New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Jawan Jamison rushed for 112 yards and a touchdown to lead the Rutgers Scarlet Knights as they defeated the Tulane Green Wave, 24-12, in a non-conference battle at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Gary Nova completed 11-of-20 passes for 158 yards with one touchdown and interception for Rutgers (1-0), while Khaseem Greene led the defense with 14 total tackles and a sack. The Scarlet Knights' victory was the first-ever win for the program's new head coach, Kyle Flood.
Ryan Griffin led Tulane (0-1) by completing 34-of-48 passes for 254 yards with a single touchdown and interception. Ryan Grant led all receivers with 110 yards on six receptions, but the Green Wave complied just eight rushing yards as a team. Tulane was led in the loss by its first-year head coach, Curtis Johnson. Dating back to last season, the Green Wave have lost 11 games in a row, their longest losing slide since 1961-1963 when they lost 16 consecutive games.
After a scoreless opening period, Rutgers took control in the second quarter when Jamison broke away for a 46-yard touchdown run. Kyle Federico added an extra point to give the Scarlet Knights a 7-0 lead with just under 10 minutes left to play in the first half.
Tulane scored its first points of the season with 41 seconds left in the second frame as Cairo Santos connected on a 40-yard field goal. Following a 55-yard kick return by Jeremy Deering and a 34-yard reception by Jamison on a screen pass, Federico added three points for Rutgers with a 28-yard field goal to put the Scarlet Knights on top, 10-3, as the game progressed into the intermission.
Neither side managed to put points on the board in the third period, but the Green Wave narrowed the deficit early in the fourth quarter as Cairo made a 32-yard field goal which made the score, 10-6, with 14:52 left in regulation.
The Scarlet Knights' struck back as Brandon Jones returned an interception 14 yards for a score at the 11:57 mark of the fourth frame. Rutgers added some insurance near the midpoint of the quarter when Nova found Brandon Coleman for a 43-yard touchdown pass that gave the visitors a commanding 24-6 lead.
The Green Wave finally found the end zone with just more than five minutes left to play when Griffin passed it to a wide-open Rob Kelley for an 11-yard touchdown. Neither team managed to score again before time ran out.
Tulane was successful on 8-of-16 third down conversions, but it was penalized 11 times for 120 yards in the contest.
NOTES FOLLOWING TULANE FOOTBALL’S 24-12 SEASON-OPENING LOSS TO RUTGERS
Rutgers 24, Tulane 12
Tulane Game 1
New Orleans, La.
· Saturday’s game marked the debut of Curtis Johnson as head coach of the Green Wave football program. With the loss, Tulane falls to 0-1 on the year.
· The loss to the Scarlet Knights drops Tulane to 66-46-4 all-time in home openers. It is the first time the Green Wave lost a season opener since falling to Tulsa, 37-13, on Sept. 4, 2009, in the Superdome.
· Saturday's game marked the sixth meeting between Tulane and Rutgers on the gridiron. The loss snapped the Green Wave’s two-game streak against the Scarlet Knights as Tulane falls to 4-2 in the all-time series – including an 0-3 record in New Orleans.
· Tulane’s 12 points was the lowest output in a season opener since dropping a 29-10 decision to Maryland on Sept. 2, 1995.
· Tulane’s 17-play drive which led to a 32-yard Cairo Santos field goal in the second quarter was the longest by the Green Wave since driving 94 yards on 18 plays at UAB on Sept. 17, 2011.
· Senior quarterback Ryan Griffin completed 34-of-48 passes for 254 yards, one touchdown and one interception against Rutgers. His completion total was the third highest of his career, falling behind his 36-completion efforts at Tulsa on Oct. 16, 2010 and at Marshall on Nov. 27, 2010.
· Griffin has now completed 625-of-1050 passes for 6,509 yards and 37 touchdowns for his career. His pass attempts moves him into third all-time in the Tulane record book and his touchdown total is now tied for seventh with Deron Smith (1987-90). Griffin remains third in career completions and still sits sixth in passing yards.
