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Rutgers Football Rallies Past Temple 23-20

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (November 2, 2013) –The Rutgers defense halted Temple on fourth and 1 with 1:50 remaining and junior quarterback Gary Nova (Elmwood Park, N.J.) responded, finding single coverage on sophomore wideout Leonte Carroo (Edison, N.J.) on a fourth and 10 from the 33-yard line to complete a comeback win Saturday afternoon at High Point Solutions Stadium.

Nova went 5-for-7 for 72 yards on RU’s game-winning drive, capped by Carroo’s second touchdown of the game with 35 seconds left in regulation to seal the victory. The Don Bosco products spearheaded the offensive attack in the win, as Nova was 27-for-38with 371 yards and three touchdowns and Carroo hauled in seven catches for 147 yards and two scores.

“It’s an all or nothing play in terms of, yes, you either make the first down or the game is over,” said head coach Kyle Flood of the game-winning touchdown. “But it’s not just an all-or-nothing play to Leonte; it just so happens he has had the one-on-one and we feel like he’s going to win, and he has had separation in all three of those cases where he’s caught it.  Fortunate for us we can put him out there.”

The RU defense made the comeback possible, bearing down to stop a 7:04-minute Temple drive and return possession to the offense.

The Scarlet Knights faced a must-stop, fourth and 1 opportunity with 1:50 left on the clock andcame up big, as junior linebacker Kevin Snyder (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) and redshirt freshman linebacker Steve Longa (Saddle Brook, N.J.) combined for the fourth down stop.

The turnover on downs was the first for Temple in the game and came in a big spot, allowing Nova to guide the offense down field for the game-winning score.

“[We ran] an inside cross blitz that we run quite a bit, it’s not unusual, and in that situation you have to stop them or the game is over,” Flood said. “We had the safety up tighter, but those guys did a nice job of penetrating and making the tackle.

“I thought Temple did a good job of running the ball in the fourth quarter.  I thought we heldthem in check early in the game, but they did find a couple of runs in the fourth quarter, where they were moving it on us.”

Temple got the ball back with 28 seconds left on the clock, but the RU defense closed it out, as redshirt freshman Ruhann Peele (Linden, N.J.) forced and recovered a Ryan Aldermann fumble to end the contest.  It was Peele’s first career game in the secondary as he moved to cornerback this week in practice.

Earlier in the quarter, Temple’s Kenneth Harper broke loose on a third and 2 from the RU 25-yard line, taking it the rest of the way for a touchdown and 20-16 Owls lead with 10:57 left on the clock. It was the longest rush of the game by either team, putting the pressure on RU to bounce back from a deficit.

A fumble by freshman running back Justin Goodwin (Summit, N.J.) on the subsequent possession allowed the Owls to retain possession on their own 17-yard line with 8:54 left in the contest. Temple would take thenext 7:04 minutes off the clock before the RU defense came up big on fourth and 1 from the RU 28-yard line.

After trailing 13-3 entering the halftime locker rooms, RU got to work fast to begin the secondhalf, scoring 13 unanswered points to take their first lead of the game.

A 34-yard touchdown grab by Carroo put the Scarlet Knights ahead, 16-13, with 14:03 left in the fourth quarter. Senior linebacker Jamal Merrell’s (Bear, Del.) second interception of the season set RU for the score, as one play was all Nova needed to get in the end zone and take the lead.

Nova’s first touchdown pass was caught by junior fullback Michael Burton (Long Valley, N.J.) – the second touchdown reception of his career – with 10:37 remaining in the third quarter. The drive took just three plays and 1:12 minutes and made it a 13-9 game after a missed extra point.

The Scarlet Knights’ only points of the first half came courtesy of a 30-yard field goal by sophomore Kyle Federico (Ponte Vedra, Fla.). The points made it a 6-3 game with 11:00 minutes left in the first quarter.

Rutgers heads into its second bye week of the season before returning to Piscataway on Saturday, Nov. 16 to take on Cincinnati. The Scarlet Knights defeated the Bearcats 10-3 last season at Nippert Stadium.



