Boy, oh boy, this game was stressful for way too long. It reminded me, and the announcers alike, of that game in the Flood era a few years ago when Howard went up early against us and we scored 35 unanswered points en route to a convincing victory. Yeah, that happened again but this time in the #AshEra.
Howard went up 14-0 on the Knights really early in the game and, man, were people frustrated. Kalen Johnson was dominant in his first two drives, but thankfully Howard has two quarterbacks. After the drives from Johnson, he was replaced by the second Quarterback Jason Collins, who did not really do too well needless to say.
Right after Howard went up 14-0, the kickoff that followed finally gave the team and the fans and myself some hope again. Janarion Grant had a spectacular run down the field on the kickoff to put Rutgers on the board 14-7.
Rutgers could not tackle anybody in the first half. Howard was well over 50% on third down conversions and got big plays on plays they should not have gotten much yardage. Thankfully, they were competent enough to keep Howard at 14 points through the end of the half.
Before the half, though, Laviano actually made a beautiful throw for a score. He tossed it 22 yards to Andre Patton for the touchdown tying the game at 14. The game would stay tied at 14 going into the second half.
Needless to say, Coach Ash had some adjustments to make and reteach his team how to tackle and run offense. They only had 8:50 in time of possession in the first half and were out-rushed by Howard by over 100 yards. They were lucky the game was tied.
Less than a minute into the second half, the Knights came to life. Grant received a direct snap from the center and took it to the house on a mind-blowing run. This puts Rutgers up 21-14 and the fans finally came alive as you could hear the R! U! battles going on in the stadium.
Not even five minutes later, Laviano scrambled and found the open receiver Carlton Agudosi in the end zone for a 28-14 lead.
Then, not three minutes after that touchdown, Janarion Grant got his third score of the game by somehow keeping balance and getting the score from the backfield. Rutgers has now scored 35 unanswered points, just like last time these teams met. 35-14 Rutgers.
As the fourth quarter had just come to fruition, Rutgers scored yet again. Jawuan Harris, an All Big Ten baseball player, got his second ever reception for the 29 yard score. 42-14 Rutgers. This is glorious. Finally points and defensive stands!
Then, backup Rutgers Quarterback, Giovanni Rescigno, has a beast mode run of 42 yards by somehow shaking off the defenders for the score. Rutgers goes in front at this point 49-14 and I have almost forgotten about the first half at this point.
The run game is alive. The passing game is alive. The defense is alive. The special teams are alive. The Banks are alive.
Most of all, Janarion Grant is alive as he rushed, yes rushed, for 106 yards and two touchdowns today on top of his 84-yard kickoff return touchdown. He is an absolute beast.
I love how Ash used his backups near the end to keep them fresh, too. You never know if Laviano can stay as good as he was in the second half. You never know if someone will get injured. You simply never know, so it is good to get the backups experience and playing time to keep them game-ready.
It was exciting to see Tylin Oden and even Trey Sneed enter the game. They are both great young bodies that really have potential to lead this program the next couple of years. Oden really did a good job of moving the offense and keeping his composure. I am excited for more of this kid. Even Sneed moved the pile a few yards on his carries. Great effort from these kids, I love it.
Rutgers kicked a field goal on an eight minute drive led by Oden to make it 52-14. No other scoring happened afterwards and Rutgers took knees to end the game. Rutgers wins 52-14 for their first win of the season and of the #AshEra
What a day on the banks of the ol'Raritan. A little Rutgers football scare followed by some Rutgers football dominance. I love it, and I hope this builds some momentum for the future because we really looked good in the second half.
Bring on New Mexico, baby