Rutgers Wins Home Opener, 38-0
Paul James ran for 119 yards and three touchdowns and Rutgers defeated Norfolk State 38-0 on Saturday in its annual blowout against a Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference opponent.
James, who rushed for 182 yards in an overtime loss to Fresno State last week, scored on runs of 1, 10 and 25 yards for the Scarlet Knights (1-1).
Gary Nova added an 8-yard pass to Ruhann Peele and Savon Huggins tallied on a 1-yard for Rutgers, which has outscored MEAC teams 341-14 in games since 2006.
Rutgers’ defense, which gave up 52 points in the season opener, limited Norfolk State (0-2) to 133 yards and set up two touchdowns with turnovers against its Football Championship Subdivision foe. The Scarlet Knights piled up 423 yards.
Norfolk State has been outscored 128-0 in three games against Rutgers since 2007.
This one was pretty much over by the end of the first quarter as Rutgers took a 21-0 lead, scoring on three of its five series. The domination was so great in the first 15 minutes that only two plays were run in Scarlet Knights’ territory.
Quron Pratt got Rutgers, a Football Bowl Subdivision school, going by blocking a Dalton Fraser punt from the Spartans 41 on the second series. Anthony Cioffi recovered and advanced the ball to the 15. James walked into the end zone five plays later.
Linebacker Steve Longa forced and recovered a fumble by Rolandan Finch at the Norfolk 19 on the next series. Nova (12 of 21 for 150 yards and an interception) hit Peele for a second touchdown in less than two minutes.
A third-down punt from the 1 by quarterback Malik Stokes gave Rutgers the ball at Spartans 33 late in the quarter and James scored from 10 yards out on his fourth consecutive carry for a 21-0 lead.
An interception of Stokes by Jamal Merrell at the Norfolk State 30 early in the third quarter and a 17-yard pass from Nova to Peele on third down set up Huggins’ touchdown.
James broke the 100-yard mark rushing and scored his last touchdown on the Scarlet Knights next series, circling to the left and outracing the defense into the end zone.
Kyle Federico added a 24-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
The last Rutgers player to rush for three touchdowns in a game was Jourdan Brooks in 2009 against Howard, another MEAC team.
Stokes started the game for Norfolk State and did not have a completion in 10 attempts. Backup Tyler Clark was 5 of 10 for 44 yards. Omari Timmons finished the game for the Spartans.
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