Sam Hellman / Scarlet Report

Senior Tight End Nick Arcidiacono Brings A Game on Homecoming

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- The first touchdown for Rutgers in three games was also the first of senior tight end Nick Arcidiacono’s career.

Tight end may not get the most targets in Rutgers’ spread offense, but the position put points on the board when the Scarlet Knights needed it most.

Nick Arcidiacono recorded the first touchdown of his career on an unconventional jump pass from sophomore quarterback Giovanni Rescigno on the first play of the fourth quarter.

The score ended an 11-quarter drought. It dated back to Rutgers’ last touchdown Sept. 24 against Iowa.

“Even before (the touchdown), I knew we weren’t out of the game,” Arcidiacono said. “And then after I had the touchdown, I was like, ‘All right, this is go time. We’ve got to put our pedal on the metal and make plays.’”

The Scarlet Knights (2-5, 0-4) came up short in the 24-7 loss to Illinois (2-4, 1-2) on Homecoming, but Arcidiacono’s touchdown was timely.

Turnovers plagued Rutgers’ drives all game long until offensive coordinator Drew Mehringer pulled out the bag of tricks near the goal line.

“Arch came open, he made a great catch,” Rescigno said. “It was good to capitalize off a good drive.”

On a first-and-goal from the three-yard line, Rescigno took a quarterback sweep left. Down on the line, Arcidiacono held his block initially before he leaked out to the corner of the end zone.

The defense closed in on Rescigno, and he shoveled it over the top to Arcidiacono to get Rutgers on the board.

“It was a designed play to make it look like a sweep run and slip out in the back,” Arcidiacono said. “So it worked out perfectly. (My first career touchdown) felt good at the time, but can’t really enjoy it now. So after a loss, it’s not really something that’s on my mind too much.”

Arcidiacono also recorded the first two tackles of his career. Aside from one stop on special teams, he hawked down a fumble return in the second quarter.

Sophomore running back Robert Martin coughed it up and Darius Mosley had open field in front of him, but Arcidiacono’s shoestring tackle prevented Illinois from a score before the end of the first half.

“I just saw a ball on the ground and that’s what we’ve always been taught — finish out the play and do what you can to try and get the ball and obviously (Mosley) picked it up,” Arcidiacono said. “So I did what I can to get him down.”

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