PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) - Janarion Grant scored three touchdowns and Rutgers overcame an early scare against Howard in posting a 52-14 victory on Saturday, giving new coach Chris Ash his first win.
Grant resurrected a stunned Rutgers (1-1) from a 14-0 first quarter deficit with an 84-yard kickoff return, and he was in the center of a 21-point third quarter with touchdown runs of 58 and 21 yards.
Quarterback Chris Laviano added three touchdown passes as the Scarlet Knights scored the final 52 points in wearing down Howard (0-2), an FCS opponent that was facing its second straight Big Ten Conference opponent.
Grant was the difference in this game in which Rutgers rushed for 375 yards and had 512 yards in total offense. The senior wide receiver finished with six rushes for 106 yards, two receptions for 24 yards and three kickoff returns for 119 yards. His longer rushing TD came on a direct snap in a wildcat formation and was aided by a great block by Laviano.
Laviano (11 of 22 for 137 yards and an interception) had touchdown passes of 22 yards to Andre Patton, 7 to Carlton Agudosi and 29 to Jawuan Harris.
Kalen Johnson threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Robert Mercer on the opening drive of the game for Howard and he scored on a 15-yard run less than two minute later. It was set up by an interception by Alonte Dunn on Rutgers first play from scrimmage.
The Bison gained 248 yards in the first half and five in the second.
HOWARD: Bison coach Gary Harrell may be second-guessing himself after taking out Johnson. He led scoring drives on the first two series and was then replaced by redshirt freshman Jason Collins for the third series, which came after Grant's kickoff return. Harrell alternated his quarterbacks against Maryland and he did it again Saturday. The problem was Howard never got going again. Still, the Bison showed signs they will be able to compete in the MEAC and do better than their 1-10 mark a year ago
RUTGERS: Despite the lopsided win, Rutgers is going to struggle this year. Howard gashed the defense with its running game and their quarterbacks had no problem finding open receivers. Against better competition the Scarlet Knights are going to be handled easily, much like No. 8 Washington did in the season opener. The most interesting aspect was that Rutgers used freshman quarterback Tylin Oden in the fourth quarter and he showed the athleticism that is needed in the power spread offense.
HOWARD: The Bison play their home opener against Hampton on Sept. 17.
RUTGERS: The Scarlet Knights stay home and face New Mexico on Sept. 17.
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