Rutgers Posts Shutout Over Howard
Piscataway, NJ—(www.howard-bison.com)—Rutgers parlayed some stingy defense and a balanced offensive attack to blank Howard, 26-0 in a non-conference game at High Point Solutions Stadium before 50, 855.
The Bison (1-1) got an early break when junior safety Julien David picked off a Gary Nova pass and returned it 22 yards to set up a potential touchdown. Aided by some Scarlet Knights' penalties, Howard had a third and goal at the Scarlet Knights three-yard line but a bad exchange between quarterback Jamie Cunningham and running back William Parker resulted in a fumble that stymied the Bison drive and helped Rutgers dodge a bullet.
The young Bison, who start and play a number of true freshmen, refused to fold and played their opponent from the Big East tough. But Howard could not get anything going offensively against the tough Rutgers defense, gaining only three yards of total offense in the first quarter.
With the defense playing the way it was playing and field position being a factor, the Scarlet Knights were able to finally get on the board when Savon Huggins punched it in from a yard out to make it 7-0 with 2:08 remaining. It capped off the nine-play drive that was buoyed by a 64-yard run by Jawan Jamison.
The Bison defense continued to play tough but the offense was still unable to penetrate the Scarlet Knights defense. Rutgers next score came courtesy off a Bison special teams miscue when Brandon Jones returned a blocked John Fleck punt six yards to give the Scarlet Knights a 13-0 lead at the 12:47 mark of the second quarter.
Rutgers (2-0) added another score five minutes later when Brandon Coleman the first of two TD passes, this one from 32 yards. It gave the Scarlet Knights a 19-0 halftime advantage.
The Bison were able to do a much better job on offense in the second half by moving the ball in spurts. But each time they threatened to score, the Scarlet Knights defense would hold serve. With the 19-0 lead and a staunch defensive effort, Rutgers turned to a power running and eventually wore down Howard with a signature, 9-play, 91-yard drive that took almost five minutes off the clock to close out the scoring and post the shutout.
There were several bright spots for the young Bison in defeat. Sophomore running back Aquanius Freeman and freshman William Parker displayed some tough running for the second straight week. Freeman picked 32 yards while Parker rushed for a team-high 51 yards. Cunningham made his first start and completed 9 of 18 passes for 68 yards before leaving the game with an injury in the fourth quarter. Junior tight end David Wilson had another solid game with 4 receptions.
On defense, the Bison welcomed back senior linebacker Keith Pough and senior safety DeCarlos Knight. Pough tallied 9 tackles and picked up two tackles for losses. He now needs four to break the FCS career record. Knight picked up 11 tackles and junior safety Julien David had another sterling effort with a team-high 16 tackles and his second interception of the season.
The attendance was the fourth largest in school history.
NEXT UP: The Bison travel to Norfolk, VA to take on the defending champs, Norfolk State in the conference opener at 4 pm in Dick Price Stadium.