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.


 

 

 

Kyle Flood leads sing-a-long after Rutgers win

Rutgers football coach Kyle Flood was excited after Thursday’s upset win over Washington State, and he wasn’t afraid to show it.

Flood led a spirited rendition of “On The Banks of the Old Raritan” in front of the Rutgers’ fan section after the 41-38 victory (NJ.com, August 29).

Flood has faith in Gary Nova

Gary Nova was the clear choice for the starting quarterback job for Rutgers ad despite his tendency toward rocky ups and downs in his previous three seasons, Kyle Flood is in full support of his returning QB (NJ.com, August 27).

“I think it’s a different year,” Flood said. “He’s a different player. He’s a year older and a year wiser. When you hand somebody the ball as your quarterback, you have to give them an opportunity to learn through mistakes. I don’t put him out there this year and expect him to be perfect, and I’ve told him that. If there’s a mistake, I want it to be for the right reasons. If there’s a decision-making issue, I want it to be for the right reasons. And then we can correct that and we can move forward. I feel very comfortable he’ll do that, so no, I don’t see it that way (as having a shorter leash).”

While Nova lost the starting job last season as a junior, the co-captain said he’s focused on the future.

“I don’t have time to worry about that,” Nova said. “We have some great teams to play, so all of our focus has to be on that. I just have to play well. I can’t (think about the negatives). Not at this position.”

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.

 

LeGrand

LeGrand, Taliaferro named honorary captains for Rutgers-Penn State

Eric LeGrand and Adam Taliaferro, two of the most inspiring players in Rutgers’ and Penn State’s football histories, will be honorary captains when the schools meet for the first time as Big Ten opponents Sept. 13 in New Brunswick (Rutgers, Aug. 12).

LeGrand and Taliaferro sustained spinal cord injuries on the field and earned admiration for their courageous recovery efforts. Both will be on the field for the coin toss for the game, which starts at 8 p.m.

“It’s going to be pretty cool,” said LeGrand, whose No. 52 is the only retired jersey in Rutgers history. “Adam is a role model for me. From meeting him for the first time, seeing him on his feet again when doctors told him he’d never be on his feet, he has really pushed me during my recovery. He’s still a big inspiration to me.”

For Taliaferro, the feeling is mutual. “For me, it’s an absolute honor to share this with Eric,” he said. “Eric has inspired me ever since his injury and continues to do so each and every day.”

Taliaferro’s career-ending injury came Sept. 23, 2000, making a tackle against Ohio State. Paralyzed when he ruptured his 5th cervical vertebrae and bruised his spinal cord, the Voorhees, N.J. native was given a five percent chance by doctors of walking again. He has made a full recovery.

LeGrand was paralyzed making a tackle on a kickoff against Army at MetLife Stadium on Oct. 16, 2010, fracturing  his C-3 and C-4 cervical vertebrae. Though he remains confined to a wheelchair, paralyzed from the neck down, LeGrand said he has gained some trunk movement and occasionally has sensation in his fingers.

“What makes this so special for me is that Adam was in touch with me from the very beginning,” said LeGrand. “I remember when I was first transferred to Kessler Institute; he came to see me the first month and a half. He has been supporting me and encouraging me from the start.”

LeGrand, an Avenel, N.J. native who starred at Colonia High School, will also be working as a radio analyst for the Rutgers Radio Network during the Penn State game, doing a pre-game, halftime and post-game report. LeGrand graduated from Rutgers in May with a degree in Labor Relations and was among the speakers during commencement ceremonies as well.

A member of the Penn State Board of Trustees, Taliaferro earned his law degree from Rutgers School of Law-Camden in 2008. He currently works for Bristol Myers Squibb.