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Rutgers’ series history with Northwestern

The Scarlet Knights hold a 3-1 edge in a matchup that first took place in 1919.

Northwestern v Rutgers Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images

The Scarlet Knights are traveling to Evanston this weekend to face Northwestern for the fifth time in their history. Rutgers will look to build on their 3-1 series lead. Let’s take a look back at the series history.


Before a crowd of 12,000 in Harrison, NJ, Rutgers rolled past Northwestern 28-0. The game was described as a battle of East against West. The New York Times headline read “Jerseyites Hand Westerners a Big Surprise in Spectacular Battle at Harrison.” An interesting note from the game was how both teams resorted repeatedly to the forward pass which was fairly new at the time. The play of the game was when the lightning-quick Rutgers half-back, Fitz French, stormed down the field for an 80-yard touchdown run. Rutgers scored a minute and a half into the game and never looked back. They finished 5-3 on the year and were led by head coach George Foster Sanford who is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.


This game was the first time Rutgers ever played in Evanston and was nationally televised. The Scarlet Knights had an offensive explosion of 515 yards which included two long touchdown passes of 83 and 90 yards from Scott Erney to receiver Randy Jackson. The 38-27 win was Rutgers football’s 1,000 game.


Two years later, Northwestern traveled to New Jersey in search of their first win over Rutgers. Gary Melton (Bo and Max Melton’s father) returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown. Antoine Moore rushed for 140 yards and 2 touchdowns as Rutgers held off Northwestern 22-18. The Wildcats got to the RU 8 yard line at the end of the game but were denied as Shawn Williams delivered a sack on fourth down.


Already at 1-6, Rutgers came into the Northwestern game struggling mightily. They played probably their best game of the season against a Northwestern team that finished with 9 wins. Rutgers punter, Adam Korsak, broke the school record for longest punt with a 79-yarder. Isaih Pacheco ran for a 44-yard touchdown as Rutgers held a 15-10 lead going into the fourth quarter. However, it was not enough as Isaiah Brower ran it into the end zone from 5 yards out with 8 minutes left in the game to lift Northwestern to their first win over the Scarlet Knights by the final score of 18-15.

Rutgers will look to get back in the win column this weekend as they take on Northwestern at Ryan Field for the second time ever.