Rutgers running back Jamison plays major role in Scarlet Knights’ hot start

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ With less than two minutes remaining Thursday night and Rutgers leading South Florida by three, Scarlet Knights running back Jawan Jamison had the chance to seal the Bulls’ fate with one exclamatory run.That’s exactly what he did. The junior running back took the ball on second-and-9 from the South Florida 41, spun between two tacklers at the 36 and sped his way into the end zone with 1:19 remaining.“Mentally, I was waiting to set it up,” Jamison said after the game. “I was waiting to get to the outside, and I spun and came up out of it.”Jamison’s burst finished off a 23-13 Rutgers victory that gave the Scarlet Knights their third win of the season to keep them undefeated. Jamison’s early success is largely responsible for Rutgers’ torrid start.Jamison has already rushed for 393 yards on 69 carries, averaging 5.7 yards per rush.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textHe has also broken a run of at least 40 yards in each of Rutgers’ three games, showcasing the breakout ability that South Florida head coach Skip Holtz witnessed from the opposing sideline late Thursday evening.“He’s going to get what’s given,” Holtz said in Monday’s Big East teleconference. “If you give him a hole, he’s going to find it, and he does have some big-play potential once he hits that opening.”Jamison is no stranger to success, having won Florida Class 2A state championships in 2008 and 2009 at the Bolles School in Jacksonville, Fla. He didn’t see game action his freshman year at Rutgers, but quickly stepped into a starting role for 2011, rushing for 897 yards and nine touchdowns in the team’s 9-4 campaign. He closed the year strong with a 131-yard, two-touchdown performance in the Pinstripe Bowl, perhaps serving as a preview of things to come in 2012.Sophomore running back Savon Huggins served as a complement to Jamison for the first two games this season, but couldn’t play against South Florida because of a lower-body injury.Without his partner in the backfield, Jamison played a larger role against the Bulls. Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood told him to expect 35 carries on the night. As it turned out, Jamison rushed 41 times for 172 yards in the Rutgers win, and no other Scarlet Knights running back recorded a carry.Based on the late-game burst, Jamison appeared well suited to handle the heavy workload.“I told him during the week I thought it was going to be the type of game where we were going to try to hand it to him,” Flood said in the teleconference. “I actually gave him the number 35. … But that was kind of the way the game went, and he did a great job with it.”The Knights schedule doesn’t lighten up this weekend, although the team is enjoying a nine-day break after last Thursday’s contest. Rutgers will match up with Arkansas this Saturday night, a team that opened 2012 with high expectations and a preseason Top-10 ranking, but has disappointed in losing two of its first three games.The Razorbacks have allowed 458 rushing yards through three games, including 225 allowed in Saturday’s 52-0 loss to No. 1 Alabama. On paper, this could potentially be another stellar game for Jamison to add to his early-season luster.Pending Huggins’ injury status, Jamison could again hear his number called frequently against Arkansas. For Flood, there is little doubt that Jamison is up to the task – even for 41 carries again, if need be.“The odds of it happening again in a consecutive week, I don’t know that that will be the case,” Flood said in a news conference on Monday. “But do I think he could do it? I absolutely think he could do it, and I think certainly the 10-day window (between games) helps a little bit.”Jamison’s 41 carries against South Florida is not standard for him, nor is it standard for the Rutgers program. His previous high was 34, and the 41 on Saturday set a Rutgers record for carries in a game that had stood for nearly 40 years.Against South Florida, the Starke, Fla., native notched his third straight 100-yard game to start the season, and fourth in a row dating back to last year’s Pinstripe Bowl. Jamison joins some prestigious company with the feat as the first Rutgers running back since Ray Rice in 2007 to record four straight 100-yard games.Rice took the mark a step further, closing the 2007 season by reaching the century mark in seven consecutive contests. For Jamison, it’s a solid place to reach for.“That’s cool,” Jamison said after the game on Thursday. “I’m trying to get where he’s at. That’s all I can say; I’m trying to get where he’s at.”In an 11-2 campaign in 2006, the Rice-led rushing attack produced 1,794 yards on the ground. Last year, the Knights only ran for 1,271. Flood served as Rutgers’ offensive line coach from 2006 to 2011 and wants to maintain a focus on rushing in his first year at the helm.If that’s the case, Jamison is in store for plenty more work this season.“He’s one of the better playmakers we have on offense,” Flood said. “So it’s critical to make sure he gets his touches.”Panthers stun HokiesPittsburgh has seen all sides of the spectrum in 2012, and it’s only three games in. After opening the season with losses to Football Championship Subdivision foe Youngstown State and Cincinnati, the Panthers responded by beating then-No. 13 Virginia Tech 35-17 on Saturday.Pittsburgh jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter against the Hokies and never trailed from that point on. Quarterback Tito Sunseri threw for 283 yards and three touchdowns, and running back Ray Graham scored three touchdowns.Just like that, first-year Panthers head coach Paul Chryst had his maiden victory, and certainly an improbable one. Comments Published on September 19, 2012 at 1:43 am Contact Kevin: [email protected]last_img read more