Rutgers Scarlet Knights Football Details
Rutgers, for now, will not go down as a perennial contender for the national title like some programs, but it will have a place in history only one other team can lay claim. Back on November 6, 1869, Rutgers and Princeton played what is believed to be the first intercollegiate football game (won by Rutgers 6-4). This honor has led to Rutgers being referred to as the ‘Birthplace of College Football’.
For most of the early years, the team didn’t even have a head coach (1869-1890). The first was William A. Reynolds in 1891 who guided the team to an 8-6 record in his only season as head coach.
The team was briefly affiliated with the Middle States Intercollegiate Football League (1893–1894) but was otherwise an independent from 1869-1946 (when it joined the Middle Three Conference; 1946-1951). This era was followed by seven years as an independent that ended when they joined the Middle Atlantic Conference in 1958.
After leaving the Middle Atlantic in 1961, Rutgers remained independent until it joined the Big East in 1991 (which later became the American Athletic Conference in 2013). In 2014, the Scarlet Knights began playing in the Big Ten where they remain today.
With an all-time record of 641-622-42, Rutgers has the distinction of ranking No. 37 in victories among FBS teams. Over the course of those victories they have won two conference titles, the Middle States IFL (1894) and the Big East Conference (2012).
Their most successful run came during Greg Schiano’s time as head coach (2001-2011). Five of the program’s six bowl wins came during his tenure. In 2006, the team finished the season ranked No. 12 in both major polls (highest end-of-season ranking in school history).
Since Schiano’s departure, the program has struggled. Last season, Chris Ash’s first as head coach, they finished 2-10 and with a 0-9 record in conference play. The team is hoping that first-year offensive coordinator, Jerry Kill, can breathe some life into the offense.
For that to happen, the team will need its talent to play above and beyond what they have shown they are capable of doing. Janarion Grant and Jawuan Harris could make for a good tandem at wide receiver. But they are going to need a quarterback to emerge, either graduate transfer Kyle Bolin or freshman Jonathan Lewis.
The defense wasn’t much better than the offense last season. So, it will need to improve significantly for the team to succeed. Linebacker Trevor Morris gives them at least one playmaker, but someone else will have to emerge for the Scarlet Knights to give the 52,000+ at HighPoint Solutions Stadium (in Piscataway, New Jersey) something to cheer about at home games.