Piscataway, N.J. — Fourteen points down last week. Trailing by 21 this week.
Overcoming big deficits hasn’t been a problem for Rutgers lately, especially with Janarion Grant coming to the rescue with big plays.
The senior wide receiver threw for a touchdown and had a go-ahead 69-yard punt return for another score as Rutgers rallied from an early 21-point deficit and defeated New Mexico, 37-28, on Saturday.
Halfback Robert Martin rushed for a career-high 169 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown, and Chris Laviano threw a 75-yard scoring pass to Jawuan Harris in helping the Scarlet Knights (2-1) overcome a big deficit for the second straight week.
“Man, Janarion’s different,” said Martin, who averaged 8.0 yards. “I love going out there with him, competing with him. Even at practice man, he wants to win at everything he does and I like that because that’s how I am and just knowing that when he gets the ball in his hands he can take it the distance.”
David Bonagura kicked three second-half field goals, including two in the final 5:30, in keeping new coach Chris Ash unbeaten at home.
Daryl Chestnut scored on a 19-yard run, Austin Apodaca threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Patrick Reed and Lamar Jordan scored on a 52-yard run in giving the Lobos (1-2) a 21-0 lead late in the first quarter. Richard McQuarley scored on a 22-yard fourth-quarter run to get New Mexico within 31-28, but Bonagura added two field goals to put the game out of reach.
Grant had three touchdowns in rallying the Scarlet Knights against Howard last week, and he had a hand in three scores against the Lobos, with a late 33-yard punt return setting up the final field goal.
“We talked about it after the game, we’ve got have a maniacal attitude of doing your job and doing the little things right,” New Mexico coach Bob Davie said. “I feel better about our team right now than I did last Saturday from a standpoint of fighting against a good opponent. Again, we walk out of here with our heads held high and we have a chance to be a good team.”
Grant’s biggest play was the punt return 1:04 before halftime with the score tied at 21-all.
Grant fielded a Corey Bojoquez punt at his 31, went left and then reversed his field and went 69 yards down the right side for his six touchdown of the season. It was his third career punt return for a score and eighth overall. He has scored on five kickoff returns.
Maryland 30, (at) Central Florida 24 (2OT): Maryland freshman quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome replaced starter Perry Hills and on his only play of the game raced 24 yards for the winning score in double overtime. UCF freshman quarterback McKenzie Milton, making his first career start, committed his sixth fumble of the night and fourth turnover to begin the second overtime, setting the stage for Pigrome’s heroics.
The Knights tied the game early in the fourth quarter on a 42-yard field goal by Matthew Wright with 12:04 remaining. Neither offense was able to score again in regulation.
After struggling early in the first half, Hills and the Maryland offense settled down and began to capitalize on big plays. Hills 51-yard completion to receiver Teldrick Morgan helped set up Adam Greene’s 33-yard field as time expired in the second quarter to give the Terps a 10-7 edge at halftime.
The Knights held a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter when Milton found running back Dontravious Wilson for a four-yard touchdown late in the second quarter. But Milton became erratic in the second quarter, committing two of his three first-half turnovers that allowed Maryland to get back into the game.
(At) Northwestern 24, Duke 13: Clayton Thorson threw for 320 yards and three touchdowns and Justin Jackson rushed for 94 yards to lead Northwestern to its first win. After being held to 7 points by Illinois State last week, Northwestern (1-2) scored on the game’s opening drive. Thorson connected with Garrett Dickerson for a 26-yard touchdown reception, capping a 10-play, 75-yard drive.
Northwestern capitalized on Blue Devils’ punter Austin Parker’s gaffe in the third quarter to take a 14-7 lead. Duke (1-2) was lined up to punt, Parker dropped the snapped and wasn’t able to get the punt away. Northwestern took over at the Duke 44. On the next play, Thorson found Solomon Vault wide open in the middle of the field for the go-ahead touchdown.
Thorson also connected with former walk-on Austin Carr on a 58-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.
Duke quarterback Daniel Jones threw for 279 yards and one interception. Jela Duncan had 53 yards rushing and a touchdown.
(At) Penn State 34, Temple 27: A year after Penn State was embarrassed in a season-opening loss to the Temple, scored on three of its first five drives to take a 21-10 halftime lead.
Trace McSorley completed 18 of 24 passes for 287 yards with one touchdown and an interception and rushed for another score and running back Saquon Barkley ended Temple's comeback bid with a 55-yard touchdown run with less than eight minutes to play for the Nittany Lions (2-1). Receiver Chris Godwin added a 52-yard touchdown pass, Andre Robinson scored on a short touchdown runs and Tyler Davis kicked two field goals.
Temple running back Jahad Thomas returned after missing the first two games with a dislocated left thumb and scored twice for the Owls (1-2). Quarterback Phillip Walker ran for another touchdown and Austin Jones kicked two field goals.
Penn State also honored Joe Paterno on the 50th anniversary of his first game. The in-game video presentation drew cheers from ardent fans in Beaver Stadium, but also drew criticism from some who said honoring Paterno is insensitive to victims in the school’s sex abuse scandal.