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Rutgers Tops Kansas 27-14

httpss://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzodGOIq29I

In the first ever meeting between Rutgers and Kansas, the Scarlet Knights (2-2, 0-1) got back in the win column after losing two straight with a 27-14 victory over the Jayhawks (0-3) thanks to a dominating rushing attack on Homecoming.

Rutgers RB Josh Hicks / Catalina Fragoso

Rutgers RB Josh Hicks / Catalina Fragoso

Rutgers racked up an astounding 312 rushing yards, including 113 from sophomore running back Josh Hicks on 21 carries, 104 by sophomore Robert Martin on 17 carries, and 57 yards on nine carries by fifth-year senior Paul James. Quarterback Chris Laviano added 49 yards himself, and junior wide receiver Janarion Grant for two. Hicks added two touchdowns on the ground, including one that capped the Knights first drive of the third-quarter where they ran the ball on 10 of 12 plays. The 312 rushing yards are the most rushing yards since they totaled 340 in the Quick Lane Bowl last December against North Carolina.

The huge rushing total didn’t come without any mishaps as Hicks put the ball on the ground with his second fumble in as many weeks. Nonetheless, interim head coach Norries Wilson said his backs played well overall.

“When you put the ball on the ground it’s tough to play in my room,” Wilson said postgame. “We call it bringing change to the room. That’s what we call it. So I talked to them about, 312 yards, it makes you feel good, but there’s things we have to clean up. We can’t put the ball on the ground because the game can change with any turnovers.

I’m always proud of them. I think they do a good job. And Josh, he feels bad about putting the ball on the ground. They are selfless with one another. So I’m happy with the production and hopefully we can continue to do that for the program.”

The Knights spread out the carries and opportunities for the backs, and implemented a fourth, junior Justin Goodwin as the third-down back to keep them rested.

“What I tried to do today was try to keep fresh legs,” Wilson said. “I’d give a guy two or three carries for the most part and put a fresh set of legs out there, hit them hard a couple times and then put another guy back out. There was a series where I let Josh get five or six in a row or let P.J. get four or five in a row. I think it worked today because we had some good blocking up front.”

Hicks added: “When your number’s called, you have to be ready. Most times you won’t have the opportunity, so when you get the ball you have to make the best of it.”

Rutgers WR Carlton Agudosi (13) scored his first career touchdown this past Saturday / Catalina Fragoso

Rutgers WR Carlton Agudosi (13) scored his first career touchdown this past Saturday / Catalina Fragoso

Through the air, Laviano completed 18 passes to nine different receivers for 201 yards and two touchdowns, but also threw two interceptions (one was on a Hail-Mary to end the first half). Rutgers finished with 513 yards of total offense, the most since finishing with 539 in the season opener versus Norfolk State. Laviano connected with redshirt junior Carlton Agudosi on a 14-yard lob his first reception score of his career and tight end Matt Flanagan.

The defense put the breaks on the Jayhawks offense who came into the matchup averaging 30 points per game. The Knights caused three Kansas turnovers on downs, sacked the quarterback three times, registered 10 quarterback hurries, and added an interception by senior linebacker Kaiwan Lewis after Laviano threw his first pick.

“This morning, when we met before we came over, we talked about what he had to do to win the football game and we talked about on defense we have to stop the run, limit the big play and we have to stop the run,” Wilson said. “We gave up some big plays but we had to stop the run.

“I think they averaged, 64 yards on 29 carries and that’s a good day’s work against anyone, especially when they had a backup quarterback that was doing the things they were doing. I hope the young man they had to put out of the game, the quarterback, I hope he’s going to be okay. You never want to see a young man hurt. That might have changed a few things, how they planned to attack us, but the defensive line and the linebackers, they did a good job stopping the run.”

On a side note, Kansas junior safety Tevin Shaw, who is from Piscataway, finished with 10 total tackles on the day.

“I feel pretty well. There are always things I can do better. But overall I think it was a decent game for me. We stayed right down the street at a hotel we’ve stayed at before. Walking through this tunnel again reminded me of the state championship game (2011 North Jersey Section 2, Group 4 win at Rutgers versus Elizabeth). It was surreal.”

Rutgers is off next week and returns with a primetime “blackout” under the lights at High Points Solutions Stadium against current No. 2 ranked team in Michigan State on Oct. 10.

httpss://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FiKk9EqLz4

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