Rutgers Scarlet Knights football

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Rutgers Scarlet Knights football
2014 Rutgers Scarlet Knights football team
Rutgers athletics logo.svg
First season 1869
Athletic director Julie Hermann
Head coach Kyle Flood
3rd year, 15–11  (.577)
Home stadium High Point Solutions Stadium
Stadium capacity 52,454
Stadium surface Field Turf
Location Piscataway, New Jersey
Conference Big Ten Conference
All-time record 626–606–42 (.508)
Postseason bowl record 5–4 (.556)
Claimed national titles 1 (1869)
Conference titles 3 (Middle Atlantic)
1 (Big East)
Consensus All-Americans 45


Fight song The Bells Must Ring
Mascot Scarlet Knight
Marching band Marching Scarlet Knights
Rivals Army Black Knights
Navy Midshipmen
Syracuse Orange
UConn Huskies
Princeton Tigers
Website Rutgers Scarlet Knights

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights football team represents Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA). The team competes in the American Athletic Conference (formerly the Big East), of which it has been a football member since 1991, however, Rutgers has announced that it will join the Big Ten Conference beginning with the 2014 season. Rutgers plays its home games at High Point Solutions Stadium, located on the university's Piscataway, New Jersey campus. The team is currently coached by Kyle Flood.

The Rutgers University football program is considered to be one of the most historic programs in the country. In 1869, Rutgers defeated Princeton University by a score of 6 to 4 in what is considered to be the first ever intercollegiate football game. For this reason, Rutgers has been affectionately described as "The Birthplace of College Football."[1] The team currently holds an all-time record of 626–606–42, giving Rutgers the 38th most victories among NCAA FBS programs.[2] Since 2005, Rutgers has appeared in eight bowl games, of which it has won five.[3]


College Football is Born: The First Season (1869)[edit]

On November 6, 1869, Rutgers and nearby neighbor Princeton competed in the first ever intercollegiate football game. The site for the contest was a small plot of land where the College Avenue Gymnasium currently stands on Rutgers' campus in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The structure of the game resembled more of a rugby-style contest instead of modern day football, with players allowed to kick and bat the ball with their fists and hands. At the time, Rutgers was referred to as the Queensmen, a homage to the school's chartered name of Queen's College. The Rutgers squad was captained by William J. Leggett and donned scarlet kerchiefs atop their heads in an effort to distinguish between the two teams. Rutgers would go on to win the contest by a score of 6 goals to 4.[4]

A week after the first game was held in New Brunswick, Rutgers would visit Princeton for a second matchup. This time, Princeton prevailed by a score of 8 goals to 0. Rutgers and Princeton had planned for a third game in the 1869 season, but the contest never took place due to fears that the games were interfering with the students' studies. Thus, both schools would end the season with a record of 1-1, theoretically tying for the first ever national championship in college football history. However, some consider Princeton to be the sole winner of the national championship since it outscored Rutgers by a total score of 12 goals to 6 on the season.[4]

The Remaining Years (1870-2011)[edit]

From 1929 to 1975, Rutgers was a member of the Middle Three Conference, which consisted of a round-robin against Lafayette College and Lehigh University.[5] Starting in 1940, the 'conference champion' received the Little Brass Cannon. Following Lehigh's capture of the Little Brass Cannon in 1951, Rutgers became an independent team in 1952, though it still played Lafayette and continued the Middle Three round-robin in 1953.[6] Although Rutgers continued to be a part of the Middle Three until 1975, the Scarlet Knights became a member of the Middle Atlantic Conference from 1958 to 1961. The college won the conference championship in three of those four years (1958, 1960, and 1961) and was awarded the Wilmington Touchdown Club Trophy. The 1961 season was particularly remarkable as it was the Scarlet Knights' first undefeated season (9–0)—with Alabama, one of only two undefeated teams in the nation—and the team was captained by future college football hall-of-famer Alex Kroll.[7] In 1961, Rutgers was considered a contender for the Rose Bowl, but was not selected because university president Mason Welch Gross did not express interest with the Rose Bowl's organizers.[8][9] The following year, Rutgers once again went independent, and remained so until it joined the Big East Conference in 1991. In 1976, Rutgers declined an invitation to play an unranked McNeese State University at the inaugural Independence Bowl, feeling snubbed by more prestigious bowls despite its undefeated 11–0 season.[10]

The Rutgers College football team in 1882.

Greg Schiano took over as head coach for the 2001 season. His first four years resulted in losing seasons, however, in 2005, the team achieved its first winning season since 1992. In 2006, the Scarlet Knights achieved a record of 11–2, including a first-ever postseason victory. In the following year, Rutgers received its first ever preseason rank. Since that break-out year in 2005, Rutgers under Schiano achieved a winning season in five consecutive years.[11] The streak ended in 2010, a year marred by a spinal cord injury suffered by defensive lineman Eric LeGrand in the sixth game of the season. Rutgers lost its final six games to finish with a record of 4-8.[12] After the 2011 season, Schiano left Rutgers to become the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.[13] Kyle Flood took over as head coach after Schiano's departure.

