Rutgers Scarlet Knights: New Season, New Team
What better way for a team who has a lot to prove to gain respect to start a season than beating a team with one of the best quarterbacks in college football this season. The Rutgers Scarlet Knights defeated Washington State in a purely offensive battle, 41-38. The fourth quarter victory was the first ever victory over a PAC-12 opponent for the Scarlet Knights. In all, Rutgers started off the season with a bang, showing this is a new team from last season.
Johnathan Aiken, the Rutgers Hero
Backup safety Johnathan Aiken made the game winning play when he knocked the ball lose on a Cougars punt return. Paul James then scored the winning touchdown, giving the Knights the three point lead. The senior then sealed the victory with a huge block on a fourth down pass with just 53 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Nova Starts off Strong and Shows leadership
What better way to silence critics than by throwing a 78-yard touchdown pass to former high school teammate, Leontee Caroo. Nova, who notoriously gets intercepted, only threw one. After the first touchdown pass, Nova was relatively quiet during the first half, but settled down in the second half. Nova ended the night completing 16-of-27 passes for 281 yards and two touchdowns. The senior captain showed leadership mixing up the plays between passing and rushing yards.
Rutgers Running Game Continues to be Biggest Offensive Weapon
Starting his Rutgers career as a walk-on, sophomore Paul James proved that last season was not just luck. James recorded 110 yards during the first half alone, including his 56-yard touchdown. James ended the game recording 173 yards and three touchdowns, including the game winner. James continuously found the hole in the Cougar defense averaging six yards per carry.
Defensive Line Shut Down the Run
The defense permitted just six yards on the ground last night making the running game basically non-existent for the Cougars. The defense also provided pressure on quarterback Connor Halliday, with two sacks coming from Kemoko Turay and one from Darius Hamilton.
Weak Secondary Held Their Own
During the first half, the Rutgers secondary shut down senior quarterback Connor Halliday, but ended the game having allowed 525 yards and five touchdowns. Rutgers held their own and, considering the injuries and preseason speculations, the Scarlet Knights worked with what they had. In his first start on defense, Justin Goodwin recorded an interception on the first defensive drive. Senior cornerback Gareef Glashen also improved since last season recording eight total tackles.
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