After Slow Start, Rutgers Blows Out Norfolk State in Opener
PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Leonte Carroo caught three third-quarter touchdown passes after sitting out a first-half suspension and set a school record as Rutgers overcame the distractions of an academic investigation involving coach Kyle Flood and the dismissal of five arrested players in a 63-13 win over Norfolk State on Saturday.
Carroo, who was benched because of a curfew violation, caught touchdown passes of 55, 56 and 18 yards from Chris Laviano in a 28-point third quarter that broke the game open. He now has a career school-record 22 touchdown receptions.
Janarion Grant ignited the spurt by returning the opening kickoff 80 yards.
Quarterback Hayden Rettig threw a touchdown and ran for another in the first half to give the Scarlet Knights a 21-13 lead, but Flood opted to switch to Laviano, who also was suspended for a curfew violation, and it worked.
It just added another problem for Rutgers, a quarterback controversy in addition to the investigation and the player dismissals, which happened 10 minutes before the opening kickoff.
Greg Hankerson threw touchdown passes of 16 yards to DeAndre Sangster and 29 yards to Torian Henderson for Norfolk State, which could not win in its first game under new coach Latrell Scott.
The game must have seemed a breather for the football program which has been under the microscope since Aug. 25 when stories emerged that Flood was under investigation for possible violation of school and NCAA rules for asking a teacher about a grade that cornerback Nadir Barnwell received.
That investigation has not been resolved, and there was some question whether Flood would be allowed to coach the season opener. He did, leading the team on to the field with little or no crowd reaction.
The situation got messier when five players were arrested on Thursday and charged with aggravated assault, riot and conspiracy to commit a riot for a fight in April that left a man with a broken jaw and a couple of home invasions.
The players were suspended from the team on Thursday. They were suspended from the university on an interim basis on Friday and then dismissed from the team on Saturday.
Kicked off the team were Barnwell, fellow defensive backs Dre Boggs, Ruhann Peele and Delon Stephenson and fullback Razohnn Gross. Barnwell, Boggs and Stephenson were slated to be starters.
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