Rutgers pulls away late vs. Army

What for three quarters looked to be a letdown following loss No. 1 ended up being a back-to-basics performance for Rutgers.

  • Timely defensive plays -- led by Khaseem Greene's monster 22-tackle effort.

  • Stout running.

  • And, of course, game-changing special teams plays.

It all added up to a 28-7 win against Army, as the Scarlet Knights improved to 8-1 and recovered from their loss to Kent State two weeks earlier.

Rutgers was as conservative as ever offensively, but Gary Nova bounced back very nicely from his six-pick performance against the Golden Flashes. He completed 14 of 17 passes Saturday for 123 yards with a touchdown and a pick, though the interception came off a dropped ball from Miles Shuler.

Jawan Jamison threw a touchdown pass himself in the first quarter, hitting Brandon Coleman for a 16-yard strike in the second quarter to tie the game at 7.

That score held until the 8:49 mark of the fourth quarter, when Coleman caught a 31-yard strike from Nova to give Rutgers its first lead of the game. That came four plays after Army's Chris Boldt shanked a punt nine yards, giving the Scarlet Knights possession at the Black Knights' 45.

Army's next drive ended with a high snap on a punt, with Rutgers recovering the ball at the 1. Savon Huggins punched it in two plays later to give the Scarlet Knights enough breathing room, and Duron Harmon added a 73-yard fumble return for a touchdown with 40 seconds left to account for the final margin.

Army looked ready to break the 7-7 tie several times, most notably when it drove down to the Rutgers 15 late int he third quarter. But Greene forced a Larry Dixon fumble, which Marvin Booker recovered.

Rutgers blocked a 30-yard field goal attempt late in the first half, too, after a controversial non-touchdown call following a pass to the end zone that was dropped late.

Jamison left the game in the third quarter with a lower leg injury but returned in the fourth, finishing with 90 yards on 22 carries, plus that touchdown pass.

No, it wasn't pretty, but Rutgers football rarely is. The Scarlet Knights did Saturday what they usually do, making more than enough game-changing plays and pulling away from a tied contest by scoring the final 21 points of the game.

Next week's contest at Cincinnati should be a good one.