Defense Dominates in Season-Opening Shutout

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Frank Cignetti's offense dominated headlines leading into the season-opener against, but Greg Schiano's defense stole the show in the 48-0 shutout victory at High Point Solutions Stadium.

The swarm is back.

Schiano's defenses are known for two things — winning at the line of scrimmage and putting up points. Juniors Scott Vallone and Duron Harmon took care of that by themselves. Vallone personified domination off the line of scrimmage at nose tackle and Harmon turned the tables with two interceptions.

Both scored touchdowns in the third quarter.

"I thought they played incredibly hard," Schiano said of the defense. "... We're going to move [on defense]. We're not going to sit still." With N.C. Central trapped in its own territory, red-shirt freshman linebacker David Milewski forced a fumble in the end-zone that Vallone fell on to put the team up by four scores.

Three plays later, Harmon picked off his second pass and took it 37 yards for a score of his own.

"That's where we need to get to, where every guy flies around and is physical," Schiano said.

Rutgers more than halved its sack total from last season with nine and 15 TFLs. N.C. Central put up just 120 total offensive yards and never threatened.



On offense, all eyes were on Savon Huggins.

Huggins lived up to the hype on his first time under the lights. The most anticipated recruit in Rutgers history needed all of seven carries to introduce himself to the end-zone at High Point Solutions Stadium — a place he will be very familiar with in his college life.

Huggins learned early that a college yard is much tougher than a high school one. Stuffed on first and second down from the 1-yard line, Huggins spun out of a powerful hit and gracefully crossed the plane for a score.

Huggins blasted through from seven yards later in the first half and finished with 32 yards on 10 touches. He is the first at Rutgers to rush for multiple touchdowns in his first game since Terrell Willis in 1993.

"It was really good to see Savon how much burst it looked like he had when the lights were on," Schiano said. " ...You see he's got some pop."

Cignetti's play-calling was safe, yet effective against North Carolina Central with the true test coming next week in UNC.

Sophomore quarterback Chas Dodd forced a few passes and had Jeremy Deering drop a sure touchdown, but he finished with before Gary Nova took over.

Nova strongly established "the Gary Coleman connection" when he hit red-shirt freshman Brandon Coleman for a 44-yard score.

"That play was just trust," Coleman said. "It was all about trust. He threw it up there and I came down with it. The line gave him time and it was just a good team play."

Junior De'Antwan Williams started and ran for 44 yards on 11 rushes. Mohamed Sanu, despite two bad drops, led all receivers with 68 yards and a touchdown.


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