  • First career start: CB Delon Stephenson, SS Johnathan Aiken


  • Today’s game marked the 36th meeting between Rutgers and Temple. RU leads the all-time series 21-15. The ScarletKnights have only played three current FBS teams more: Syracuse (43), Army (43) and West Virginia (39).
  • Rutgers won its third game this season when trailing in the fourth quarter or overtime (Arkansas, SMU).
  • RU improved to 11-1 in the last two seasons when holding a team to 20 or less points.
  • Rutgers is now 13-of-17 on fourth down conversions this season. Gary Nova’s game-winning 33-yard touchdown pass to Leonte Carroo came on 4th and 10.
  • The offense has allowed just two sacks in the past two games.


  • WR Leonte Carroo recorded career-highs with seven receptions and 147 yards in thegame. His two touchdowns bring his season total to nine, one short of the program single-season record. Carroo is tied for third in Rutgers single-season history with Mark Harrison (9, 2010), Tim Brown (9, 2009) and Bob Simms (9,1958). Brandon Coleman (10, 2012) and Marco Battaglia (10, 1995) hold the single-season record with 10 touchdown receptions.
  • Eight of Carroo’s touchdowns have come in the fourth quarter or later in 2013. The game-winner was his second 33-yard score on fourth down in the fourth quarter this season.
  • QB Gary Nova had a career-high 27 completions in the win, also netting a season-best 371yards (second best yardage of his career).
  • Nova’s three passing touchdowns bring his career total to 50, nine shy of the program record. It was his fifth comeback win when trailing in the fourth quarter or overtime (2011: Syracuse, Navy; 2013: Arkansas, SMU, Temple) and first on a two-minute drill.
  • Nova’s 371 passing yards are the eighth-best total in RU single-game history.
  • Making his first career start, CB Delon Stephenson recorded his career interception on the first Temple drive of the game. He also had three tackles and two quarterback hurries in the game.
  • Seeing his first career action on defense, CB Ruhann Peele picked up a sack on a blitz in the first quarter. He also forced and recovered a fumble in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
  • FB Michael Burton notched his second career receiving touchdown in the third quarter. His other score came against Army at Yankee Stadium Nov. 12, 2011.
  • LB Jamal Merrell picked off his second pass of the season and third of his career. He also had nine tackles.
  • LB Steve Longa and LB Kevin Snyder tied for the team lead with 12 tackles. Longa has now led the team in tackles in six games this season. Longa leads RU with 80 tackles in 2013, including one onfourth down late in the fourth quarter to setup the RU winning drive.

DALLAS (Oct. 5, 2013) – In its conference-opener, the Rutgers football team downed SMU in thrilling fashion, 55-52, in 3OT at Ford Stadium, Saturday. True freshman RB Justin Goodwin (Summit, N.J.) rushed for 149 yards and scored three touchdowns to help the Scarlet Knights to victory.

Offensively, Goodwin also led the squad with 73 yards receiving and junior QB Gary Nova (Elmwood Park, N.J.) threw for 283 yards and four touchdowns. Sophomore WR Leonte Carroo (Edison, N.J.) caught two touchdown passes, both in overtime. Defensively, redshirt freshman LB Steve Longa (Saddle Brook, N.J.) accumulated 14 tackles, including a sack. As a team, Rutgers totaled four sacks in the game.

Goodwin secured the Rutgers win in the third overtime with a 17-yard touchdown scamper, breaking numerous tackles on the way to give the Scarlet Knights the 55-52 victory.

The Scarlet Knights started off strong, holding the Mustangs to a three-and-out on its first possession of the game. On the ensuing possession, RU started at the SMU 47-yard line. On the first play, Nova connected with junior FB Michael Burton (Long Valley, N.J.) for 17 yards. Two plays later, he hit sophomore TE Tyler Kroft (Downingtown, Pa.) in the middle of the field just three yards from the goal line for a 21-yard gain. On third-and-goal, Nova ran into the corner of the end zone on a designed quarterback run for the first rushing touchdown of his career. RU led 7-0 with 11:03 on the clock in the first.

Two possessions later, Rutgers extended its lead to 14-0 with a defensive touchdown by freshman CB Nadir Barnwell (Piscataway, N.J.). A snap went over Mustang QB Garrett Gilbert and rolled into the end zone. Gilbert picked up, and was hit by DT Darius Hamilton (West Paterson, N.J.), who forced the fumble that Barnwell recovered for the touchdown with 6:44 remaining in the opening stanza.

Opening the second quarter with the ball, RU was driving again. On third-and-11, Nova connected with freshman RB Justin Goodwin (Summit, N.J.) on a screen play, and Goodwin scampered 50 yards for his first career touchdown. The Scarlet Knights took a 21-0 lead with 12:04 left in the first half.

