As we enjoy this Sunday morning in middle of the summer, let's enjoy the fact that we are now less than 8 weeks away from the start of the 2016 college football season. The beginning of the #AshEra is now just 7 Saturdays away! There are now 55 days until Rutgers kicks off their season against Washington in Seattle.
With that thought, one of the biggest plays of the 2015 season was a 55 yard punt return by Janarion Grant in the waning minutes of the second game against Washington State. It would have been one of the signature plays of the season if the defense would have held the lead Grant gave them with 1:31 left in the game. Instead, Washington State quarterback Luke Falk threw his fourth touchdown pass of the game, hitting River Cracraft from 8 yards out with 13 seconds to play. The punt return was for naught.
Rutgers lost a heartbreaker, Carroo was suspended hours after, and the season was well on its way to a disaster. Still, that shouldn't diminish the performance of Grant in this game. In addition to the punt return, he had an 100 yard kickoff return, 5 catches for 65 yards and one rush for 21 yards. He finished with a program record of 339 yards of total offense. A career game wasted by too many mistakes on both sides of the ball by Rutgers. However, this game should serve as a reminder of how much of a force Grant can be this coming season. Inexplicably, Grant was non consistently utilized on offense during the 2015 season. That will not be the case with offensive coordinator Drew Mehringer, who will utilize Grant in multiple ways in the spread offense.
Of course, Grant has starred as a kick and punt returner since his first game at Rutgers, when he opened the 2013 season with a kickoff return at Fresno State. Last season, he led the country in kick return yards and touchdowns. Astonishingly, the Big Ten coaches voted Grant onto the conference third team, an injustice that our own Griffin Whitmer called the snub of the century!
Enjoy one of Grant's most clutch plays in a Rutgers uniform with the clip below of his 55 yard punt return. We can expect many more big plays from him this coming year. Aside from his special teams play, the potential he has playing in the spread offense should be a downright scary thought for opposing defenses. In Grills We Trust!