We continue with our new feature highlighting past games that occurred this week in Rutgers football history. As the da Bears of Morgan State lumber into Piscataway, we take a look back at....
This Week....in Rutgers....Football....History (*echoing* history...history....history)
Last year: We’re gonna cheat a bit and include Sept. 17 in this week’s report. It was the Bob Davies-led New Mexico Lobos visiting High Point Solutions Stadium for the first time. Things did not start off well but the Knights fought back from a 21 point deficit to win the contest 37-28. Dynamic plays highlighted the RU scoring, including an 80-yard touchdown run by Robert Martin (169 yards), a 69-yard punt return touchdown by Janarion Grant and a 75-yard throw and catch from quarterback Chris Laviano (11 for 27, 152 yards) to wideout Jawuan Harris. Laviano connected with five different receivers.
1998: September 12 - Rutgers opened its Big East schedule at Boston College, and the Eagles were not gracious hosts. This was the Terry Shea-era. Need I say more? The New York Times had something to say; here’s the opening line from its story on the game: “Maybe Rutgers, a Division I-A team, should stick to playing Division I-AA schools.” Thought Drew Mehringer’s offense was anemic? RU had 53 yards rushing and went on to lose 41-14. RU got close in the third quarter when cornerback Reggie Stephens picked off a pass at the Eagles' 28-yard line and raced in for a touchdown. Highwater mark.
1993: September 11 - The Meadowlands had been Rutgers’ “second home” for the “big “ games that would draw more than Rutgers Stadium could hold. But 1993 was different; that was the year that construction on the expanded stadium forced the Knights to play all their home games at Giants Stadium. In a crazy shootout, RU topped the Duke Blue Devils, 39-38.
1988: September 10 - As Rutgers tried to spread its wings in “bigger time” football, it scheduled a game against a future conference foe, No. 15 Michigan State. And much to Sparty’s surprise, the Knights left East Lansing with a 17-13 victory. Scott Erney threw for 239 yards and the Scarlet were up 17-0 in the second quarter after TD passes to Eric Young and Brett Mersola. The Knights had 333 total yards in offense. The defense also played a major role as Doug Kokoskie fell on a fumble at the Scarlet Knights’ 10 in the closing minutes.
1983: September 10 - It was the season opener for both teams as Rutgers recorded a 22-5 win over Connecticut (no one knew it was UConn back then).
And because we cheated with last year’s New Mexico game on 9/17, we’ll offer this bonus game from the same date in ‘83. If you call a 42-22 loss to No. 20 Boston College a bonus. The game was at Giants Stadium, one of three “home” games at the Meadowlands. The team would finish 3-8 and it would mark the last season with Frank Burns as head coach.
1978: September 9 - No. 3 Penn State was the host as the Knights tried to right the wrong that was the shellacking they got the year before (45-7). It was a different game, though, as the Knights lost 26-10.
1958: Whoops! The nine-game season would not begin for another two weeks. It would be a good start for the ‘58 Knights (8-1) as they top Princeton, 28-0.
Next week: The Knights head out for their first road game at the venerable Memorial Stadium in Lincoln and we’ll look at what happened the week of Sept. 17-23 in Rutgers....Football....History (*echoing* history...history....history)