James Out at Least Three Weeks

A lower leg injury suffered Saturday in the 28-24 victory has Rutgers starting running back Paul James out at least through the Louisville game. Rutgers coach Kyle Flood discussed the latest on the running back situation and the loss of his leading rusher Sunday morning in his day-after teleconference.

Rutgers has to begin conference play without its leading rusher in sophomore Paul James. James suffered a lower-leg injury in the 28-24 comeback victory over Arkansas and will be unavailable for at least the next two weeks, said coach Kyle Flood.

"Paul has got a lower leg injury," Flood said. "That's as specific as I'll be with it. But he's going to be out for a few weeks. He will not be back this week or against. Louisville. He's going to be out for a few weeks."

James passed 500 yards on the season with 17 attempts for 80 yards against Arkansas before leaving with an injury on a non-contact play. James is out for the marquee conference game, Louisville on Thursday night, but is expected back at some point this season.

"He will not be back for SMU or Louisville," Flood said. "Anything beyond that is not definite either, but that's where I think we have to re-evaluate it. … There's a chance anything can happen, but I think Paul James will be back this year."

Junior Savon Huggins returns as the starting running back after losing his job to James at the beginning of the season. Huggins ran for 21 yards on nine carries to close out the Arkansas victory and gets another chance with the first team leading up to SMU in two weeks.

The next man up mentality at running back puts true freshman Justin Goodwin as the backup and re-introduces redshirt freshman Desmon Peoples into the equation.

"It is absolutely a next man up mentality on our football team," Flood said. "We have other players that are going to get an opportunity to play. Savon Huggins and Justin Goodwin got an opportunity yesterday. You can add Desmon Peoples to that and I think all three of those guys are going to have a role in that position. I think all three of them can bring some really good things to that position and our offense."

Before his injury, James stood at 573 yards and six touchdowns on the season.

Sunday Notes
Sophomores Kyle Federico and Nick Brogese will continue to battle in the kicking game through the bye week. Arkansas blocked a Federico field goal attempt Saturday, which led to Borgese stepping in for the remainder of the game.

"I'm hoping that one of them takes control of the job," Flood said. "I've always felt that when the players define the depth chart, it's usually better for everybody. When the players don't define the depth chart, that usually means you're making a choice that may not have been for the reason that you wanted at the beginning of the process. I hope one of those guys comes out this week and really has a great week and takes control of that job."

Sophomore Quentin Gause made the most of his first start and sent a message to young players on the roster with his three TFLs and impact performance.

"I am so happy for Quentin Gause," Flood said. "… Not only is it great for Quentin because it validates all of the hard work that he's put in over the last three years. I think it will ultimately help our football program because there are younger players who have seen him go through that and now they're seeing him have success. And that will motivate other players on our team."

Junior wide receiver Brandon Coleman has just four catches in his last three games, but frustration is not setting in, Flood said.

"We want super, ultracompetitive football players," Flood said. "And ultracompetitive football players want the ball, but they have to be selfless enough to understand that if they do their job, the ball will come their way as the season goes on. And it's a long season."

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