By Matt Sugam
PISCATAWAY – As Rutgers struggled to get their ground game going, Jawan Jamison couldn’t do much more than watch. With a sprained right ankle that he tweaked during the game. Jamison only carried the ball nine times for 24 yards as Rutgers rushed for a season low 50 yards on 24 carries against Pitt.
“It’s very frustrating at times watching and wanting to get out and help my team out,” Jamsion said. “But I can’t control it. I just do what my coaches tell me to do.”
Which was to sit on the bench after coming up gimpy in the third quarter. Now, Rutgers has a short week as they face Louisville on Thursday night, with the winner going to a BCS bowl. So in retrospect, Jamison is glad he was limited on Saturday.
“It’s given me more time to recover and to build up to this game,” Jamison said. “It helped me out a lot.”
No, the Starke, FL native isn’t 100% yet, but he said he’s getting there. The only thing that’s keeping him from being the player he was pre-injury is the mental hurdle.
“Right now it’s just a mental thing with me,” Jamison said. “Me like trying to favor it or favoring it without knowing, but I feel like today was a big step for me, because they [the coaches] got me going and they let me get it and run some plays to the right and to the left and see how it felt and defenders were in front of me and I was able to cut and make cuts.
“I feel like it’s just a mind thing with me.”
Jamison hopes it won’t be on his mind anymore by Thursday, just like reaching 1,000 yards isn’t. After doing so against Pitt to become just the third Rutgers running back to do so in the last 37 years, it’s one less thing on Jamison’s mind.
However with the loss, Jamison wasn’t able to relish the accomplishment. Something he hopes to change this week.
“I won’t appreciate it until we get the win this week,” Jamison said. “I wanted to reach it. I wanted to get it, but we lost, so it’s like yeah, but…”
Now, Jamison is hoping to be healthy enough for the biggest game of the season. A game where the stars will shine. And as the team’s best offensive player, Jamison feels like he’s poised for a big game.
Then again, that’s no different than the 5-foot-8, 200 pounder’s mindset any other game.
“I feel like that every game,” Jamison said. “I feel like I have to and I hold myself accountable to that and I’m going to get it done without a doubt for my team.”