Rutgers Capitalizes on Howard Mistakes in 45-7 Win
PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Jourdan Brooks rushed for 124 yards and three TDs, Tom Savage passed 223 yards and two scores and Rutgers capitalized on big plays and mistakes to defeat Howard, 45-7 in a non-conference game before 43,722 at Rutgers Stadium.
The Bison (0-1) appeared to grab
the momentum early when Lanny Kelly recovered a fumble deep in
Rutgers' territory. Floyd Haigler connected with tailback
Charles Brice on an 8-yard pass on first down, giving Howard a
second- and-2 at the Scarlet Knights' 16-yard line. But the
momentum quickly shifted back the other way as the ball slipped out
of Haigler's hands and Rutgers recovered at their own 21.
The Scarlet Knights took advantage and went 62 yards in six plays. But the Bison buckled down on defense and forced a 34-yard field goal as Rutgers led, 3-0 at the 11:09 mark of the first quarter.
Howard was able to move the ball on the ensuing possession, gaining 29 yards on three plays. But then a series of penalties that would plague the Bison all game, forced them to punt.
That is when Rutgers set the tone for the key point of game. The Scarlet Knights (1-1) embarked on a six-play, 82-yard drive as Brooks capped off the drive with a six-yard run.
Still Howard was able to move the ball, gaining 37 yards on its first two plays. But then the Bison were hit with20four straight penalties that stopped the drive and were forced them to punt. It took Rutgers two plays to go 67 yards as Savage connected with Jack Corcoran from 21 yards out. The score was set up by a 46-yard pass play to DC Jefferson.
The Scarlet Knights would go on to ring up 32 points in the second quarter. The Bison were able to get on the board when Haigler connected with Willie Carter, who got inside the cornerback on a slant pattern and maneuvered his way to a 40-yard score.
"I thought that we did some good things early," said Howard Coach Carey Bailey. "We got that turnover early but did not take advantage of it. They went down the field and got three points. But then we had a couple of busts and they had two big plays. We had some defensive miscues and the next thing you know it is 25-0. When20you get up like that in a game, you are able to be more reckless on defense and try some things that will cause your opponents problems."
The Scarlet Knights, who came under a little fire after dropping their home opener to Cincinnati, 45-17, appeared to benefit from having that one game experience under their belt.
Savage, a true freshman, in his first start, played the first series of the third quarter before retiring 8-of-13 for 223 yards and the two TD passes. Jourdan closed out his day with 124 yards on 17 carries, including a 57-yard jaunt for a TD.
"They are a good team," said Coach
Bailey, in his third year at the helm. "They made a lot of
improvements from Game One to Game Two, as most teams do. They
played well and made more plays than we did=2 0and they made fewer
mistakes. That is what we hope to do in our second game."
Haigler, a red-shirt senior, had one of his most effective days despite the loss, completing 12 of 27 for 151 yards and a TD while rushing for a career-high 55 yards on 14 carries.
Carter, a sophomore and the 2008 MEAC Rookie of the Year, showed no ill effects of the injury (fractured leg) that cut his season short after six games. He grabbed five passes for 94 yards and drew a pass interference call from the Rutgers' defense.
The Bison did not help themselves by losing three fumbles and being called for 14 penalties for 121 yards. Under Coach Bailey, the Bison have been one of the least penalized teams in the MEAC.
Defensively, red-shirt freshman Keith Pough had a good day, with 10 tackles, two for losses. Fellow linebackers Patrick Jean-Mary and Ian Simon each collected 8 tackles.
"I think this was a great teaching point for us," reflected Howard senior defensive end Will Croner. "They jumped out on us in the first half by taking advantage of some of our mistakes. We did some talking at halftime and regrouped. We said that we could either buckle down and play with more pride or make it ugly and let them score another 42 points. I think the team dealt well with the adversity and I am encouraged about moving on to the next game. I think that it will be a positive for us the rest of the season."
NEXT UP: The Bison have a short week as they travel to Tallahassee, FL to take on the Rattlers of Florida A&M in a 7:30 pm match-up on Thursday. The game will be broadcasted live on ESPNU.