Rutgers: Defense Stars, Offense Finds Pulse in Win Over South Florida
Added by Gregg Snyder on September 14, 2012.
Gary Nova (#15) threw for 277 yards and a touchdown in the 23-13 win over South Florida. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
First year head coach Kyle Flood got his first Big East win, a 23-13 triumph over South Florida. Rutgers is now 3-0 overall, 1-0 in the Big East and has an early step up on the conference competition.
Rutgers took the national stage on ESPN and showed why their defense is so hyped. Khaseem Greene and the Rutgers defense put together another tremendous performance against their stiffest test yet. For the most part, Rutgers shut down the South Florida running game, holding them to 95 yards. Take away the 68 by USF QB B.J. Daniels and South Florida had only 27 yards on the ground. With no rushing attach, South Florida was forced to go to the air. Rutgers did a good job of getting enough pressure on Daniels, forcing him into bad throws resulting in three interceptions.
The Scarlet Knights defense is as good as advertised.
The large question mark leading up to the game was how the offense would perform. Through two games against lesser competition, the offense was inconsistent, at best. Many questions whether or not Gary Nova was the right QB to lead the team. The sophomore may have answered those questions and at least quieted his critics for the time being. Nova finished the game 23-of-42 for 277 yards and a touchdown. The most important stat of the night is the zero in the turnover column for Nova.
Rutgers moved the ball at will in the first half, especially on the ground. Jawan Jamison was a workhorse, using some speed and a lot of power running to grab chunks of yardage. Despite moving the ball up and down the field, Rutgers managed just a lone field goal in the first half, a 51-yard kick by freshman Kyle Federico with 28 seconds remaining before halftime.
Rutgers trailed 6-3 at the half.
South Florida made some adjustments and slowed down Jamison in the second half. Rutgers found themselves in many third down situations, the majority being third and long. That’s when Nova was at his best. Rutgers was 8-of-19 on third down conversions. He wasn’t perfect, but Nova did a very good job of managing the game and not making mistakes. He was also able to spread the ball around, with seven players catching at least one pass.
Tim Wright had a big day with eight catches for 125 yards. Mark Harrison, D.C. Jefferson, Quron Pratt, and Brandon Coleman all had big catches at some point in the game. Whether they were first down grabs on third down, or the touchdown by Harrison in the third quarter. Rutgers showed they indeed have the ability to have a balanced offensive attack, something many had been questioning before the game.
Even when USF slowed him down in the second half, Rutgers continued to lean on Jawan Jamison to keep the ball moving and the clock running. Rutgers dominated time of possession in the second half, having the ball over 21 minutes compared to just over eight for South Florida.
Jamison finished with a school record 41 carries for 151 yards and a touchdown. His 41-yard touchdown scamper with just over a minute left in the game capped the scoring and put the game away for the Scarlet Knights. Jamison showed his athleticism with a video game type spin move to get loose before taking off for the end zone.
Rutgers is 3-0 for the first time since 2007 and are now 6-2 all-time against South Florida. Kyle Flood became the first head coach since John Bateman in 1960 to start their career 3-0.