Despite 48-0 loss, Frazier happy with NC Central
Henry Frazier felt that coming to Rutgers to take on a BCS opponent would give him a good idea about the players he would be coaching in his first season at North Carolina Central.
While the 48-0 loss wasn't what he was looking for, Frazier was more than happy with what his Eagles showed. They never quit. They played hard and the mistakes they made can be corrected in plenty of time for next week's game against Central State in Cleveland.
''My boys played hard, they played with class and they didn't quit,'' Frazier said after the Eagles' first game as a Football Championship Subdivision team. ''From a defensive standpoint I thought we did very well. Rutgers earned every point on our defense. On offense we can't giveaway points like we did.''
Rutgers got two first-half touchdown runs from highly touted freshman halfback Savon Huggins and the Scarlet Knights defense broke the game open with two touchdowns in a 45-second span in spoiling Frazier's debut on Thursday night.
The Eagles were limited to 120 yards in total offense, turned the ball over four times and allowed nine sacks.
''My kids never pointed fingers and they kept going hard,'' said Frazier, who is taking over a team that went 3-8 last season. ''You can correct the physical mistakes, the penalties, the dropped passes. Those things you can control as a coach. My guys kept fighting for me. They want to get better and win, so I have something to work with as a coach.''
When asked about the one-sided scorer, Frazier smiled.
''They aren't 48 points better than us,'' he said. ''The score says it. They capitalized on things, but they weren't that much better than us. Time will tell as we go on with the season.''
Rutgers coach Greg Schiano was impressed by the Eagles defense, especially the line.
''They have some kids that are some really good players,'' he said. ''They were big, they were quick with their hands. I think that showed. They got some penetration at times. They did a good job. Coach has been a head coach since he was 24 years old, he's built three or four programs; he knows what he's doing.''
Rutgers was just too much of a challenge on this night.
Huggins scored on runs of 1 and 7 yards and quarterback Chas Dodd added a 13-yard touchdown pass to Mohamed Sanu to build a 21-0 lead . The Scarlet Knights' defense then broke the game open in the third quarter when tackle Scott Vallone recovered a fumble in the end zone and Duron Harmon returned an interception 37 yards for another score in a 45-second span.
Backup quarterback Gary Nova later tossed a 44-yard TD pass to Brandon Coleman and San San Te added two field goals for Rutgers, which finished 4-8 in 2010.
The season-opening shutout was the second straight for Rutgers, and it was the biggest shutout win in a season opener since a 66-0 romp over Ursinus in 1918.
This one wasn't unexpected and the exciting thing for Rutgers of the Big East was seeing its anemic offense gain 347 yards and the play of Huggins, who was the most recruited player in New Jersey last year after rushing for 1,891 yards and 35 touchdowns at St. Peter's Prep.
Huggins only gained 32 yards on 10 carries, but he seemed to wake up the team and the crowd with a 1-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter after coming off the bench. He ran 7-yards around the right end with 8:58 left in the second quarter for a 14-0 lead that seemed to send Rutgers on its way.
Dodd hooked up with Sanu late in the first half to extend the lead to 21 points and then the defense, which had 17 sacks all last season, took over in the third quarter.
Eagles quarterback Michael Johnson was sacked by David Milewski in the end zone, knocking the ball loose. Vallone jumped on it for a 28-0 lead.
Less than a minute later, Harmon made his second interception of the game and followed a convoy of red-shirted teammates down the right sideline for a 35-0 lead.
Nova added his TD pass to Coleman about two minutes later and the worst team in the Big East was home free against their foes from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
Dodd finished 9 of 17 for 113 yards and an interception. Johnson was 10 of 25 for 88 yards with two picks.