SMU scored on the next drive to cut the lead to 21-7 with 8:06 remaining in the half, capped by a Gilbert pass to WR Jeremy Johnson on a fourth-and-1 play for a 21-yard touchdown. The Mustangs’ drive lasted 3:48, going 75 yards on nine plays. The score would remain 21-7 heading to the break.

On its opening drive of the second half, SMU got on the board again as Gilbert found WR Keenan Holman for a 55-yard touchdown strike to trim Rutgers’ lead to 21-14 with 11:57 on the clock in the third quarter.

Rutgers answered on its next possession with the help of 56 yards on the ground from Goodwin. The scoring drive, which was seven plays for 66 yards, was capped by a 10-yard strike from Nova to Kroft in the corner of the end zone. The Scarlet Knights took a 28-14 lead at the 8:24 mark in the third.

Near the end of the third quarter, highlighted by a 56-yard pass and catch from Nova to junior WR Brandon Coleman (Accokeek, Md.), Rutgers put together another scoring drive. Goodwin crossed the goal line for the second time in the game on a two-yard rush, putting RU ahead 35-14 heading into the final period.

In its first drive of the fourth quarter, Gilbert connected with Johnson for another touchdown, capping a 17-play, 74-yard SMU drive with 11:08 left to play. The Mustangs missed the extra point, leaving the score 35-20 in favor of Rutgers.

With 3:38 remaining in the game, SMU cut the lead to 35-27 Rutgers. Gilbert hit Darius Joseph for a six-yard touchdown pass, set up by a 69-yard completion to JaBryce Taylor four plays earlier that put the Mustangs on the RU 18-yard line.

SMU attempted the onside kick, but couldn’t convert. Rutgers went for it on fourth down on the ensuing possession, but wasn’t successful. The Mustangs took over at their own 35-yard line with 2:24 left in regulation.

Following a 43-yard pass from Gilbert to Johnson, SMU had the ball at the RU 20-yard line. Three plays later, Gilbert found Johnson again, who extended across the goal line for a 13-yard score. Down by two, 35-33, with 1:19 remaining, the Mustangs went for the two-point conversion, where Gilbert found Johnson in the back of the end zone to tie the game.

Rutgers took over at its own 34-yard line with 1:14 on the clock. An RU fumble gave the Mustangs the ball at their own 36-yard line with 50 seconds left in regulation, but wouldn’t score to send the game into overtime.

The Mustangs had the first possession of the first overtime period, On third-and-five, Gilbert hit Taylor for a 17-yard pass-and-catch to give SMU the ball on the RU three-yard line. Gilbert rushed for a Mustang touchdown on the following play to give SMU a 42-35 lead.

The Scarlet Knights got their chance to answer. RU converted on two fourth down plays and capped the possession with a four-yard touchdown pass from Nova to Carroo to send the game into a second overtime period tied at 42-42.

RU received the ball first in the second overtime. On third-and-24, Nova again found Carroo for a 29-yard touchdown to put the Scarlet Knights up 49-42.

SMU matched RU in its portion of the second overtime, with Gilbert running the ball in from one-yard out to finish the possession.

The Mustangs started the third overtime with the ball and converted on a 37-yard field goal from Chase Hover to take a 52-49 lead.

Down by three in the third overtime on second-and-two from the SMU 17, Nova handed to the ball to Goodwin, who shed a couple of tackles on his way to the end zone to give Rutgers the 55-52 victory.


