Houston on Horizon for Rutgers Homecoming
Added by Breanna Casey on October 24, 2013.
Homecoming weekend for Rutgers as the football team hosts Houston for the first time ever. (Photo by Juan Martinez)
ESPNews will be broadcasting this Saturday’s game when the Rutgers Scarlet Knights host the Houston Cougars on their home turf. The noon kickoff time has already spurred excitement, as the student section of High Point Solutions Stadium sold out in less than 24 hours.
Houston will come to the first meeting of the two teams with an impressive record of 5-1, losing only to BYU by a one-point margin in a 47-46 loss.
The play of Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova ended shakily since the Scarlet Knights last took the field 34 days ago, and his improvement is absolutely essential in pulling out a win against Houston. The Knights are 52-27-2 in homecoming day battles, and if Nova brings his best, that record should surely improve with another win.
Sophomore tight-end Tyler Kroft will also be a big player on Saturday. He was recently added to the John Mackey Award Midseason Watch List. Kroft has been an impressive facet of the offense of late, managing to score a touchdown in three straight games. If Nova can thread the needle with Kroft efficiently, the Cougars defense will have a lot on their hands.
The defense may prove to be more important than the offense on Saturday, as the Scarlet Knights will be up against a tough spread offense headed by Cougar freshman quarterback John O’Korn. The underclassmen at the helm threw for 363 yards and three touchdowns against BYU.
Rutgers secondary has had a rough start this season. The news of Ian Thomas transferring and season ending injury to Lew Toler are the latest blows to the position group. Three of Rutgers’ top four cornerbacks are now true freshman. Junior Gareef Glashen is the only upper classman. The two starters will be Nadir Barnwell and Anthony Cioffi, both freshman. Also expected to see time in the secondary on Saturday is freshman Delon Stephenson who was previously a safety but moved to corner out of necessity.
Can the young corners hang with the high powered offense of Houston?