The Scarlet Knights have had three players drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft. In 2010, Anthony Davis was chosen No. 11 overall by the San Francisco 49ers, and Devin McCourty was chosen No. 27 overall by the New England Patriots. In 2009, Kenny Britt was chosen No. 30 overall by the Tennessee Titans. Britt, an Associated Press All-America selection, is the first player in Rutgers history to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. Ten Scarlet Knights have been drafted in the last three years. 2010 also marked the fourth consecutive year that a Scarlet Knight has been taken on the draft’s first day after Brian Leonard (2007) and Ray Rice (2008) were both second round draft selections.

Conference History[edit]

  • Middle States Intercollegiate Football League (1893-1894)
  • Middle Three Conference (1946-1951)
  • Middle Atlantic Conference (University Division) (1958-1961)
  • Big East (1991-1995)*Football-only member
  • Big East (1995-2013)* All sports
  • American Athletic Conference (2013)* All sports
  • Big Ten (2014)

Conference Titles[edit]

  • Middle States IFL Champions (1894)
  • Middle Atlantic Conference University Division Champions (1958)
  • Middle Atlantic Conference University Division Champions (1960)
  • Middle Atlantic Conference University Division Champions (1961)
  • Big East Conference Co-Champions (2012)

Rutgers along with Louisville, Cincinnati and Syracuse finished in a four way tie for the Big East title. Louisville was awarded the de facto conference title and given the invitation to the BCS bowl due to their higher ranking in the final BCS poll.


Logos and uniforms[edit]

Traditional uniforms have featured red jerseys, white pants, and red helmets but the particular style has changed many times over the years. The helmets, in particular, have featured a wide range of logos. The Block R logo has seen various forms over the years but what fans now consider the "traditional" team logo debuted in 2001. Rutgers most recent uniforms feature a distinctive chrome helmet with a rotation of red, black, and white jerseys that are based on the team's knight mascot.

Black jerseys and pants have been rarely used by the team. Although black pants were worn on a couple of occasions with white jerseys on the road, the black jerseys (with black pants) have only been used three times, in 2007, 2011 and most recently in 2013. They were worn on October 27, 2007 at Rutgers Stadium versus West Virginia in a torrential rain storm during a 31-3 loss, and with black helmets against Pittsburgh on October 8, 2011 in a 34-10 victory. The black jerseys were also used against West Virginia on October 29, 2011 in a 41-31 loss. Rutgers wore the all black jerseys with the chrome helmets against Arkansas on September 21, 2013 in the annual blackout game. Rutgers prevailed by a score of 28-24 after a late comeback led by quarterback Gary Nova and his 346 passing yards.

Recognized players[edit]

Rutgers has had many key contributing players in its 142-year history of college football. Dating back to the 1910s, the university has had several All-American candidates as well as a couple of once potential Heisman Trophy candidates in its storied history.

1910s Paul Robeson, born in Princeton, NJ played under future College Football Hall of Fame coach George Sanford. In his junior and senior years, playing as an end, Robeson was selected as an All-American in 1917 and 1918. After college he played three years in the early NFL, first with the Akron Pros in 1921 and then the Milwaukee Badgers in 1922. Robeson himself was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1995.

1920s Homer Hazel first played for Rutgers in 1915, and then from 1923-1924. He was twice named an All-American, as an end in 1923 and a fullback in 1924. Hazel was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1951.

1950s Bill Austin, a native of Fanwood, NJ was one of the first recognized players from Rutgers. Gifted with a twisting and elusive running style, Austin led the Scarlet Knights in rushing three straight seasons. Despite being undersized at 5'11 and 170 lbs, Austin rushed for 2,073 yards while ranking up 204 points in his career with Rutgers. His 32-touchdown career ranks second in the Rutgers annals among all-time scorers and he had 13 interceptions from his defensive back position, which is one short of the all-time mark.

Austin was inducted into the Rutgers Football Hall of Fame in 1988 and was recognized as an AP All-American in 1958. That year, Austin led the team to an 8–1 record, though the team could've gone 9-0 if Austin did not sit out the Quantico Marines game with an apparent hand injury. Austin was also considered[by whom?] a potential Heisman Trophy candidate, though the award was won by Pete Dawkins of Army that year. Austin went on to play for the Washington Redskins after being drafted in 1959.

