On Saturday, Tennessee welcomed Alabama to Knoxville in what would be the team’s biggest game in quite some time.
Nearly four hours and 101 points later, Chase McGrath’s 40-yard field goal gave the Volunteers their first victory over Alabama in 15 years. Minutes after the game ended, the field was covered with Volunteer fans and the goal posts were crowd surfing amongst the sea of orange.
Tearing down the goal posts after a big victory is a heralded tradition in college football and Rutgers is at the forefront.
A rivalry between Rutgers and in-state foe Princeton sparked when the two played the first college football game in 1869. The series ended in 1980 when Rutgers defeated Princeton 44-13. Naturally, the goal posts were ripped down and this was the appropriate way for the rivalry to come to an end.
In 1968, Rutgers ended a six-game losing streak to Princeton. Following the game, the goal posts were not only ripped out of the ground but fans proceeded to tear them apart completely. The very next year, the same thing happened.
When a team is up 29-0 and decide to go for two after a touchdown, there is usually some ill will and disgruntled feelings coming from the other side. In this case, there was no other option. With three minutes left in the game, fans rushed the field and tore down the goal posts, leaving Rutgers no choice but to go for two.
The tradition continued over the next four years and the most controversial occurrence came in 1974. Once again, fans rushed the field at the three-minute mark to get their hands on the goal posts. The problem was, the Scarlet Knights held a 6-0 lead and Princeton was able to tie the game with 22 seconds left. The Tigers needed an extra point to win the game but there was no posts for the ball to go through.
Princeton exhausted all options with officials, including moving to the practice field or having referees stand where the posts would be. Instead, the Tigers were forced to go for two — and failed.
When the goal posts came crashing down in Knoxville, it brought up some thoughts on when fans in Piscataway might get the chance to do it again. Would it take pandemonium once again?
November 10, 2006 is a date that will always be cherished within the Rutgers program and for its fans. No. 3 Louisville came to town to take on undefeated No. 15 Rutgers. A 28-25 come-from-behind victory ended with a Jeremy Ito field goal and the Scarlet Knights earned the biggest win in program history.
Fans rushing the field happens on a weekly basis but is there a game that could warrant putting up some new goal posts?
For Rutgers, any win on its home field in the Big Ten is a step in the right direction. It is currently in the midst of a 20-game losing streak in Piscataway against conference foes. In the near future, Rutgers is preparing to host Indiana and this is the best chance to end that streak in 2022.
Let’s face it, storming the field after a win against a down Hoosier team would not make Rutgers look good. Remaining home games include Penn State and Michigan. Now those are games worthy of storming the field after an upset victory.
As for tearing down the goal posts and rewriting history, there is only one right answer — beating Ohio State.
The gap between Rutgers and the Buckeyes is so large that this does not seem like a realistic outcome that will happen anytime soon. When and if it does, the city might come crashing down, let alone the goal posts.
Tennessee’s victory over Alabama brought back a great tradition in college football and it is impossible not to mention Rutgers when thinking of it. Now, fans will have to wait for another instance to get fired up and do some damage.