Monday Notebook: On to Kent State

PISCATAWAY, N.J – It was another Monday stacked with Rutgers accolades after the 35-10 victory over Temple got Rutgers to 7-0 on the season. The No. 15/18 Scarlet Knights have three players that received Big East honors, including the second Offensive Player of the Week award for quarterback Gary Nova.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Quarterback Gary Nova's two best performances of the season could not have been better timed. Rutgers trailed by 10 points twice this season – once against Arkansas and once against Temple – and Nova responded with nine combined touchdowns and 627 yards.

The sophomore quarterback now has two Big East Offensive Player of the Week awards in his trophy case because of it.

"I hate losing a lot," Nova said. "I don't lose a lot. When I'm losing, I do whatever I can to win. … I love being down and I love just having all of the pressure on me," Nova said. "I love having the ball in my hands."

Rutgers coach Kyle Flood said the prowess of Nova is not based on play-calling or a change on philosophy. The offense simply steps it up.

"I think for Gary, he's got to do a great job of executing the game plan every week, and I think he's done that," Flood said. "I think he's taken -- he has taken his knowledge of the offense a little bit further every week. As that happens, he'll have more things available to him. And then what people may perceive as the offense opening up will just be his ability to really utilize the whole offense. I don't think it'll be any change in philosophy or play calling."

More Defensive Honors

Recognition is expected any time a defense holds its opponents to 76 yards in the last three quarters of a big victory. For Rutgers, linebacker Khaseem Greene and defensive tackle Jamil Merrell made the Big East honor roll.

"The first thing that went into my mind is it isn't Big East Player of the Week, so I'm not satisfied," Merrell said. "I'm always thankful when your hard work is noticed."

Defensive Line Rotation

Sophomore Kenneth Kirksey is emerging in a bigger role at nose tackle. With Isaac Holmes out and Scott Vallone moving to the nose, Kirksey is now the primary backup.

"I need Scott in there, so I always tell him you have to get your breath now when you're off the field," Merrell said. "But when Kirksey gets in there, it's the same intensity. It's the same guy."

Mr. 1,000

Running back Jawan Jamison needs 221 yards to reach his goal of a century mark. As he edges closer to becoming the third back to do so in school history, his interest in the mark is fading.

Jamison still wants to achieve individual success, but said beating Kent State is all that matters to him right now.

"As long as we keep winning, I'm happy," Jamison said.

Speed Demon

Rutgers will keep a close eye on Kent State speedster Dri Archer, who has reported 40-yard dash times in the 4.2s. Archer averages more than 10 yards per touch from the line of scrimmage and is the leading kick returner in the nation.

"I've seen enough film on him already to know he's an impact guy," said cornerback Logan Ryan. "He's going to be someone we have to always watch. He's very talented.

Archer averages 10.1 yards per carry, 13.9 per reception and 47.7 yards per kick return. His skill, however, will not stop Flood from challenging him in the kicking game.

"I think we have confidence in our kickoff coverage," Flood said. "I think we had a great challenge a couple weeks ago with the returner from UConn who's probably the best one in our conference, and now this week we've got another tremendous challenge because we may be facing the best kick returner in the country."


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