1960s By the 1960s, Alex Kroll came onto the scene as a formidable opponent. At 6'2 228 lbs playing center, Kroll played was enrolled at Yale for two seasons before serving in the Army. He later formed a bond with the football captains at Rutgers before deciding to transfer there. Kroll was extremely physical in the trenches, giving way to his spot as the captain of the team in 1961. In his senior year biography, “his performance and leadership in 1960 helped Rutgers to a season which surpassed even the most optimistic of the previews. He has size, speed, hustle, and an uncanny ability to call defenses best equipped to stop the enemy.” Kroll was an excellent student in the classroom, played linebacker at times, and helped lead Rutgers to a 17–1 record in his time at Rutgers, earning him AP All-American center award in the undefeated season of 1961.

1970s The 1970s featured several great players for the Scarlet Knights. From 1971-1973, running back JJ Jennings tore up the record books, ranking him third all time at Rutgers with 2,935 yards rushing. He also led the nation in scoring during the 1973 season, with Honorable Mention of the AP All-American team.

In the late 1970s, Rutgers football, led by coach Frank Burns, showed the nation its capabilities with an undefeated record in 1976 (11-0). That year, key contributors Nate Toran, who finished his career with 52 sacks including 17 in 1976.[clarification needed] Toran earned second team AP All-American that year and was joined by honorable mentions John Alexander, Jim Hughes, Henry Jenkins, and Mark Twitty.

1980s An array of different players from the 1980s led Rutgers to match-ups against teams such as Penn State, Michigan State, Alabama, and more. During that time, Deron Cherry, a standout safety for Rutgers, was an honorable AP All-American in 1980, followed by his teammate quarterback Ed McMichael.

Other standouts included Jim Dumont Sr. and Tyronne Stowe, who holds the all-time record of 533 tackles. In the late 1980s, Scott Erney was an Honorable AP All-American mention, leading the team to key victories in 1988 over Michigan State and Penn State. Wide receiver Eric Young, who later went on to play baseball in the MLB, was another Honorable AP All-American mention.

1990s The early 1990s brought in a great recruiting class for Rutgers football, featuring running backs Bruce Presley and Terrell Willis. Together they were known as "Thunder and Lightning," they racked up 5,889 yards combined earning Presley 2nd team Freshman All-American honors in 1992, and Willis 1st team Freshman All-American honors in 1993.

In 1994, tight end Marco Battaglia came onto the scene as a force. In his career "on the banks,"[14] Marco went from 27 catches, to 58, to 69 catches in 1995. With great size at 6'3 245 lbs, he was drafted in the second round of the 1996 NFL draft.

2000s Running back Ray Rice is a player who has stood out as a major icon in Rutgers Football. Recruited out of New Rochelle HS in New York, Rice beat out four other running backs his freshman year to earn a starting spot in 2005. He racked up 1,120 yards that season. In 2006, Rice finished second in the nation in rushing and was a finalist for the Maxwell Award, given to the best player in the country. By 2007, Rutgers University had set up a Heisman campaign for Rice. By the end of his career, Ray had amassed 4,926 yards on the ground and leads the Rutgers record book in almost every rushing category. He was 2nd team AP All-American two years in a row ('06-'07).

Defensive tackle Eric Foster was also a force, earning first-team AP All-American in 2006 and 2nd team in 2007. Wide receiver Kenny Britt, tackle Anthony Davis, and defensive back Devin McCourty were also Honorable Mentions on the AP All-American team during their careers.

2010s On July 30, 2013, coach Kyle Flood announced Rutgers will retire the jersey number 52 of paralyzed former player Eric LeGrand. He was honored in a ceremony September 14, 2013, when Rutgers played at home against Eastern Michigan University. It was the first number ever retired for the football program.[15]

Bowl game results[edit]

Rutgers will appear in its ninth bowl game in its 141-year history in college football in 2013. As of 2013, Rutgers has won 5 bowls out of 9 bowl appearances.[16]

Date Bowl Opponent Result Score
December 16, 1978 Garden State Bowl Arizona State Loss 34–18
December 27, 2005 Insight Bowl Arizona State Loss 45–40
December 28, 2006 Texas Bowl Kansas State Win 37–10
January 5, 2008 International Bowl Ball State Win 52–30
December 29, 2008 Bowl North Carolina State Win 29–23
December 19, 2009 St. Petersburg Bowl Central Florida Win 45–24
December 30, 2011 New Era Pinstripe Bowl Iowa State Win 27–13
December 28, 2012 Russell Athletic Bowl Virginia Tech Loss 13–10 OT
December 28, 2013 New Era Pinstripe Bowl Notre Dame Loss 29–16

Head coaches[edit]

25 men have served as head coach of the Rutgers football team.

