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Rutgers’ Jamal Merrell a go for Louisville game

Just in time for one its biggest games of the season, Rutgers will see a key piece of its defensive puzzle return after an extended absence.

Head coach Kyle Flood said Sunday night that linebacker Jamal Merrell will play in the Scarlet Knights’ huge AAC matchup against Louisville Thursday night. Merrell has missed the last three games due to a kidney injury.

“He passed all the tests and the qualifications that he needed to (pass) to get cleared,” Flood said. “Physically, he looked like he could’ve played last week but he wasn’t medically ready to play. Now he’s cleared.”

Merrell has started 28 of the last 29 games in which he’s played, finishing the 2012 season third in tackles (83) and fourth in tackles for loss (8.5).