Know Your Opponent: Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Rutgers football fans
AP Photo/Mel Evans

Welcome back to Know Your Opponent! Each week during the season we shed some light on the Buckeyes’ opponent, examining their record, traditions, mascot, famous alumni and anything else we think is worth making fun of. This week: The Rutgers Scarlet Knights!

Let’s start off with a video of the Rutgers Athletic Director chugging a beer on stage at a tailgate event:

He took the stage to ask the crowd to calm down after some arrests for disorderly conduct, but chugged a beer when offered. He apologized, but this is obviously the only way for an AD to act. When I started at OSU they were closing off Lane Avenue for a massive tailgate, and 19 year-olds were openly drinking beer from Natural Light cases carried on their shoulders as if they were big kids (not me). They squashed it the next year citing safety concerns, and I was never the same. The sooner our college administrators embrace inevitable tailgate debauchery, the sooner we can get back to pretending the entire college football premise isn’t a moneymaking cartel built upon a foundation of hypocrisy and unpaid minority labor. We want our spectacle without being reminded of the trade-offs, god dammit.

FBS Stats: 101/128, per CBS Sports (stats from Sports Illustrated)

Points per Game: 139th

Yards per Game: 133rd

Points Allowed per Game: 114th

Yards Allowed per Game: 96th

Had to rely on CBS again as the Scarlet Knights are not cracking the AP or Coaches’ polls. I’ll let the stats speak for themselves. Check out Rutgers’ official season preview video:

Mascot: The Scarlet Knight


Our conference compatriots in the Dirty Jerz have two versions of the Scarlet Knight: the routine foam rubber-clad student, and an actual knight on horseback. I’m a fan of the knight on horseback. It’s a real classy move. Any school can throw a semi-athletic student in a low-rent version of Sparty, but Rutgers does not fuck around and puts someone in an actual suit of armor, complete with the school colors and logo. I’m fascinated by the physical makeup of the armor – is it a plastic veneer, or is it forged from metal? Where does one get a suit of armor forged? Knowing New Jersey as I do, it’s likely made of recycled Bud Heavy and Schlitz cans, with a smattering of Peroni bottle caps thrown in for good measure.

Known as the “Birthplace of College Football,” Rutgers hosted Princeton in the first-ever intercollegiate football game in 1869. With this long a timeline, its players were known by a few unofficial names before it settled on Scarlet Knights in 1955. Some of the original nicknames for school athletes were “The Scarlets,” in reference to the team’s color, or “Queensmen,” in reference to the school’s colonial moniker, Queen’s College, as well as the effete nature of New Jersey football players (excluding Noah Brown, of course). In 1925, the school officially adopted the mascot “The Chanticleer,” a fighting rooster from a medieval fable. As you can imagine, the mascot was put to immediate and constant ridicule for its association with “being chicken.” Collegiate football fans of the last century acted like middle school recess tough guys, of which nothing has changed. This chicken shit was rectified in 1955, when “Scarlet Knights” was chosen during a campus-wide vote.

While I love the armor, here’s another school with a meaningless mascot, tied to nothing in the State University of New Jersey’s long and storied history of football failure and as the dumping ground for New York City’s criminals, miscreants, and the feeble-minded. It’s also the fourth or so school the Buckeyes have played the last two seasons that picked their mascots in a ballot.

2016 Record: 2-2, 6th in B1G East

Last week Rutgers lost a close game to Iowa, where their defense put on a good show against the Hawkeyes, but the offense couldn’t step up. In week one the Knights were blown out by Washington 48-13. They scored wins in weeks two and three over Howard and New Mexico. Nothing to see here, folks.

Coach: Boom Stick aficionado, Chris Ash

Buckeyes fans will remember Ash as the team’s co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach from the last two seasons, but I prefer to give him accolades as the time-traveling, chainsaw-handed demon fighter who’s quick with a pun. We replaced him with a previous Rutgers head coach, Greg Schiano. I think we got the better end of the deal – ask Nick Saban how NFL failure can reinvigorate college football success. If I flamed out of a high-profile job, I’d go work for a buddy for six figures as well, not that I have friends capable of offering me anything close to that, or at all. Before OSU, Ash coached for Drake, Princeton, Iowa State, Log Cabin University, San Diego State, Wisconsin, and Arkansas.

A native of Iowa, Ash played safety at Drake and became a graduate assistant upon matriculation, kicking off his college coaching career. Honestly, I couldn’t find any controversies in Ash’s past, and I don’t have anything bad to say about him, except that he left Ohio State to accept a job in America’s taint, New Jersey.

Rutgers had a job open for Ash due to the firing of previous head coach, Kyle Flood. Flood was shitcanned for interfering with the academic progress of a player in an effort to get him deemed eligible to play, as well as for ongoing criminal charges being brought against his players on a regular basis. For instance, in September 2015 six players were arrested and charged with felony assault, armed robbery, criminal restraint, conspiracy, riot, and weapons possession, stemming from a home invasion robbery in April 2015. Now, this is what I expect from a New Jersey coach. This guy presided over his own B&E crew, like a football Tony Soprano. I just can’t believe anyone in the state had the stugots to hold it against him; he was just trying to earn here, come-on.

