Game recap: Penn State 13 — Rutgers 10

Result: The Scarlet Knights lost to the Nittany Lions Saturday at High Point Solutions Stadium in Rutgers’ Big Ten Conference debut.

Need to Know: Rutgers (2-1, 0-1 Big Ten) couldn’t overcome QB Gary Nova’s five interceptions. Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg led an 80-yard TD drive late in the fourth quarter. Bill Belton’s 5-yard run with 1:13 left capped the drive for the Nittany Lions (3-0, 1-0). The key play was a 53-yard pass from Hackenberg to Geno Lewis. Nova threw his final interception on Rutgers’ next possession. .. Defense and special teams nearly saved the Knights. Rutgers held Penn State to 100 yards in the first half and blocked a punt and a field goal. The Knights have blocked 39 kicks since 2009, tops in the nation. . . Jason McCourty replaced Ray Rice in the montage of former Rutgers players in the NFL shown between the first and second quarters. . . .The crowd of 53,774 set a stadium record.

Game ball: Hackenberg (24-for-43, 287 yards, 1 interception, 0 TD)

Links: AP recap | Box score

What’s Next: The Scarlet Knights visit Navy Sept. 20 (3:30 p.m.)


Rutgers’ Big Ten day finally arrives

For two years,  the big question about Rutgers football has been how competitive the Scarlet Knights will be in the Big Ten.

Saturday night at 8,  they’ll start providing answers when they host Penn State at High Point Solutions Stadium in their first game in their new, prestigious conference (AP, Sept. 12).

Both teams are 2-0. Bur in terms of tradition and on-field success, Penn State is far ahead of the Knights, whose invitation had more to do with New Jersey’s population and demographics. The game is on the Big Ten Network, an already profitable channel expected to benefit greatly by expanding into the Garden State.

“I think we just need to come out and play our game and show the world what we can do because a lot of people were writing us off at the beginning of the year,” said Rutgers tight end Tyler Kroft from Downingtown, Pa. “I guess we’re starting to get a little more attention now being 2-0 and heading into the Big Ten, but I think we need to come out and play how we can play: fast and physical. Show the world that we belong here and we’re going to be a staple in the Big Ten.”

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Game Recap: Rutgers 38 – Howard 25

Result: The Scarlet Knights defeated the Bison by a score of 38-25 Saturday afternoon in a game at High Point Solutions Stadium.

Need to Know: Rutgers may have picked up its second win of the season, but it was far from the clean game the team was looking for. Despite the sloppy outing, the Scarlet Knights went up 31-7 in the first half thanks to quarterback Gary Nova, who completed 15-of-19 attempts for 282 yards, and running back Paul James, who had three touchdowns in the first half. Running back Desmon Peoples also recorded a career-high 55 yards on 11 carries during the game.

Game ball: James, who was the first Rutgers running back in 25 years to have a 100-yard receiving game and scored three touch downs.

What’s Next: The Scarlet Knights will face Penn State on Sept. 13 in their Big Ten Conference opener.

Rutgers, James take on Howard

Rutgers opens its home schedule on Saturday against FCS member Howard at noon at High Point Solutions Stadium.

Rutgers is 1-0 after knocking off Washington State on the road last week 41-38 last week. Rutgers will pound the ball with Paul James, but the coaching staff has to be careful not to wear the star running back out. James had 173 yards on 29 carries against Washington State.

Read more in the Star-Ledger. 


Rutgers’ offensive line delivers

The Rutgers offensive line is an experienced unit and it showed in a 41-38 win on Thursday over Washington State.  The line blocked for 215 yards on the ground including 173 for running back Paul James.

The line, LT Keith Lumpkin, LG Kaleb Johnsonm C Betim Bujari, RG Chris Muller and RT Taj Alexander have a combined 104 starts.

Read more in the Star-Ledger.




Arkansas v Rutgers

QB Gary Nova among five Rutgers co-captains

Senior quarterback Gary Nova will be a Rutgers football captain for the second consecutive year, the school announced Tuesday (Rutgers, Aug. 12).

Nova, named the starter last week, was elected by a players’ vote along with strong safety Lorenzo Waters, defensive lineman David Milewski, defensive tackle Darius Hamilton and fullback Michael Burton.

Nova, who was benched for the final three games last year after starting the previous 23, is the eighth two-time Rutgers captain in the past 20 years. Rutgers opens the season Aug. 28 against Washington State in Seattle.

He joins Mike Teel (2007-08), Eric Foster (2006-07), Tres Moses (2004-05), L.J. Smith (2001-02), Gary Brackett (2001-02), Shawn Seabrooks (2001-02) and Brian Sheridan (1995 and 1997) as the eighth two-time Rutgers captain in the past two decades.

“Pretty much the best test possible,” Nova said of his 2013 season. “I pretty much went through the highest of the high and the lowest of the lows. I’m just excited for this year, not expecting anything and like coach (Ralph) Friedgen says `just shoot all of our bullets.’ ”

Teel, now an assistant coach, and Nova were both were unbeaten as starters their final two years at Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, N.J. “I copy everything he does,” Nova said, laughing.


Hayden Rettig happy about transfer to Rutgers

Quarterback Hayden Rettig is fitting in great at Rutgers training camp after transferring from LSU for this season (, August 11).

An array of coaching changes after his start at LSU made Rettig’s experience different than what he expected when he committed.

“The system wasn’t a fit,” Rettig said. “The guy who recruited me there got fired from his position and it just wasn’t feeling like home. It just changed in such a dramatic way where it just wasn’t where I needed to be at the time. I needed to find myself and figure out what I wanted to do.”

Even though other schools such as TCU and UCLA showed interest, Rettig knew it would be Rutgers from the moment he started looking for a transfer.

“There was schools coming off left and right, but it was pretty much Rutgers all the way,” Rettig said. “I didn’t visit anywhere else. Coach (Kyle) Flood called and I was like, ‘All right, let’s talk.’ “

Rettig credits coach Kyle Flood for making the choice easy.

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