The Rutgers Scarlet Knights beat the Howard Bison with ease 26-0 on Saturday afternoon at High Point Solutions Stadium.
Rutgers was in complete control from the beginning. Jawan Jamison was the offensive star of the show, gaining 110 yards on the ground with just 10 attempts. All in all, the Scarlet Knights amassed 191 rushing yards with an impressive 5.8 yards per carry.
Sophomore quarterback Gary Nova certainly wasn't terrific, but he played well enough to keep the chains moving with 15-of-27 passing for 130 yards. Nova also threw for two touchdowns while tossing one interception.
Brandon Coleman only had two receptions in the contest, but both went for touchdowns in an opportunistic showing.
The Rutgers defense was brilliant, perhaps the highlight of the afternoon. In the first half, Howard could only muster eight rushing yards and just 74 for the game. Jamie Cunningham couldn't find any seems in the Scarlet Knights either, only completing nine passes for 68 yards.
Next week, Rutgers will travel to play the South Florida Bulls on Thursday night in its first Big East showdown of 2012.
Rutgers has been completely in control from the opening kickoff, outgaining the Bison in total yards 190 to 15. The Scarlet Knights have been able to run the ball at will with Jawan Jamison leading the way. Jamison already has 76 yards on the ground with just five carries under his belt.
Gary Nova hasn't been spectacular, but he's getting the job done. Nova is 11-of-20 for just 90 yards including a touchdown and interception.
Most impressively, the defense has been stifling to say the least. Howard's quarterback, Jamie Cunningham, is a paltry 2-of-6 throwing, picking up only 7 yards. The rushing game hasn't been there for the Bisons either. On 20 attempts, they've only gained 8 yards.
The big negative for Rutgers has been its discipline. In the first half, the Scarlet Knights have already been flagged 10 times, racking up 87 yards worth of penalties.
For more on Rutgers, please be sure to check out our blog On The Banks.
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights will kickoff their home opener at High Point Stadium today, at 3:55, when they face off against the Howard Bison in a non-conference matchup.
Fresh off a gritty 24-12 victory over Tulane last week, the Scarlet Knights are hoping to expand upon their somewhat minimal offense and capture their third consecutive home opener.
In the last two years, Rutgers has dominated the first game at High Point, topping Norfolk State and North Carolina Central by a combined score of 79-0. The Scarlet Knights are 97-36-10 in total home openers.
This afternoon’s game with be the third meeting between Rutgers and the Bison, with the Scarlet Knights holding a two game advantage. In their most recent matchup in 2009, Rutgers held Howard to minimal games, earning a 45-7 victory, spurred by 245 total rushing yards.
Both teams are coached by relatively new faces, as Gary Harrell enters his second season with Howard, while Kyle Flood enters just his second game with Rutgers.
Perhaps the biggest key for Rutgers in this afternoon’s game though, is solid defensive play.
Last week the Scarlet Knights allowed just eight rushing yards from Tulane, marking the sixth time since 2000 that Rutgers had held an opponent to less than 10 yards a game.
If they can once again stop the rush, and quickly get in the face of presumed Bison starter Jamie Cunningham, playing in only his second college game and first college start, the Scarlet Knights should be able to take control of the game quickly and set their own pace.
As of this morning, Rutgers is a 43-point favorite over the Bison.
This afternoon’s game will be covered on the BIG EAST Network, which will only be available in certain markets. In all other areas, including most of New York, the game can be seen on SNY.
For those in the New York metropolitan area, the game can be heard on the Rutgers Radio Network begins at 2:30 p.m. on WOR-710 AM. In Central New Jersey it will broadcast on WCTC-1450 AM and WIP-610 AM for Southern New Jersey.
The 6’4", 205-pound freshman quarterback came practically out of nowhere last week to engineer the Bison’s come-from-behind 30-29 victory over Morehouse College in the Second Annual AT&T Nation’s Football Classic.
Cunningham came into the game, the first of his collegiate career, off the bench for Howard, after starting quarterback Randy Liggins, Jr. was removed from the game for losing his composure after a third quarter Bison turnover.
For most college freshman, going into a game late in regulation would be intimidating enough.Cunningham rallied his team twice.
After driving 89 yards down the field, the Bison gave up the lead again on the ensuing Morehouse possession, forcing Cunningham was forced to rally the team once again; this time with less than two minutes and no timeouts remaining.
He did it and the fact that he did it not only made him the game’s MVP but helped him in being named this week’s Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week. He’s also, now, one of the biggest threats the Bison have in this week’s matchup with Rutgers.
It’s an offensive weapon that hasn’t gone unnoted by the Scarlet Knights.
"They do a lot of things on offense," Rutgers coach Kyle Flood said in a press conference earlier this week. "They're coming off a great win with a freshman quarterback. It'll be a good challenge for our football team."
With some experience under his belt, Cunningham has the opportunity to map out an entire game instead of just the final dregs of a fourth quarter rally. If his performance in last Saturday’s game was any indication though, the kid knows how to play football.
"This gave us an opportunity to see what would happen when we are under adversity. I mean when we get to see Jamie Cunningham play outside of practice, we did not know what to expect," Howard coach Gary Harrell said after Saturday’s victory. "We threw him into the fire and he showed that he could handle it."
The Bison will, in all likelihood, give Cunningham his first collegiate start against Rutgers on Saturday afternoon, throwing him from one metaphorical fire straight into another.
The freshman will, however, have a little extra help this time.
Howard’s All-America linebacker Keith Pough, who did not play in last week’s victory over Morehouse State, is scheduled to return to the field after dealing with early-season injuries.
- Check back here on Saturday morning for a final outlook before the Scarlet Knights open their season at home.