PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) — On a day Rutgers honored Eric LeGrand, Paul James again was the big story for the Scarlet Knights.
With starting quarterback Gary Nova sidelined early with an apparent concussion and Eastern Michigan threatening to spoil LeGrand's day, James came through again.
The sophomore running back ran for a career-best 192 yards and three touchdowns and Rutgers defeated Eastern Michigan 28-10 on Saturday when the Scarlet Knights honored the paralyzed LeGrand by retiring his No. 52 jersey.
James has rushed for 493 yards on 61 carries in three games, averaging 164.3 yards per game and 8.1 yards per carry. He has six touchdowns in the last two games and has become the offense for Rutgers (2-1).
"I am fine with that pressure," said James, a former walk-on who now has a scholarship. "It definitely makes me strive for more when they put that pressure on me. I definitely want to be consistent with my numbers, because consistency wins games, no matter what."
The pressure on James increased early, when Nova was hit in the helmet after releasing a pass on the opening series and suffered the apparent concussion. He finished the drive but never came back. Coach Kyle Flood refused to disclose his injury after the game or say how long he might be out.
"When the star quarterback goes down, it definitely is going to become more of a running game," James said. "I knew it was going to be heavy run plays so I had to focus, getting the ball, getting a lot of carries and getting that power running."
James had 21 carries against Eastern Michigan (1-2), but he turned two of them into his third and fourth runs of 50 yards his season. Quron Pratt also joined the big play lineup, returning a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter.
The running game was going so well that Chas Dodd only needed to throw nine passes after replacing Nova.
"If you are able to do something and they are not doing a good job stopping it, then why not?" Dodd said. "Just keep doing it. That was a lot of it. We ran the ball well and it was great seeing us do that."
The retirement of LeGrand's No. 52 was also great to see.
It marked the first time in the 144-year history of the birthplace of college football that the university retired the number of a football player and this one was clearly loved by all in attendance.