James Hat Trick Leads Rutgers to Victory

CATAWAY, N.J. – Rutgers took care of business against FCS foe Norfolk State with a 38-0 win at High Point Solutions Stadium. Running back Paul James led the way with his second straight 100-yard game and a trio of touchdowns on his mother's birthday.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Well on the way to an FCS-level blowout, the Rutgers victory Norfolk State became assured right around the time quarterback Malik Stokes punted on third down from his own goal line.

The strangest play in a dominant 38-0 victory for the Scarlet Knights, running back Paul James turned it into his second of three touchdowns.

"I feel like I finished more because I got into the end zone," James said. "I used a lot more finishing moves and finished a lot more of my runs."

James paved the way for a solid offensive showing and second-straight 100-yard games. His 301 yards on the season rank him No. 2 in the nation at the time of the game's completion.

Quarterback Gary Nova added 150 yards and a touchdown pass to Ruhann Peele in a game that was decided by halftime.

"If you want to have a tough football team it usually starts with running the football and stopping the run," said head coach Kyle Flood. "I think we did a good job of that."

Rutgers had the type of bounce-back performance it needed defensively after giving up 51 in the opener. Holding Norfolk State to 133 yards of total offense and a 1-for-15 mark on third downs, the Scarlet Knights forced two turnovers and blocked a punt.

The all-time score against Norfolk State improved to 128-0 and the starters enjoyed an early day off in the home opener.

"I think it was important for us to play good defense because we have a tradition here of playing good defense," Flood said. "… We want to make sure we put people in passing situations and then give ourselves the ability to rush the passer and hopefully create some turnovers."

Freshman playing time and collegiate debuts, with a major impact coming from cornerback Anthony Cioffi. A true freshman from Springfield (N.J.) Dayton, Cioffi downed a punt inside the 5-yard line and recovered a blocked punt.

"I knew going in that they wanted somebody to be a determined flyer to get down there," Cioffi said. "I wanted that position so I went out and got it."

Flood played nine true freshmen in the game, with six making their Rutgers debuts.

"That's great experience for them to be out there and really allows us to truly evaluate them, because as I've said, until you do it in a game, it's tough for me to really trust that it's going to happen," Flood said. "Until then, it's still a little bit of an unknown."

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