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Nova, Huggins sharp in Rutgers spring game

Two of the biggest storylines for Rutgers entering the 2013 spring season centered around two of its biggest offensive weapons -- one because of what he has done and the other because of what he may be able to do.

It was only a spring game, but Gary Nova and Savon Huggins did what they could to assure Scarlet Knights fans that the quarterback and running back positions will be in strong shape in 2013. Nova completed 11 of 16 passes for 222 yards with three touchdowns and an interception, while Huggins rushed for 73 yards and a score on 16 carries, while adding 19 yards on two catches.

Nova struggled during Rutgers' three-game losing streak to close the 2012 campaign but entered the spring lighter and more confident. He had a full vote of confidence from head coach Kyle Flood following his poor showings last season, and he has worked closely with new offensive coordinator Ron Prince throughout the spring, with nothing but positive words about him coming out of Piscataway, N.J.

Huggins, meanwhile, will have to carry the load in Rutgers' backfield after Jawan Jamison did much of the same last year. The Scarlet Knights' offense was never the same late in the season, when Jamison was hurting, and the top-rated player in the state of New Jersey from the Class of 2011 finally has the running back position all to himself. His 41-carry, 179-yard performance in a key win over Cincinnati late last season showed what he is capable of when given opportunity knocks.

Nova and Huggins' Scarlet team were 57-19 winners over the White team Saturday, with the game's final five touchdowns scored by 16 sixth-to-eighth graders from towns affected by Hurricane Sandy, playing flag football.

Roughly 21,000 fans at High Point Solution Stadium were given an option to donate $5 to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund. Rutgers wore "R Strong" helmets and sported jerseys with the names of more than 90 towns affected by Sandy, with each being signed by Flood and given to each town later this spring and summer.

Senior end Marcus Thompson won the Frank R. Burns Award, given to the player who displayed extraordinary mental and physical toughness in the spring. Redshirt freshman running back Desmon Peoples won the Mark Mills Second Effort Award and redshirt freshman corner Ian Thomas won the Douglas A. Smith Award as the most improved offensive and defensive players, respectively.