Flood Era Kicks off with Victory Over Tulane

NEW ORLEANS — Ugly as it was, the Kyle Flood era at Rutgers began with a, 24-12, victory tonight over Tulane. The Scarlet Knights made big plays in the running game and rode a Brandon Jones pick-six to victory to open the 2012 season.

New Orleans — Rutgers coach Kyle Flood promised to keep the program's identity the same and backed it up tonight inside the Superdome. That means defense, special teams and giving its fan base unnecessary reasons to sweat.

The 24-12 final score, Flood's first career win, was in no way indicative of the challenges Tulane presented for the Scarlet Knights.

"It didn't surprise me," Flood said. "As I said during the week, that's a team that beat us two years ago and played another team in our conference to a 37-34 game last year. They're a good football team. They've got a head football coach who knows a tremendous amount about offensive football. They've got an excellent staff and hard-working players, so it didn't surprise me that it was a close game."

Rutgers (1-0) gave everyone a scare with three sloppy quarters, but iced the game when fifth-year senior Brandon Jones jumped on a slant pass and scored one of the team's two touchdowns on the night.

"Any time you can put the ball in the end zone as a defense, it's a big play," said Jones, who scored his first career touchdown. "[Defensive coordinator Robb Smith] put me in a good position to make a play and my defense was in the zone."

The statistics are impressive defensively — zero touchdowns, a pick six and eight rushing yards allowed — but there are clear concerns heading into tougher offenses on the September schedule.

Tulane converted eight third down conversions and four of 10 yards or more. The secondary was hot and cold against the pass, but managed to keep the Green Wave out of the end zone for three quarters.

Offensively, Rutgers may have finally found a featured back. In a debut devoid of offensive synergy, sophomore running back Jawan Jamison made the big plays when the game was close.

Jamison's 153 total yards — 114 in the first half — kept Rutgers in the lead. Jamison juked multiple defenders and went untouched for 46 yards into the end zone for the first touchdown of 2012.

"I told [lead blocker Andre Civil] we had a chance to [score] earlier in the first quarter, but he stopped," Jamison said. "I said, ‘if you keep running I'm gone.' He kept running and I was gone."

After seven years as a Rutgers assistant Flood has his first career victory as a head coach. How will he celebrate? Prepare for game No. 2 against Howard.

"It's nice to get [the first win] out of the way," Flood said. "That's for sure. Now, as football coaches do, we're going to land back in New Jersey in a couple of hours and [prepare] for week 2 of the season."

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