James Set for First Bowl Carry

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Running back Paul James a critical role while healthy during the 2013 season, but has very little bowl-game experience. James spent the last Pinstripe Bowl in street clothes as a red shirt, and worked solely on special teams in last year's loss to Virginia Tech in Orlando, Fla.

Paul James watched Jawan Jamison's big game from the sidelines in the last Rutgers appearance for the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. Playing a special teams role, James watched Rutgers struggle with 1.7 yards per carry in last season's Russell Athletic Bowl as well.

James soared up the depth chart this season, and the former walk on is ready for his turn.

"Just watching them the last few years, you even feel the excitement when you're sitting on the sidelines not expecting to play," James said. "I can't even imagine how I'll feel on Saturday. Just being out there playing, I'm going to have so much energy for a championship game."

James was a lock for 1,000 yards before the lower leg injury suffered against Arkansas. Even after missing a month, James has an outside shot at joining Jamison and Ray Rice in the Rutgers history books.

Running for 167 yards against Notre Dame puts James at 1,000 on the season. He needs 145 to break 1,000 for his career after a small role in his red-shirt freshman season.

Wanting to end 2013 with a winning season, James said his sights are set elsewhere.

"I'm not going out with 1,000 yards on my mind," James said. "I'm going to try to do whatever it takes to win the game. I know if I run the ball well, it gives us a better chance to win. … I would think that if I got it, we had a pretty good game, and that's more what I care about."

James missed four regular-season games after his lower-leg injury, but still managed a team-high nine touchdowns and 833 rushing yards.

He was responsible for 113 yards and two touchdowns in the 31-6 victory over South Florida to become bowl eligible, and is excited to play against last year's runner-up in the National Championship.

"I know about their history and some of their great players," James said. "I know Notre Dame's a great program. It's good to play such a historical program, but they play the same styles as other people we've played. We have to look at it as just another team and another chance to get a win.

"We have to be more physical than the other team, and we finally did that in the USF game to just pound it out. That's what we have to do again. … We know what to do. Everybody on the offense knows what to do, who to block, where to go. They can do it."

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