AP NEWS

Rutgers’ Darius Hamilton ‘fine’ after illegal cut block

September 27, 2016

PISCATAWAY – Darius Hamilton came into the interview room Monday with a walking boot on his left foot, but the senior defensive tackle said he is “fine” and indicated he expects to play Saturday when Rutgers visits second-ranked Ohio State.

Hamilton, the former Don Bosco star, was injured on what the officials termed an illegal low block by Iowa’s Ike Boettger in the Hawkeyes’ 14-7 victory Saturday. The penalty wiped out a 75-yard touchdown run by LeShun Daniels Jr. that would have given Iowa a 13-0 lead early in the third quarter.

The NCAA has put an emphasis on so-called cut blocks this year, and the new interpretation of the rule prohibits a player who leaves the tackle box from blocking below the waist toward the initial position of the ball. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said after the game he believed Boettger’s block was legal, and indicated he feels some officiating crews are interpreting the rule differently than others.

Hamilton came up limping and missed some playing time in the second half.

“I don’t have an opinion on it,” Hamilton said of the block by Boettger. “It happened. The call went in our favor. Whether it was dirty or not, it’s part of the game of football. Football has a 100 percent injury rate, and I just got a little nicked up.”

Hamilton, who missed all but one game last season because of a chronic right knee injury, certainly can sympathize with teammates Janarion Grant (fractured ankle) and Quanzell Lambert (knee injury), both of whom saw their senior seasons end Saturday.

“It [stinks],” Hamilton said, “especially knowing the kind of people they are, knowing the kind of competitors they are. I know it’s killing them. It’s sad to see them go out like that.”

Still, Hamilton said, “The morale of the team is definitely high.”

ANOTHER SEASON FOR GRANT? Coach Chris Ash said Rutgers will apply for a medical redshirt for wide receiver Grant so that he could play again next year. However, the Scarlet Knights would have to get a favorable ruling for that extra year to be given. Grant played in four games out of 12, which is above the normal 30-percent threshold for a player to be eligible to get a medical redshirt.

“We’ll [apply], but someone else has to make the decision,” Ash said, “whether they are going to allow it to happen or not based on all the criteria. It’s not up to me, the AD or anybody here at Rutgers.

“We’ll submit the necessary documents to try to petition for it, but it’s up to somebody else to make that decision. And you know, you see it all the time in college football, some people get it, some people don’t. You’re never really sure.”

BAILEY BACK AT WR: Ash said true freshman Dacoven Bailey, who had been helping out as an extra defensive back, will move back to wide receiver in Grant’s absence. Bailey is bothered by a hand injury.

“We put him on defense because he had a cast on [his hand] and he couldn’t catch a ball,” Ash said. “He’s back at receiver. He’s got a different style of cast on and he can catch balls. … There’s no reason to have a kid standing on the sideline that’s a talented kid like Dacoven because he had a cast on. It’s changed, so we’ll let him play what he was recruited to play.”