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Monday, November 3, 2014

With help from Chris Laviano, Rutgers' Andre Patton tops targets against Wisconsin

(AP photo)
By Tyler Barto
Twitter: @Tyler_Barto

For the first time this season, Leonte Carroo was unseated as Rutgers' top target-eater. The culprit? A sophomore who played only one offensive snap the week before.

Sparked in part by his close relationship with backup quarterback Chris Laviano, Andre Patton saw a team-high seven targets Saturday against Wisconsin, though it resulted in only three catches for 18 yards.

Five of them came from Laviano, whom Patton considers a friend.

"Me and Chris have a good relationship off and on the field," Patton said. "That's really not a factor. It all depends on how the defense plays and who's open."

Patton appeared on only one play two weeks ago at No. 15 Nebraska after he was suspended for a half for an unspecified violation of team rules.

He returned for his most productive game a week later, when Laviano replaced starter Gary Nova midway through the third quarter. Laviano and Patton were part of the same recruiting class.

"Andre's a good receiver," Laviano said. "With a bunch of weapons we have, he just happened to be the guy I thought was open at the time. ... We're good friends. I'm familiar with his routes. Like I said, he was in the read so I threw him the ball."

Patton, a preseason co-starter, missed the first four games of the season with an upper-body injury he suffered falling on a touchdown pass in a preseason scrimmage.

He played primarily in run-based packages before earning some spot duty elsewhere.

"It was a little shocking, what happened at the beginning of the season," Patton said. "But as the year went on, I feel like when I came back I progressed, started getting into the offense. As of right now, I'm just doing what I can to help our offense win games."

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