Perhaps Rutgers did get caught looking ahead.
With a 31-7 lead at half and all the momentum in their back pockets, Rutgers looked ready to cruise towards a serious blowout. With just one second half touchdown however, the Knights let Howard back into the game by allowing 18 points in the third and fourth quarters on 296 yards of offense.
The secondary definitely improved statistically, as they allowed a meager 168 yards through the air, including a pick off of Howard QB Greg McGhee. The top-ranked rush defense looked anything but dominant, as the Bison stampeded for 269 yards total on the ground. Howard ran for four touchdowns by four different players, including a 70-yard rush by Terrence Tusan.
Offensively, offensive coordinator Ralph Friedgen continues to showcase his expertise at directing a balanced, potent attack. The Bison did everything they could to bottle up Paul James, but he still found the end zone three times this afternoon. This week, he did it mostly on screen passes. After a shocking early touchdown drive from Howard, Rutgers answered with a well-timed screen play to James that went 69 yards for a score. QB Gary Nova looked sharp all afternoon besides one near-interception early in the game. He finished with 282 yards on 15 of 19 passing, four touchdowns, and no interceptions. Leonte Carroo scored on a nice pitch and catch early, while Tyler Kroft now has one catch for five yards in two games.
It was a bit of a roller coaster defensively for Rutgers, but the team can finally look ahead to the game that we've been waiting for since the Big Ten came calling almost two years ago. Look for more coverage on Howard tomorrow, as well as full coverage of Penn State week on OtB.