· Junior wide receiver Ryan Grant finished the day with six catches for a game-high 110 yards. Grant’s 100-yard receiving day was the third of his career. The game marks his return to the lineup for the first time since the 2011 season-opener when he suffered an injury against Southeastern Louisiana.
· Sophomore running back Rob Kelley tallied a career-high with seven receptions. His 11-yard touchdown reception from Ryan Griffin with 5:07 left to play in the game was the first scoring catch of his career while his catches and receiving yardage totals surpass his former high-water marks of four at SMU on Nov. 5, 2011, while his 37 receiving yards ties a career mark established against Syracuse on Oct. 8, 2011.
· Junior running back Derrick Strozier, sophomore running back Danté Butler and sophomore tight end Evan Tatford also posted career-high receiving numbers on Saturday against Rutgers. Strozier – who played his first two collegiate seasons at running back, had six catches for 40 yards while Butler’s five receptions for 17 yards marked his first collegiate numbers through the air. Tatford, meanwhile, entered the game with one reception for 38 yards and that catch came last season against Memphis (Oct. 22).
· Three Green Wave veterans posted career-high tackle totals on the night, including a nine-tackle performance by senior safety Devon Walker (7 solo, 2 assists). In addition, junior linebacker Zach Davis had eight stops (5 solo, 3 assists) and sophomore defensive tackle Kenny Welcome had four (all solo). Walker’s previous career-high tackle total was seven on two occasions: at SMU on Nov. 28, 2009 and vs. UCF on Nov. 20, 2010. Davis’s previous high-water mark was six at Armyu on Oct. 1, 2011, and at Hawai’i on Nov. 26, 2011, while Welcome had three at Duke on Sept. 24, 2011.
· Senior cornerback Ryan Travis had his first interception of the year with a pick of Rutgers quarterback Gry Nova in the second quarter. It was the sixth of Travis’ career and all of them have come since the start of the 2011 season.
· Five Tulane players extended their double-digit starting streaks on Saturday vs. Rutgers – , senior QB Ryan Griffin (31), senior DE Austen Jacks (26), senior CB Ryan Travis (26), senior OT Eric Jones (16), and senior LB Darryl Farley (15)
· Ten Green Wave players started for the first time on Saturday against the Scarlet Knights: sophomore Sean Donnelly at left tackle, junior Mike Henry at center, sophomore Rob Kelley at running back, junior Rio Mares at right guard, freshman Darion Monroe at cornerback, redshirt-freshman Corey Redwine at nose tackle, sophomore Justyn Shackleford at wide receiver, sophomore Adam Skidmore at left guard, sophomore Evan Tatford at tight end and sophomore Kenny Welcome at defensive tackle.
· Darion Monroe and Corey Redwine were two of 15 Tulane players to make their collegiate debut on Saturday, 14 of which were freshmen. Joining the two starters in their collegiate debuts for the Green Wave were true freshmen Jordan Batiste (CB), Richard Carthon (DB), Lorenzo Doss (CB), Todd Jacquet (OL), Royce LaFrance (DE), Sydie London (WR), Alex Paul (OG), Peter Picerelli (P) and Calvin Thomas (DL), redshirt-freshmen Aaron Bryant (DE), Marc Edwards (WR) and Arturo Uzdavinis (OL), and sophomore Cameron DeJean (LB).
· Tulane’s game captains for Saturday's contest against Rutgers were senior DE Austen Jacks, senior QB Ryan Griffin and junior kicker Cairo Santos
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept. 1, 2012
Contact: Richie Weaver, Assistant Director of Athletic Communications
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QUOTES FOLLOWING TULANE FOOTBALL’S 24-12 SEASON-OPENING LOSS TO RUTGERS
Rutgers 24, Tulane 12
Tulane Game 1
New Orleans, La.
HEAD COACH CURTIS JOHNSON
“Give credit to Rutgers. I thought they came in, played well. They ran the ball pretty well on us. I thought the defense played well. We just have to do a better job. I think the worst thing about tonight was the penalties. 11 for 120, that’s a football field wroth of penalties. That’s two touchdowns that we just gave away. We have to do a better job running the football.”
