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August 23, 2012

Running game paces Rutgers scrimmage

Rutgers' final scrimmage of the season took place this afternoon inside High Point Solutions Stadium and was highlighted by the running game. The format was a bit different, but the running backs still managed to take center stage.

The first-team offense squared off the second-team defense and vice versa while the third-teamers faced off against one another.

"I was very pleased. I thought the execution was good," head coach Kyle Flood said of the running game. "I thought the runners really did a nice job of getting squared up as they went through the line. I saw some good acceleration, full speed decisions. It was good, it was good to see some drives sustained with the run game today."

Jawan Jamison got things started and went on to finish with 68 yards on 10 carries and one touchdown. He commented what he liked most about his performance.

"Just being consistent, just breaking tackles, not going down on the first hit. I always pride myself on that. Just running through the holes, going through the holes, actually hitting the tacklers before they get to me. That felt really good."

Savon Huggins had just as an effective e a day, finishing with 58 yards on 9 carries.

"It was a great job. Chemistry with the line - we have a great chemistry - and we just have to hit the ground running and get positive yards after contact and the things we did today was really great for both of us," Huggins said.

Huggins had a strong start last summer but seemed to hit a wall after the second scrimmage of training camp. This year, he claims to be feeling much stronger.

"Definitely. At the same time, I'm taking care of my body--getting in the tub, getting massages, elevating my legs when I get a chance to," Huggins said. "I'm doing the little things to keep my body as fresh as possible. …I think with a year under my belt and the help we get--our strength and conditioning coach [Jeremy Cole] doing a great job telling us to put emphasis on stretching out body--those are the little things that's going to carry over to the season and in the later part of the season it's going to really help me."

Beyond the top two running backs, there was also some notable performances. Redshirt freshman walk-on Paul James seemed to get going with a 23-yard scamper but went down with an injury on that play.

"We're going to have to evaluate PJ. PJ went down and we're not quite sure how serious that is yet," Flood said. "We'll get the information when we go in and we'll know a little bit more."

From there, redshirt freshman Ben Martin and true freshman Desmon Peoples picked up the slack. Martin broke free for a 70-yard touchdown run, the longest play of the day from scrimmage.

Peoples also had his moments, tallying 43 yards on 10 carries. Now, with James' status uncertain as the No.3 running back, Martin and Peoples could be making their way up the depth chart.

"We'll evaluate the film and kind of see where they got ranked ultimately," Flood said of Peoples and Martin. "I think right now we have Jawan and Savon at the top. P.J. would be next and then we got those two guys underneath. So as we build the depth for game week, we got to evaluate where PJ is and then evaluate the film on Desmon and Ben. They certainly both had their bright spots today. I think Ben had an 70-yard touchdown and Desmon made some spectacular runs."


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