- Today’s game marked the first meeting between Rutgers and SMU. RU last played in the Lone Star state at the 2006 Texas Bowl versus Kansas State.
- Rutgers captured a win in its conference opener for the fourth straight season.
- The offense scored at least 28 points for the fifth straight game. That has never been done before in program history through four games. It was the most points scored by RU in a conference opener since recording 37 in a home win over Pittsburgh Sept. 30, 2005.
- DB Nadir Barnwell recovered a fumble in the end zone for the Scarlet Knights’ fourth non-offensive touchdown of the season (two kickoffs returns, one punt return, one fumble recovery). RU hadseven non-offensive scores last season, going 6-1 in those games.
- RB Justin Goodwin’s 50-yard touchdown on a screen pass was the sixth Rutgers play of at least 50 yards from the line of scrimmage this season.
- The 55 points scored by RU are themost since the 2008 team scored 63 in a 63-14 win vs. Louisville on Dec. 4.
- RU scored 55 points at SMU and 51 at Fresno State this season. It is the first time since 2008 that the Scarlet Knights went over 50 points twice in the same season. They beat Louisville,63-14, and Pitt, 54-34, in 2008.
- The game marked the second overtime contest of the season for the Scarlet Knights. The last was at Fresno State on Aug. 29.
- The 3OT win marked the first overtime win since RU downed USF, 20-17, in the first overtime on Nov. 5, 2011.
- Rutgers competed in only one other 3OT game in its history, a 41-39 loss to No. 15 West Virginia on Dec. 2, 2006.
- The game marked the 10th overtime game in Rutgers history. The others are as follows:
    8/29/13 – L – 52-51 at Fresno State
    12/28/12 - L – 13-10 vs. Virginia Tech (Russell Athletic Bowl)
    11/5/11 – W – 20-17 vs. USF
    10/1/11 – W – 19-16 (2OT) at Syracuse
    10/16/10 – W – 23-20 vs. Army
    12/2/06 – L – 41-39 (3OT) at West Virginia
    11/11/00 – L – 31-24 (2OT) vs. West Virginia
    11/13/99 – W – 24-21 vs. Syracuse
    10/25/97 – L – 55-48 vs. Pittsburgh (2OT)
- In his 28th collegiate game, QB Gary Nova recorded his first career rushing touchdown on a bootleg from the one-yard line.
- RB Justin Goodwin saw his first significant action in his career, picking up 149 yards on the ground. De’Antwan Williams was the last RU true freshman to pick up 100 yards rushing in a game versus Texas Southern (Oct. 10, 2009). Ray Rice was the last true freshman to go over 100 in a conference game versus Cincinnati (Nov. 26, 2005).
- Sophomore WR Leonte Carroo scored two touchdowns in overtime. This brings his total to six touchdowns in the fourth quarter or later this season. It is also the third time this season he has had a multiple-touchdown game (three at Fresno State, two vs. Arkansas).
- Goodwin picked up both a rushing andreceiving touchdown in the game. It was the first time a Rutgers player achieved that this season. He came 27 receiving yards shy of becoming the first RU player to ever record 100 yards rushing and receiving.
- DL David Milewski picked up his first sack since 2011 in the first half.
- LB Steve Longa recorded 14 more tackles to lead the team for the third time this season.
- FB Michael Burton picked up a career-long 17-yard reception on the first offensive play of the game for Rutgers.

Rutgers Rallies from 17 down to Beat Arkansas 28-24

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Gary Nova threw touchdown passes of 33 and 4 yards to Leonte Carroo in the final 9:55 and Rutgers rallied from a 17-point, second-half deficit to beat previously undefeated Arkansas 28-24 on Saturday.

Janarion Grant sparked the rally with a 58-yard punt return for a touchdown in the third quarter and he set up the game-winning 4-yard score to Carroo with 5:18 to play with a 47-yard punt return to the Arkansas 33, a play on which the officials might have missed a block in the back.

Nova, who was knocked out of last week’s game with a concussion, also threw a 15-yard touchdown to tight end Tyler Kroft as the Scarlet Knights (3-1) won their third straight.

Tevin Mitchel scored on a 26-yard interception return for Arkansas (3-1) which pulled out a lot of trick plays in trying for its first 4-0 start since 2003.

AJ Derby, starting for the injured Brandon Allen, threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Javontee Herndon and halfback Jonathan Williams connected with Hunter Henry on a 21-yard scoring pass for the Hogs, who seemed to be in total control midway through the second half after opening the 24-7 lead.

Arkansas’s first points came on a 41-yard field goal by Zach Hocker, a score set up by a pass off a fake punt to a center eligible.

Nova finished 22 of 43 for 346 yards. He also threw an interception and lost two fumbles.

The big play for Rutgers — and the one that ignited the crowd of 51,969, the fifth largest in school history — was Grant’s punt return.

Arkansas punter Sam Irwin-Hill, who threw the pass on the fake punt, rolled to his right after taking the long snap and punted the ball on the run.

Unfortunately for the Hogs, the kick went across the field to Grant’s right, and away from the coverage. Grant fielded the ball on a bounce, started downing down the right side and then cut across the field, leaving the Razorbacks in his dust.

Rutgers dominated the fourth quarter, a period Arkansas had outscored opponents 21-0. Nova led a six-play, 98-yard drive, completing a 25-yard pass to Brandon Coleman and a 42-yard catch and run to Kroft, who finished with six catches for 133 yards.