On youth as cause of penalties
“We were very undisciplined tonight. I think we have to be better. There’s no excuse for those penalties. Some of the stuff you can say they made some good plays. I thought they made some good defensive calls. But you just can’t have penalties. That’s not good football.”
On offensive line
“One of the problems with the offensive line was we kept getting behind on downs and then we became one dimensional. We just have to find the right guys. This was a learning experience for me just to see who can play and who can’t play. Maybe we can do some stuff a little bit simpler. I thought we were pretty generic tonight. We didn’t do very much, but we will figure out who the right guys are and we will be better next week.”
On anxiety of offensive line
“I thought that they were a little too revved up. I like to see offensive linemen just a little bit cooler in their demeanor and playing the game. They have got to think the game a little bit more. We will get that accomplished. In a couple more weeks, a couple more practices we’ll get that.”
On Jamaison vs. Defense
“I thought they had a good scheme. I thought that the couches did a great job. He played well.”
On lack of rushing yards
“I don’t know that there’s a blame. I just think that when you’re 1st and 20 or 1st and whatever, it’s the negative yards I thought that killed us. After we had the big turnover in the second half, we became one dimensional. We had to be one dimensional in order to stay in it.”
On not scoring in redzone
“I thought coming out of halftime we had a good drive going. The momentum was on our side. We didn’t punch that one in. Then they changed field position on us and we had the big turnover. One thing about those kids is they never quit fighting. It could have been a lot worse. They fought, they hung in there. They put together a good drive at the end. We did score, we had another opportunity but it just wasn’t our night.”
On changing offense
“I think it was trying to be a little more balanced. I think one stress of our team was our running backs. Then the quarterback started taking a pounding so I just tried to save him a little bit. I just didn’t want to stay one dimensional and just getting him hit.”
On telegraphing passes
“He was probably sticking to his first read. He made a lot of good completions. I don’t know if there was a situation where I can say he looked at this guy the whole time. I thought he was just going to the progression and his read. I thought he played okay.”
On high expectations
“I think we just have to keep working. We have some young kids that played well. Some guys in the secondary, I really liked what they did. Also, we know that there’s a progression in getting better. There are some things we have to change. As far as just operating in the game, I thought we were doing the stuff we wanted. We just had too many negative plays and the inability to run the football.”
On his expectations
“It’s always to win. I just have to look at the positives and we have to correct the negatives.”
On giving up good kickoff return after cutting the deficit to 7-3
“That was one of the things that was disappointing because we had a scheme where we were crossing face and a couple of guys didn’t cross face. They had a natural gap in our coverage. Other than that, I think special teams did a good job. I thought our punters punted well. And the kicker, first game jitters he kicked one out of bounds but I thought he kicked well.”
On not playing QB Devin Powell
“I wanted to give him a series in there but the game turned. We just felt that we had to stay the course a little bit to figure out what we were doing. We just began to be so one dimensional. I just didn’t want to put that kid a situation where it was a no win, a los situation. But he will play; we’ll get him in next week.”
CB RYAN TRAVIS
Overall performance of the defense
“Overall the defense was going real well. We kind of made a couple mistakes towards the end, but over I think we played really well for the first game.”
On the missed tackles
“We missed a lot of tackles. They didn’t really throw the ball deep, but we just missed a lot of tackles.”
On the interception
“I give the credit to coach (Lionel) Washington. He called the right play at the right time. Those guys didn’t expect the coverage that we called. It was a totally different coverage and again, I give all the credit to coach Washington.”
WR RYAN GRANT
On coming back from injury
“I just wanted to go out there with my head on right and be focuses throughout the whole night. I told myself the whole week that I needed to play big for my team and be a leader on the field. I did that, but we still didn’t come away with the win.”
QB RYAN GRIFFIN
On the pressure Rutgers put on
“They were mixing up with cover two and blitz. They did a good job of overloading the side and they did a good job so hats off to them.”
