After Beating Arkansas, Rutgers Football Enters Top 25
Added by Gregg Snyder on September 24, 2012.
Photo courtesy of BigEast.org
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights came away with a signature win this weekend on the road against Arkansas. The Scarlet Knights went into SEC country and proved they can play with the big boys. Yes, they beat an Arkansas team with issues. But, it’s still an Arkansas team that was ranked in the Top 10 earlier this season and a roster full of SEC talent.
The 35-26 win improves Rutgers’ overall record to 4-0 entering this week’s bye. They return to the field on October 6, at home against Connecticut.
It wasn’t always pretty, but Rutgers did what it needed to do against Arkansas. Nobody thought the defense would be able to shut down the Razorbacks and their star quarterback Tyler Wilson. And they didn’t. In fact, the numbers are quite ugly. Rutgers did however make some big stops when they needed to. If you know and/or follow my writings on Rutgers, you know I’ve always felt they were a defense susceptible to the big play. Arkansas took advantage of that and had multiple big plays on Saturday. The defense hung tough and did enough to help get the win.
The question for many, which most probably doubted, was if Rutgers would have enough offense to stay in the game. Sophomore quarterback Gary Nova took the team on his back and answered those questions. All preseason there was talk about the high octane potential of the Rutgers offense. Through the first three games, there was no sign of that. However, on Saturday, Nova and the offense looked explosive.
Nova was 25-of-35 for 397 yards and five touchdowns. He did not thrown an interception. Nova looked like a confident, strong, good quarterback. While Jawan Jamison went over the 100-yard rushing mark once again, the running game had trouble finding consistency so Nova took to the air. Jamison finished with 118 yards on 33 carries.
Rutgers saw eight different players catch a pass from Nova. Brandon Coleman led the team with six receptions for 89 yards and two touchdowns. Mark Harrison four catches for 87 yards, including a big 60-yard score that essentially clinched the game for Rutgers. The other touchdown grabs were by Jamison and tight end Paul Carrezola.
Defensively, Rutgers was led by Jamal Merrell who recorded 10 tackles. Khaseem Greene, Logan Ryan, and Steve Beauharnais each recorded seven tackles with Ryan getting two tackles-for-loss. Rutgers intercepted two passes, one by Ryan and the other by Duron Harmon.
The latest Top 25 poll releases on Sunday has Rutgers at No. 23 in the nation, sandwiched between Nebraska and Boise State. The only other Big East team in the Top 25 is Louisville who sits at No. 19. This is the first time Rutgers has been ranked in the AP poll since November 15, 2009. Rutgers has started a season 4-0 for just the 12th time in school history.
For those fans attending the home game on Saturday, October 6, against Connecticut. Rutgers is asking all fans to wear black to the game as it has been called the “Black Out” game on the schedule. The team will wear their new all black uniforms for the first time this season.