PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Rutgers got back into the win column today after a yearlong drought as the Scarlet Knights pummeled Morgan State by a final score of 65-0. The win moved Rutgers to 1-2 and concluded out-of-conference play for the season.
“Obviously, it's been a long time since we've been able to come in here after a game and talk about a victory, but really proud of our players, really happy for them,” head coach Chris Ash said after the game. “They've worked extremely hard. I don't care who we played, what the score was. Our players deserve and earned the right to feel good after a game on a Saturday.”
One of the biggest stories of the day was the emergence of freshman quarterback Johnathan Lewis who accounted for five touchdowns. Four of those scores came on the ground and one was a result of an 18-yard pass to Nakia Griffin-Stewart.
“That is what I am supposed to do, I am supposed to score,” Lewis said afterward. “I am supposed to get points on the board for our team and that’s what I did.”
Lewis ran the ball 11 times for 58 years and completed both of his pass attempts. This introduction to college football could be a starting point for Lewis with a full Big Ten schedule ahead.
“I think what you did see today is his ability to run the ball, and we did throw the ball with him today, and he's gotten better at that and needs to continue to work on that,” Ash said of Lewis. “But I'm just really proud of him because he works really hard. He studies the game really hard. He's gotten comfortable with the game plans for the first three weeks and was able to go in and execute the calls that we've had for him today.”
The defense did not allow a point to Morgan State and defensive end Darnell Davis led the charge with 10 tackles while also forcing a fumble and collecting one quarterback sack.
“It’s a great team win,” Davis said. “We can enjoy it tonight, but we have to get back to work because we have Nebraska next week. This is an amazing feeling, we haven’t felt it in a year, but we have to move on in 15 hours.”
The lopsided victory also allowed a large contingent of freshmen to see the field. There have now been 13 Scarlet Knight freshman to play this season. Offensive linemen Micah Clark and Samuel Vretman made their college debut today as did linebacker Tyshon Fogg, who made a quick impact with a fourth quarter interception.
Meanwhile, freshman wide receiver Bo Melton grabbed his first reception on 48-yard catch in the second half.
“We called a go-route on that play and Kyle [Bolin] gave me the eye, gave me the look and threw it downfield,” Melton said. “I made the catch and I was pretty excited about that.”
Freshman Raheem Blackshear racked up a lot of second-half yardage, finishing with 102 yards on 14 carries and he also scored twice.
“I was really excited about Blackshear going out there and running the way he ran,” Ash said. “He's not a very big guy, but he ran hard. He's physical. He's obviously got great feet. He's got good speed, where he's got a chance to make some plays in the open field and take it down the field. But we want to use him to help us. I think we've got some good backs in front of him, but we will use him as he continues to grow and mature and improve in certain situations.”
Rutgers will take to the road next week against a 1-2 Nebraska squad with a kickoff time of 3:30 p.m. EST.