The clock struck zero and there it was, Rutgers first Big Ten win in football.
It was a fun, stressful 26-24 win over a 2-4 team, but it was a win. Except here's the thing: Rutgers' first Big Ten win didn't come against Indiana or Northwestern or Maryland. It didn't come against a team that you barely register as a Big Ten team.
It came against a traditional Blue Blood. It came against Michigan.
And at that moment, the fans spilled over the red wall, past the collapsable goal posts and stormed the middle of the field. Moments later, the criticism came rolling in. National media experts questioned the field storming, because the story of the week had been what a mess Michigan had been.
Fans of other teams on tsk tsked Rutgers fans for celebrating. Everyone wanted to talk about Michigan being awful, that you should only storm the field (or the court for that matter) when you beat a team that is in the Top Ten.
Those fans don't understand being a Rutgers fan--they remember Rutgers being terrible, but they don't remember 0-11 in 1997. They remember 2006, but they don't remember the times Rutgers has slipped up.
To them, Rutgers has always been Rutgers.
To us? Rutgers runs in our blood.
We sit and we suffer through 0-11, and we worry when we watch other teams get lifeboats to the ACC or the Big Ten or any other conference that has a semblance of stability. We sit through scandals, and foot-in-mouth syndrome, and rumors of firings. The missed opportunities.
But the lifeboat came, and Rutgers had to show it was worthy of that lifeboat. And last night, they showed it. They took a traditional power and knocked them off. It didn't matter what Michigan's record was. What mattered was the fact that it was Michigan.
The local media guys got it, their Twitter accounts full of explanations to the national guys of why Rutgers fans stormed. My friends got it, the text messages of congrats rolling in every other minute.
The football team won a game that will live on in Rutgers lore for years and years. It wasn't easy, because it never is. But once Kemoko Turay's big hand went up like Hamady N'Diaye in his prime (props) and tipped that football, it was time to exhale. It was not a win that will cause the bells to ring, but it is a win that will make fans smile for years and years.
It is a win that goes straight in the face of spring critics, who said Michigan couldn't wait to go to High Point Solutions Stadium and drop 60 on the Scarlet Knights.
Because that didn't happen.
No, Rutgers won.
So, take the next two weeks to smile and celebrate and turn the other cheeks to the critics. They don't matter.
Rutgers won a Big Ten game.
Drink it in.
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