Harrison Heating Up

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Mark Harrison was one of the bright-spots for Rutgers in an emotionally-draining loss to West Virginia. The junior rebounded from an embarrassing performance at Louisville with a big play in a 31-point Rutgers first half.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — A familiar sight that had all in attendance at High Point Solutions Stadium holding their breath, Mark Harrison behind the secondary as Gary Nova escaped a crumbling pocket and let the ball fly.

After his epic blunder against Louisville, Harrison remained vigilant and confident in his ability, saying during the practice week that he knows he could make the play if he had another chance.

Against West Virginia, he did.

Harrison hauled in a slightly underthrown 45-yard touchdown bomb from Nova that gave Rutgers a three-point lead in the second quarter.

"It felt good to get back in the end-zone and how it happened," Harrison said. "A ball like the same one I dropped last week … and I caught it. It felt good to get it, but it doesn't make up for the feeling of losing. It just doesn't compare."

The lead built to 10 points before crumbling in the second half, which Harrison attributed to a lack of execution on the offense's part.

"I don't really think there was any difference and, honestly, I don't even know," Harrison said. "Out there, I felt that we did our best and did what we had to do, but we need to do better. We could have won that game."

Harrison and Nova have each come under major scrutiny in recent weeks. Both made mistakes in key plays the last two weeks. For Harrison, his drop against Louisville was his most visible mistake, but Nova was the first to defend him after the gaffe.

"Mark's a great receiver," Nova said. "I didn't lose confidence in him after the Louisville game. Me and him talked all week about it and it felt good to hit that one."

Nova's well-documented turnover issues have not stopped one of his top targets from supporting him.

"I know he can [play better]," Harrison said of Nova. "I've seen him do it. If I haven't seen him do it before, it would be hard to believe. He's done it before and I know he will do it again."

Along with Harrison, red-shirt freshman Brandon Coleman's drops are a problem for Rutgers this season.

Coleman dropped a pass after finding space in zone coverage yesterday and could not haul in a touchdown on the fake field goal.

"I know he'll make that play," Harrison said of Coleman's development. "He's a great kid and a great player. He's a great athlete as well. It's definitely good to have somebody like that because you know he will make that play in the future."

Like the rest of the team, Harrison said the snow was "not at all" a factor in his performance.

"It actually made it a lot more fun for us," Harrison said. "We walked out there, it was cold, it felt like a backyard football game. It's the type of game you want to play in."


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