GREENVILLE, N.C. — Rob Ritrovato had been waiting for this chance to show his skills, and on Saturday he took advantage of the most playing time he has received in his Temple career.
A redshirt junior from West Chester East, Ritrovato rushed for 48 yards on 14 carries and scored his first career touchdown on a two-yard run in Temple's 34-10 win Saturday over East Carolina on Saturday at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
Before Saturday, he had eight career carries for 32 yards.
The 5-foot-11, 230-pound Ritrovato has been a fullback, but he lined up frequently at halfback on Saturday assisting a banged-up backfield.
Top back Ryquell Armstead couldn't even walk on Thursday, according to coach Geoff Collins and was limited to four carries, while key reserve Jager Gardner is expected to be out for the season with an unspecified injury.
"It was a great feeling," Ritrovato said. "The whole team was great today, the offensive line played their butts off and the coaches schemed up great."
Ritrovato came to Temple as a walk-on and has yet to earn a scholarship.
"That's up to the coaches," he said about a scholarship. "I am just here to play."
He also has the best nickname on the team, Nitro.
"Nitro did his thing, I am proud of him," said David Hood, who rushed for 106 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. "I talked to him all week about being ready because I wanted to see him ball-out too."
Ritrovato says that he played halfback in spring ball and during training camp and was glad to get the chance.
"The coaches know I am a versatile guy who can do a bunch of things in the backfield," he said. "I am really happy I got to show them and get some opportunities."
Redshirt junior cornerback Derrek Thomas, traveled with the team, and was hoping to play, but he was sidelined with an unspecified injury.
Starting left guard Jovahn Fair missed his third straight game due to injury.
First career start.
Redshirt freshman Vincent Picozzi made his first career start at left guard and fared well. A graduate of Lansdale Catholic, the 6-foot-4, 300-pound Picozzi was playing in only his third college game.
He had been working with the first-stringers all week but wasn't told until Saturday morning by Collins that he would be starting.
"It felt really felt good to finally get my first collegiate start and play with the guys," Picozzi said. "Credit the whole offensive line, because without us working together, we don't move the ball at all."