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Rutgers Has Finally Proved Themselves Worthy in Big Ten

(Photo by Catalina Fragoso - Double G Media)

(Photo by Catalina Fragoso – Double G Media)


2014 was the Rutgers Scarlet Knights first season in the Big Ten conference in all sports. In football, the Scarlet Knights finished 3-5 in the Big Ten. They also lost Big Ten games by an average of 27.8 points per game, including a 37-0 rout from Heisman Trophy runner-up Melvin Gordon and the Wisconsin Badgers in their homecoming game on Nov. 1.

Meanwhile, they won the three Big Ten games by only an average of nine points per game. Big wins against the Michigan Wolverines and a comeback victory against the Maryland Terrapins earned the Scarlet Knights a spot in a bowl game.

After last season’s horrendous play in the Big Ten, Rutgers students were beginning to think they would see the same team that they did last season, if not a worse one. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Chris Laviano impressed in the team’s opening win against Norfolk State, but that was nothing to write home about.

Students were expecting to win their second game of the season against the Washington State Cougars, who were coming off a home loss against an Football Championship Series (FCS) team in Portland State. Unfortunately, the Cougars scored a game winning touchdown in the final seconds to shock the Scarlet Knights by a score of 37-34.

After a 28-3 loss in Happy Valley against the Penn State Nittany Lions, it looked as if the season was a lost one. With head coach Kyle Flood suspended for three games and WR Leonte Carroo suspended for domestic violence, things were going downhill.

In the past two games, however, the Scarlet Knights have proven that they are a better team than first thought. Down by only seven to the fourth ranked Michigan State Spartans, the Scarlet Knights were driving to tie the game, but on fourth down, Laviano spiked the ball, giving up the ball and a chance to tie the game. If Laviano hadn’t spiked the ball, there may have been a chance that the Scarlet Knights were to upset the #4 team in the country.

This past Saturday, the Knights traveled to Bloomington to take on another Big Ten foe in the Indiana Hoosiers. The Hoosiers were up 52-27 with 5:25 left in the third quarter. However, the Rutgers defense forced three fourth-quarter turnovers into touchdowns, and kicker Kyle Federico kicked a 26-yard field goal as time expired completed what tied the largest comeback in school history to win 55-52 (the Knights came back from 25 to beat Maryland in Nov. 2014.)

This Saturday night, the Scarlet Knights will face their biggest challenge of the season, when they take on Big Ten foe and #1 ranked reigning College Football Playoff National Champion, the Ohio State Buckeyes (8:00 p.m. ET, ABC).

The Buckeyes, despite being #1 in the Associated Press polls, have not played like they are the #1 team. They have struggled in their past few games against teams with little caliber, such as the Northern Illinois Huskies, who they only beat by a touchdown on Sept. 19.

They also were almost upset in Bloomington against the Hoosiers. In these two close-call wins, the Buckeyes have own by an average of only seven points per game. If Rutgers can test the Buckeyes, like the Huskies and Hoosiers have, or even upset them, the Scarlet Knights will prove that they can compete in the Big Ten against the big powerhouse teams.

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Stephen Ur

Stephen is the Football Editor at
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