On fourth and 12 from the Arkansas 33, he found his former Don Bosco Prep teammate Carroo on a 33-yard swing pattern up the right sideline to cut the gap to three points with 9:55 to go.

Grant, who returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown in the season opener, got Rutgers going on its next possession, fielding a punt and motoring to the Razorbacks 33. A block that was seemingly illegal by Ruhann Peele sprung the speedster.

A 17-yard pass to Quron Pratt and a 12 yarder to Carroo set up the score on a ball Carroo caught while almost sitting down.

Arkansas was outgained 208-103 in the opening half but made a couple of big plays in taking a 10-7 lead.

A 24-yard pass by Irwin-Hill to center eligible Alan D’Appollonio on fourth down from midfield set up a 41-yard field goal by Hocker with 1:51 left in the first quarter.

Three plays later, Tevin Mitchell stepped in front of a hurried pass by Nova in the right flat and went 26 yards on an interception return for a 10-0 lead.

Rutgers didn’t get back into the game until just before halftime and Arkansas linebacker Jarrett Lake made a gigantic error to help. With Rutgers facing a second-and-25 from the Hogs’ 34, Lake hit Nova after he went out of bounds on a 4-yard scramble. It gave Rutgers a first down at the 15 and two plays later, Nova hit Kroft on a seam pattern for a touchdown.

The Razorbacks staff knew there was something wrong just before the snap, and ran out on the field in an attempt to call time out, but didn’t get it.

Derby threw his touchdown pass on the opening series of the second half and Williams’ TD pass was set up when Nova was sacked by Trey Flowers and Chris Smith recovered at the Scarlet Knights’ 21.

Rutgers Football Lands Best Class Ever Despite Coaching Change

Rutgers University had a great National Signing Day this February 1st.  Fresh off the appointment of Kyle Flood as the head coach, some of the best players in the State of Rutgers sent in their signed letters of intent to play football for the Scarlet Knights.  At first glance the shining stars of this class look to be the teammates from USA Today national champion Don Bosco Prep; Darius Hamilton and Leonte Carroo.  Hamilton, son of former NFL star Keith Hamilton, is a 5 star defensive end prospect who had offers from every big name school in the country.  Carroo is a standout wide receiver with another long list of offers.  Both decided to stay home and continue to build something special in NJ.  Both were also US Army All-Americans, and will be incredible representatives of the program and the university.

However, the most impressive additions to me are the offensive line prospects we’re getting.  Given that has been a struggling unit over the past few seasons (though improved in 2011) it is great to see some big time road graders come to The Banks.  Chris Muller (another US Army All-American), Ryan Brodie, J.J. Denman, Brandon Arcidiacono, Derrick Nelson, and Maryland transfer R.J. Dill are going to lead the way to championships for Rutgers in the very, very near future.  The old saying is that it starts up front, and if that’s the case then we’re setup very nicely.  Coach Flood’s enthusiasm was barely containable when speaking about the O line recruits during his NSD press conference.  I love seeing the passion he has for the job!

All of the recruits this year are outstanding;

Ruhann Peele is the do-everything-with-the-ball stud from Linden High School. 

Desmon Peoples, Brandon’s teammate from Pennsylvania state champ Archbishop Wood is another skill guy who has no trouble finding the endzone.

Carlton Agudosi is a 6’6” wide receiver from Somerset. I can’t wait to see what a defense is going to do with him, 6’6” Brandon Coleman, and 6’4” Mark Harrison lined up. Oh and we’ll throw world class speedster Miles Shuler in the mix too.  Someone’s scoring boys!

The potential bookend for Hamilton is Julian Pinnix-Odrick, a defensive end from Montclair.  I predict JPO and Hamilton to be showing up in opposing QBs nightmares for a few seasons to come.

Quanzell Lambert is a big, thumping mike backer that is going to terrorize running backs.  Besides, in an age of lazy nicknames (initials aren’t a nickname, people!), how can you not love a kid called QUANZILLA?!?

I’m not going to list all of the recruits, and that should not be taken as a sign of disrespect. As a Rutgers fan I’m proud of all of these young men, and can’t wait to see them kicking ass and hoisting trophies on The Banks!  They are part of a class that every major recruiting service in the country ranks in the top 25 in the nation.  Football season cannot come soon enough!!