Rutgers freshman quarterback Johnathan Lewis was honored as the co-Big Ten Freshman of the Week for his performance against Morgan State in 65-0 victory. Lewis was responsible for five touchdowns, four of which came on the ground while one came through the air.
Lewis rushed 11 times for 58 yards and completed both of his pass attempts, which included an 18-yard touchdown strike. Lewis shared the award Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins, who rushed for 172 yards on 13 carries in a 38-7 win over Army.
“I said I would take Johnathan along slowly and at this point I think I have done the right things with him,” offensive coordinator Jerry Kill said today during his weekly press conference. “Kyle [Bolin] is playing very well. I don’t think people understand his passing percentage and the things he’s done. They both graded out in that 89 to 90 percent.”
And did Lewis’ performance on Saturday come as a surprise to Kill?
“No. I think he was well prepared,” Kill said of Lewis. “He focuses and concentrates. I think the older kids helped him, from Gio [Rescigno] to all of our guys. We have an unselfish crew of quarterbacks and we have some guys who have been here through different systems. And they do a great job on the boundary of keeping everybody composed. They see well. They will say ‘hey coach, we missed a dig on the route. This is what they’re doing.’ I basically got about four coaches on the boundary all communicating and helping each other. They put their egos to the side. That helps Johnathan a lot.”
Head coach Chris Ash also credited Lewis’ supporting cast for giving him some room to run against Morgan State and helping him to earn co-freshman player of the week.
“That is a great honor for him, but also great for the other guys that are around him,” Ash said of Lewis. “Because we obviously put him in situations pretty close to the goal line and he was able to punch the ball in, but it was because of the work of a lot of other people to be able to get that done.”
Lewis brings unusual power to the running game and that was evident long before he crossed the goal lime four times on Saturday.
“When I first met him, I said ‘damn, you are 245 pounds and you are a quarterback? That’s unheard of,’” starting left tackle Tariq Cole said this afternoon. “He’s done well and he knows the offense pretty well.”
With one game and co-freshman player of the week honors to his credit, Lewis will likely get his share of snaps as Rutgers embarks upon Big Ten play through the remaining nine games of the season.
“I think we need to use him in the right situations at this point in time and we will continue to grow him and get him better,” Kill said.