On the running game
“The running game is not to blame. We put ourselves in bad situations with holding penalties and false starts. It is tough to relay on the running game to get those yards back. We had to pass the ball. It was just how it came out.”
On the penalties
“We did a good job of picking some of those long third downs. The percentages are not always good, but we picked up one or two of them. The guys did well up front. Guys made plays. Ryan Grant was big for us today. He was kind of unstoppable. This is the first game and I’m excited for us to bounce back and get Tulsa.”
HEAD COACH KYLE FLOOD
"The most exciting part (of getting the win) is that all three phases got to play a big part in the win. On offense, it was certainly the big touchdown run by Jawan (Jamison), a big run by Savon (Huggins) that flips the field and a touchdown catch by Brandon Coleman. On defense, Brandon Jones had a chance for a pick-six earlier in the game and then comes back and gets one a little later in the game. It is exciting to see (Brandon) come back like that and the kickoff return by Jeremy (Deering) at the end of the first half was a huge play in the game. I though we got some nice plays on kickoff coverage from T.J. Johnson, that was really exciting to see that, even though they may go unnoticed by the casual fan. Those were big plays in the game because if he doesn’t make those tackles the field position swings could be significant.”
On his concerns at 10-6 with Tulane having possession
“You know, I wasn’t really concerned because it doesn’t surprise me. Like I said during the week; that is a team that beat us two years ago and played a team in our conference to a 37-34 game last year. They are a good football team and have a head coach that who knows a tremendous amount about offensive football. They have an excellent staff and they have hard-working players. It didn’t surprise me that it was a close game.”
On the offensive struggles early in the game
“I didn’t think it was sluggish at all. Early in the game we had a ten play drive and I was excited about some of the things we did early (in the game). I think we had some penalties that kept us from scoring and we had a missed field goal early in the game, but it was nice to see Kyle (Federico) come back and make some kicks. I didn’t feel like we were sluggish at all, I just felt like the penalties on both sides probably kept both teams from being a little more productive early on, in terms of the scoreboard. “
On starting quarterback Gary Nova
“I am pleased with the way that Gary played. I am sure he has a throw that he would like to have back and we would certainly like to have it back. I didn’t feel at any point that he wasn’t the right guy to have out there. I think (Gary) is going to grow and learn from it. Like I said during the process, whoever became the starting quarterback was going to need the opportunity to learn from his mistakes and go forward. I have no doubt in my mind that Gary will do that and he got better as the game progressed. He had a big third down conversion later in the game to Tim Wright and that is a big play because you go from punting to having a first down on their side of the field.”
On jumping the short routes and having chances at interceptions
“I thought we would have a chance (for an interception) just because Brandon Jones had the chance earlier in the game. I thought Logan Ryan was close to a couple, but Brandon actually had a chance (early in the game) and just had it slip through his fingers. I felt like at some point, if they kept throwing it as much as they did and we could continue to stop the run like we did that we would get a chance at (an interception).”
On Brandon Jones fighting through injuries
“He is just another great example of the value of seniors in your program. They are people that you have four or five years of your hard work in the weight room and your hard work on the practice field invested in those players. When you have a guy like Brandon (Jones) and he is able to produce that quickly in a season, it doesn’t surprise me. It just shows how important those seniors are. Teams that really excel at the college level usually have their fourth and fifth year players playing at a high level.”
On the defense playing well all game
“It starts with stopping the run. I think if you stop the run you are going to play good defense and we did a great job of that tonight.”
On the running game
“It was good to see Jawan (Jamison) pick up where he left off last year and it was good to see Savon (Huggins) break out on one of those runs as well. Until I look at the film, I don’t know how happy I am with it, but I am pleased with the production on paper. I think that there might be a little that we left out there in the running game tonight. That is was the season is for. Hopefully as the season goes on we can get better and pick up some more of those yards.”