Let’s enjoy a day in the Chris Ash, courtesy of the B1G Network:

Silly Traditions:

I could not find any interesting or offensive traditions for Rutgers, which is very surprising for the State University of New Jersey. This state prides itself on being tone-deaf and offensive, as evidenced by its obese asshole governor, Chris Christie. The man is New Jersey personified: deathly overweight, crass, rude, hyperbolic, constantly lying, pants hiked up to his tits, sports ill-fitting suits, Italian. You’d think with material like this there would be some hilarious and amazing traditions we could enjoy, but all I could find was a list of the songs the band plays. Instead, let’s check out this NJ.com story from April on how much money the Rutgers athletic program has cost taxpayers in the state.

From 2002-2015, the Rugers athletic department lost $312 million trying to keep up with big-time college programs across the country. It’s only going to get worse in the B1G, competing with the likes of OSU and Michigan. Last year, John Harbaugh pulled in four of the top five recruits from NJ, and the article I found framed it as a contest between Urban Meyer and Ted Bundy, Jr. No mention was made of NJ recruits being poached from the grasp of Rutgers, a university actually in the state. This comes up periodically, how most college sports programs don’t make an money, but I’ll choose to ignore it like I do everything else unsavory about football, because without it I couldn’t justify drinking all day every fall weekend.

Famous Alumni:

Economist Milton Friedman is an alum. Though dead since 2006, Friedman still serves a public good: anyone quoting his work on the internet can be summarily dismissed as an out-of-touch elitist and reactionary crank, thereby saving all right-thinking people time and energy in their pursuit of an honest conversation on the web.

Novelist and Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison, known for her works The Bluest Eye, Beloved, Song of Solomon, and Sula, taught at Rutgers and received an honorary doctorate from the school.

Designer Marc Echo is a graduate. I owe him a debt of gratitude – without his taste-making abilities and entrepreneurial spirit, middle school me wouldn’t have had access to fly t-shirts at a great price from the racks of Marshalls in beautiful Willoughby, Ohio. Here’s a fun thought experiment, for the next time you’re bored – imagine wearing adult-sized versions of the clothes you wore in middle school. There’s no way I’d leave the house today, dressed like that.

Ginger super chef Mario Batali and O-G MTV VJ Bill Bellamy are alumni. Actress Jane Krakowski, best known as Jenna Maroney on 30 Rock, and ultimate Jersey boy, actor James Gandolfini of Sopranos fame, are graduates. The Winter Soldier himself, Sebastian Stan, is a Rutgers alum. Rounding out the group is The Shield writer and Sons of Anarchy creator, Kurt Sutter, and the best-known wife beater in America, “Straight Right” Ray Rice.

Scarlet Knights currently in the NFL (18 total):

Kenny Britt, WR, Los Angeles Rams

Michael Burton, FB, Detroit

Leonte Carroo, WR, Miami

Brandon Coleman, WR, New Orleans

Marcus Cooper, DB, Arizona

Anthony Davis, OT, San Francisco

Andrew DePaola, LS, Tampa Bay

Jonathan Freeny, LB, New England

Duron Harmon, DB, New England

Clark Harris, LS, Cincinnati

George Johnson, DE, Tampa Bay

Tyler Kroft, TE, Cincinnati

Jason McCourty, CB, Tennessee

Devin McCourty, DB, New England

Logan Ryan, CB, New England

Mohamed Sanu, WR, Atlanta

Timothy Wright, TE, Detroit

Jeremy Zuttah, G, Baltimore

Apparently, every defensive player on the Patriots is a Rutgers alum. If it works, it works. Fucking Belichick…can we talk about the QB situation in New England for a second? Obviously the rest of their system is rock solid, but come-on man, they can kick ass with their third stringer, while the Browns can’t even have a smidgeon of success with their starter? I have the Texans defense in fantasy and thought I was so smart, playing them against the Pats’ third string rookie QB, but that failed spectacularly. I should have picked up the Dolphins defense; betting against the Browns is more often than not a sure thing.

Noteworthy Players:

QB Chris Laviano is mediocre, averaging 5.7 yards per attempt. He has also rushed 29 times this season for a whopping 26 yards. Running back Robert Martin is number one with 58 carries for 358 yards on the season, but the Scarlet Knights have four other backs with over 10 carries apiece. Janarion Grant is the top receiver at 20 receptions for 210 yards, but the two and three receivers have 161 and 108 yards, respectively. Laviano has thrown to seven other receivers this season. Meh.


Last game I was a smidgeon closer to the final tally, but still underestimated our boys in scarlet and grey. I will not make that mistake again, until I do. Here’s how I stand for the year:

BGSU: Predicted 43-7, Actual 77-10

TULSA: Predicted 45-21, Actual 48-3

OKLAHOMA: Predicted 33-28, Actual 45-24

This week, I predict the Buckeyes take it, 50-14. Rutgers is a shit team, and except for a few years under Schiano, has always been a shit team. I may be letting the performance against Oklahoma get to my head, but I’m a college football fan: inexplicable exuberance and undeserved/unearned confidence is the entire point.

That’s it for this week, Buckeyes fans! Please leave any suggestions for what you want to see from future iterations of KYO in the comments, along with shitting on my writing ability and pointing out the many easily avoidable factual errors I made in this post. Stay safe, have a good time, and go Buckeyes!