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Rutgers defense dominates in 26-0 win

09/08/2012 9:06 PM ET
By The Associated Press

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) -- Gary Nova threw two touchdown passes to Brandon Coleman and Rutgers' swarming defense limited Howard to 149 total yards Saturday, giving Kyle Flood a 26-0 victory in his first home game as the Scarlet Knights' coach.

Nova and Coleman combined on scoring passes of 32 and 16 yards as Rutgers got off to its second 2-0 start in three seasons.

Savon Huggins scored on a 1-yard run and cornerback Brandon Jones scored his second touchdown in as many games, jogging six yards with a blocked punt, one of two that led to touchdowns.

Howard (1-1) of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference had a chance to take an early lead after Julien David intercepted Nova on the opening series, and the Bison eventually got a first and goal at the 2 after a pass interference penalty.

William Parker, however, fumbled a third-down pitch and defensive tackle Scott Vallone recovered.

It was all Rutgers and its defense after that as the Scarlet Knights posted a shutout for the seventh straight season.

Howard, which earned $325,000 for playing the game, limited Rutgers' offense for most of the first quarter. The Scarlet Knights didn't get going until Jawan Jamison (10 rushes for 110 yards) broke at least a half dozen tackles on a 64-yard run to the Howard 24. Huggins finished off the drive by plowing in from a yard out for a 7-0 lead.

The lead grew to 13-0 early in the second quarter when Miles Shuler blocked a punt by John Fleck on a play that started at the Bison 29. Jones, who tallied on an interception return against Tulane last week, scooped up the ball near the goal line and scored.

Nova, who was 15 of 27 for 130 yards in a performance that had a dreadful start, stretched the lead to 19-0 with 7:05 left with his 32-yard touchdown to a wide open Coleman on a seam pattern. The two-play, 33-yard drive was set up when Wayne Warren got a hand on a Fleck punt that went only 15 yards.

Rutgers added a final score late in the third quarter on the 16-yard pass to Coleman, who now has three TD passes this season. It capped a nine-play, 91-yard drive.

Rutgers is now 9-0 against MEAC teams and has outscored them 105-0 in the past three years.

Howard last visited High Point Solutions Stadium in 2009, where the Bison fell 45-7.

Rutgers will open its Big East Conference schedule on Thursday at South Florida.

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