On coach Brocks debut as offensive coordinator
“I don’t have any concerns about Dave Brock. I’ve worked for five years with Dave, two of those years he was the offensive coordinator, and he has coordinated some of the more prolific offenses in the country. As Dave continues in our role as offensive coordinator, I have no doubt in my mind that we are going to have continued success on offense.”
On the final assessment of the offensive line after one game
“No sacks and one-hundred and fifty-one rushing, I think it is a good start. For five guys who are all playing in new or different spots from last year against another Division I football team, I think we are moving in the right direction. That is how I felt during training camp, so I am glad to see that on the field on game day.”
LB KHASEEM GREENE
On the game seemed to be a bit of a fight out there tonight, didn’t it
“A little bit, those guys are a really good opponent, they played us really tough out there, you know, at the end of the day we got the win, which is all I was really concerned about, we can get to the film room and clean up those things that we need to, but to those guys credit, like I said, they were a tough opponent, and they played us real tough.”
On when it’s 10-6 in the 4th quarter, did it feel like the defense needed to step up
“I just knew that we had to do our job, stop them and get the ball back to our offense. I knew that sooner or later our offense was going to do what they were supposed to do, and that’s score points. We have a great system over there, a great coaching staff over there, we have some great athletes, some great players, look at Jawan, you see what he did tonight, and Coleman, I knew that we just had to get those guys the ball back and it was going to start clicking. That pick 6 helps, but at the end of the day, we just want to go out there and get the ball back to our offense.”
It seemed like a matter of time before someone jumped a short route, didn’t it
“I knew sooner or later it was going to happen, because you know, Jones dropped two clear interceptions that could’ve been pick-6s so, he could’ve scored 3 touchdowns today, really, but to his credit, he kept focus, and he kept chopping, you know, the opportunity came around again, and this time he capitalized so, that’s what great defenses do, that’s what great players do, they don’t allow stuff to hang on them or get them down, they just chop the next play, to his credit, his opportunity came around again, and look what he did, he took it to the house for 6.”
CB BRANDON JONES
Was it a matter of time before someone jumped a short route
“Yeah, I didn’t capitalize on the first two, but coach put me in a good position to make a play on the 3rd one, and I saw a three-step and I went for it.”
Could you have had 3 TD’s tonight?
“Definitely, I’m upset about it, but I capitalized on one of them, and that was enough for our team to win, and I’m just happy with the win, so we did a great job to pull through tonight.”
When it was 10-6 in the 4th quarter, does the defense need to be doing more?
“I just felt like we just needed to keep playing within the defense and that something good would happen. I knew the offense would pull through and put some more points on the board so, I just knew if we kept doing what we were doing, good things would happen.”
How did it feel to be back in the end zone
“I haven’t been in the end zone since high school, so it feels good, but hopefully there’s more where that came from.”
Was your INT TD more meaningful because of when it happened, at a pivotal point in the game
“Yes, it was a big turning point because the game was close and, like I said, we just kept chopping and kept doing what we have been taught to do and somebody was going to step up and make a play, and I’m happy that I was able to do it.”
RB JAWAN JAMISON
How did you feel tonight
“I felt really good, I told you that we just needed to come out and get it going, and once my confidence in my offensive line is good, I do well, and the defense did really well, it was just getting our feet off the ground, but we did really well tonight.”
Did you feel like you were struggling to capitalize on opportunities with it being 10-6 in 4th
“Yeah, I felt like we need to work on our finishing better, we can get it going, we can drive, we just need to work on our finishing, that’s something that comes after the first game, after we work out the kinks.”
Can you take on the same workload you took on last season
“Definitely, I feel like I’m ready for it, in high school I didn’t get a lot [of touches], and I’m still fresh, I came in fresh and I’m still fresh, I’m ready for it and I think I can do it, whatever they need me to do I’ll do it.”
How was the offensive line tonight, even with a lot of questions surrounding them
“They were really good, they opened up a lot of holes for me, sometimes I would make a wrong read, it’s never their fault, they were giving me good holes, and sometimes I would take the edge, and sometimes I would cut back too early, but that was on me, they were doing really well tonight.”
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