Coach Tenure Record (%)
William A. Reynolds 1869–1894 49–80–9 (.355)
H. W. Ambruster 1895 3–4 (.429)
John C. B. Pendleton 1896–1897 8–12 (.400)
William V. B. Van Dyck 1898–1899 3–15–1 (.184)
Michael F. Daly 1900 4–4 (.500)
Arthur P. Robinson 1901 0–7 (.000)
Henry Van Hoevenberg 1902 3–7 (.300)
Oliver D. Mann 1903, 1905 7–10–1 (.417)
Alfred Ellet Hitchner 1904 1–6–2 (.222)
Frank Gorton 1906–1907 8–7–3 (.528)
Joseph T. Smith 1908 3–5–1 (.389)
Herman Pritchard 1909 3–5–1 (.389)
Howard Gargan 1910–1912 12–10–4 (.538)
George Sanford 1913–1923 56–32–5 (.629)
John H. Wallace 1924–1926 12–14–1 (.463)
Harry Rockafeller 1927–1930, 1942–1945 33–26–1 (.560)
J. Wilder Tasker 1931–1937 31–27–5 (.532)
Harvey Harman 1938–1941, 1946–1955 74–44–2 (.625)
John Stiegman 1956–1959 22–15 (.595)
John F. Bateman 1960–1972 73–51 (.589)
Frank R. Burns 1973–1983 78–43–1 (.643)
Dick Anderson 1984–1989 27–34–4 (.446)
Doug Graber 1990–1995 29–36–1 (.447)
Terry Shea 1996–2000 11–44 (.200)
Greg Schiano 2001–2011 67–66 (.504)
Kyle Flood 2012–present 15–10 (.600)
TOTAL 632–612–42 (.508)

Local media coverage[edit]

Rutgers has a contract with SportsNet New York to air various football-related programming during the season. This includes games broadcast by the Big East Network, which formerly aired over local television.

Football games air on the Rutgers Football Radio Network, which consists of three stations. The flagship is WOR in New York, a 50,000 watt clear channel station that is also the flagship for the university's men's basketball team. The other two stations in the network are WCTC, a low-power AM station that also carries Rutgers sports, and WPEN, a Philadelphia area sports talk station. These games are produced by Nelligan Sports Marketing, a firm that finances college sports broadcasts throughout the nation.

Chris Carlin is the voice of Rutgers football, with Ray Lucas serving as his color analyst. Bruce Beck subs for Lucas when he isn't available. MSG Network reporter Anthony Fucilli works as the sideline reporter while WFAN radio host Marc Malusis is the studio host.

Inside Rutgers Football is the coach's show of Rutgers University's football team. The show, which debuted at the start of the 2001 season, is hosted by WNBC's Bruce Beck and features head coach Kyle Flood and is produced by Rutgers.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Rutgers Football History Capsule". Rutgers University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. Retrieved August 15, 2012. 
  2. ^ "2012 Football Bowl Subdivision Records - All-Time Team Won-Loss Records". National Collegiate Athletic Association. Retrieved August 15, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Rutgers Football Bowl History". Rutgers University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. Retrieved August 15, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Pellowski, Michael (2008). Rutgers Football: A Gridiron Tradition in Scarlet. 
  5. ^ "CFB Data Warehouse". Middle Three Conference Champions. Retrieved 8-5-2011. 
  6. ^ Burton, Chuck. "What Happened to the Cannon?". Lehigh Football Nation. Retrieved 8/5/2011. 
  7. ^ "Doing for Dear Old Rutgers" in Time Magazine (1 December 1961) (No further authorship information available). Accessed 12 January 2007.
  8. ^ "Army, Navy May Hold Key to Rose Bowl" in The Washington Post (2 December 1961). Page A16. Only authorship information given "by a staff reporter".
  9. ^ "Son of former Rutgers coach sees Schiano as reincarnation of dad" by Rick Malwitz in The Home News Tribune (30 November 2006). Accessed 12 January 2007.
  10. ^ "Rutgers Votes to Skip Independence Bowl" in The Washington Post (23 November 1976). Page D6. (No further authorship information available).
  11. ^ Rutgers Historical Scores, Stassen College Football Information, retrieved 18 January 2009.
  12. ^ Associated Press article (6 January 2011). "Rutgers Eric LeGrand Has Sensation Throughout Body". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 January 2011. 
  13. ^ "Tampa Bay hires Rutgers’ Greg Schiano as Buccaneers’ new head coach". Washington Post. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  14. ^ Rutgers School Song. "On the Banks of the Old Raritan - refers to RU being on the banks of the Raritan River" 
  15. ^ "Rutgers to retire LeGrand's No. 52". myfoxny. Retrieved 30 July 2013. 
  16. ^ Rutgers Historical Scores at Division I-A Historical Scores, published by James Howell. Accessed 12 January 2007.
  17. ^

External links[edit]