The Rutgers football team defeated Delaware 45-13 on Saturday afternoon in its third and final non-conference game of the season. With the win, the Scarlet Knights (3-0, 0-0) are now undefeated through their first three games for the first time since 2012.
Rutgers was the first team to get points on the scoreboard, as senior quarterback Noah Vedral connected with senior wide receiver Bo Melton on a 28-yard touchdown pass with 9:34 to go in the first quarter.
Throughout the rest of the first half, four different Knights found the end zone while the Blue Hens (2-1, 1-0) struggled to keep pace. Included in the scoring was junior wide receiver Aron Cruickshank’s 62-yard punt return touchdown, his first career touchdown scored on a punt return.
Rutgers went into halftime leading Delaware 35-10.
After a first half filled with fireworks, the Knights and Blue Hens each made one field goal while Rutgers found the end zone one more time in the second half, scoring on a 1-yard run from junior running back Isaih Pacheco to cap off the victory.
“Well, it was good to get back home in front of our fans. I thought the student section was outstanding,” said head football coach Greg Schiano after the game. “They got here early again and stayed for a better part of the game which I was really pleased with.”
Vedral finished the day completing 21 of his 25 passes for 323 yards and two touchdowns. Melton was the recipient of one touchdown while senior wide receiver Brandon Sanders linked with Vedral on a 62-yard touchdown pass for his first touchdown as a member of the program.
Pacheco was the Knights’ leading rusher, finishing with 67 yards to go along with two touchdowns. Meanwhile, Cruickshank was Rutgers’ leader in all-purpose yards, finishing with 151 total yards.
The Knights finished their third straight game without committing a turnover. The program also limited penalties in the win, committing only two penalties.
“We believe very deeply that the ball is the program. (Former coach) Kirk Ciarrocca brought that here, and that's stuck with us everywhere we've been,” Schiano said when asked about the absence of turnovers to start the season. “When you carry that ball, you're carrying (the program) because, as crazy as it is, you need that ball to score every way except the safety. If you don't have the ball, you can't score.”
As for Delaware, Nolan Henderson finished with 92 passing yards and a touchdown while Dejoun Lee led the team on the ground with 121 yards. In the loss, the Blue Hens surrendered 5 sacks, 1.5 of which went to senior defensive lineman Julius Turner.
Rutgers will travel next week to take on Michigan in Ann Arbor. The game is set to kick off at 3:30 p.m. and will be the Knights’ first Big Ten game of the season.
“They are a really good football team … We know what we're up against. It sounds like Michigan is back to being Michigan,” Schiano said. “We had our crack last year and didn't do it. So now we're going on the road, and we've got to find a way against a very good football team.”
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