 12 catches for 191 yards and two scores, as the sophomore broke out for the game of his very short career.

If the Bulls can rack up the offensive potential they clearly exhibited on Saturday night, the squad is confident that they can put serious numbers on the scoreboard from the opening whistle.

"We’ve all talked about it, and now it’s time to stop talking and go out and perform," Daniels said on Monday afternoon. "It gives us an advantage."

More than anything, the Bulls are simply anxious for a Big East opponent with which to test their skills; and a chance to prove that the Rutgers defense, coming off a shutout home victory last weekend, might not be all it’s cracked up to be.

"We’re anxious to get to Big East play," said kicker Mike Bonani during a press conference early this week. "Obviously we want to win every game, but if we lose a nonconference game and go undefeated in the Big East, we’re playing in a bowl."

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South Florida Bulls quarterback BJ Daniels hands off during a game last season. Danny Wild-US PRESSWIRE

The Bulls will have to do without one major component of their offense when they line up against Rutgers on Thursday night though.

Redshirt junior Sterling Griffin will miss the rest of the season after a knee injury sidelined him during last weekend’s Nevada game.

"It’s just really unfortunate. It did not look like much on film," said coach Skip Holtz. "His knee just buckled on him the wrong way."


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Rutgers At USF: Bulls Are First Big East Conference Foe

Despite two dominant early season wins, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights face their first big test against Big East opponent in USF.

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Rutgers' Brandon Jones Named Big East Special Teams Player of Week

Brandon Jones was named the Big East's Special Teams Player of the Week.

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