Know Your Opponent: Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Welcome back to KYO, where we dig into what makes the opponents of the Ohio State Buckeyes tick, examining their players, alumni, crimes, traditions, history and coach. This week – the Scarlet Knights of The State University of New Jersey, Rutgers!

Check out last season’s KYO if you’re interested in the Scarlet Knights’ Mascot, Coach, Silly Traditions, and Famous Alumni. We’ll start out this week with Rutgers’ season trailer, #TheHunt. I don’t know what they’re hunting, besides a shot at the Equifax Free Credit Score and Failure to Run Security Updates on Our Servers Bowl against a Directional Michigan team.

FBS Stats: Unranked, Stats per Sports Illustrated

  • Points per Game: 137th
  • Yards per Game: 192nd
  • Points Allowed per Game: 49th
  • Yards Allowed per Game: 48th

Last season I would look up the CBS rankings for these undistinguished teams, as CBS ranks all FBS teams beyond the top 25, but I’ve given up. Does it really matter if Rutgers is 125 out of 140, or whatever? I say no, let’s focus on the stats here, which really tell us something after three weeks in a field of 200+ teams. What they’re telling us this week is that Rutgers is no good, folks.

Record: 1-3, 7th in B1G East

The Scarlet Knights are dead-last in the B10 East, which is also where I rank New Jersey on my personal livability matrix. However, the state does come in number one on the EPA’s list of most Super Fund toxic cleanup sites, at least until the current administration stops reporting public health information altogether.

Week 1 Rutgers lost 14-30 to Washington. Week 2 they got an L from Eastern Michigan, 13-16. In week 3 they pulled off a stunning win over Morgan State, 65-0. That’s one thing you can always count on from Rutgers – they can outplay Division III teams. Last week they lost to Nebraska, 17-27, squandering a 17-14 lead in the third quarter to the current B1G West leader. Coach Chris Ash was the Buckeyes DC during the fabled championship run in 2014, but I am struggling to find ways to make this matchup seem exciting for Buckeyes fans.

Scarlet Knights currently in the NFL: 16 Total

Kenny Britt, WR, Cleveland
Michael Burton, FB, Chicago
Leonte Carroo, WR, Miami
Brandon Coleman, WR, New Orleans
Marcus Cooper, CB, Chicago
Anthony Davis, OT, San Francisco
Andrew DePaola, LS, Chicago
Duron Harmon, S, New England
Clark Harris, LS, Cincinnati
George Johnson, DE, Detroit
Tyler Kroft, TE, Cincinnati
Steve Longa, LB, Detroit
Jason McCourty, CB, Cleveland
Devin McCourty, S, New England
Logan Ryan, CB, Tennessee
Mohamed Sanu, WR, Atlanta

Two exciting play makers from our own Cleveland Browns are Rutgers alumni: Definitely not doing his best Dwayne Bowe impression Kenny Britt, and cornerback Jason McCourty. Britt has one good catch this season, a 35-yarder against Indianapolis. McCourty is a good player for a Brown, but compare him against any other CB in the league and he’s below average. They’ll both leave the team and win rings with the Patriots next season.

AP Photo/Jason Behnken

This weekend I discovered you can find streaming NFL games on Reddit. This was a huge mistake. Until now, I’ve been limited to two, three Browns games a season tops – when they play the Ravens, and when the league makes a mistake and puts them in primetime. I did not realize how much this lack of Browns contributed to my emotional well-being. It’s one thing to enjoy your Sunday and catch up on your Cleveland Football Browns Winners and Losers on Monday at lunch, but it’s quite another to subject yourself to them every week, live. I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but sometimes you just don’t know how good you have it until it’s gone, like Cinderella told us so long ago. This is a life situation screaming for the time-honored business management principle of addition-by-subtraction, if I’ve ever seen one.

Andrew DePaola is the long snapper for Chicago, continuing the long-standing KYO tradition of Italian-American players being only kickers, long snappers, and the occasional defensive back. Miami wide receiver Leonte Carroo has quite possibly the most whimsically lyrical name of any professional football player. It rolls smoothly off the tongue, like a dirty limerick on the recess playground. I’m picking him up in fantasy for this reason alone.

Noteworthy Players:

Blessuan Austin, DB
Dacoven Bailey, WR
Rashawn Battle, LB
Raheem Blackshear, RB
Rashad Blunt, WR
David Bonagura, PK
McDerby Ceneus, RB
Michael Cintron, P
Jaohne Duggan, DL
Tyshon Fogg, LB
Kiy Hester, DB
Nick Krimin, OL
Elorm Lumor, DL
Kobe Marfo, DB
Davante McDuffie, DB
Willington Previlon, DL
Nixon Provillon, WR
Syhiem Simmons, LB
Trey Sneed, RB
Charles Snorweah, RB

Rashawn Battle is a classic football guy name, like Jerry Kill or John Matrix. And he plays defense! As an early millennial raised on action movies and comic books, I want all my football players to have names that tell you exactly what their profession is: Ricky Stripsack, Donovan Acl’tear, Michael Fight, and Leonard Chupacabra. Put these guys in a defensive backfield on any team, and I’m there with you all the way.

Running back McDerby Ceneus sounds like the villain in a Ben Affleck movie or a Dennis Lehane novel, which 60 percent of the time are the same thing. I hope to see him stuffed at the line 36 times this Saturday. Rutgers does not have a single recruit from outside the state of New Jersey, and none with greater than a 3-star ranking out of high school. Like New Jersey itself, the team is merely ok, but only when compared to the absolute bottom-barrel examples out of whichever category you happen to pull out of a hat.

Pulp Culture Soul Mate: The Sopranos

This one is a given – James Gandolfini is even a Rutgers alum. The Sopranos is New Jersey personified, at least in the imagination of a Midwesterner like me: rude, crass, vulgarian Italian-American criminals, running rackets out of pork shops, strip clubs, and waste treatment offices. Like Rutgers, the Sopranos play second fiddle to their New York City cousins – country hicks given a seat at the table, more out of pity than respect. Like Johnny Sack considered Tony Soprano a boss, real universities in prestigious world-capital New York recognize Rutgers as a school only because they check the right blocks and it’s easier to just play along than push back. Sure, none of the NYC schools have a decent football team, but scholastically and on a resume, Rutgers may well be a junior college. There’s nothing wrong with that, I’m a proud Lakeland Community College transfer myself, but it’s just not the same level.

This dynamic is now repeated on the football field. Rutgers has to go up against the big boys in the B1G East, and my gut tells me they’ll be swept in conference play this season. Even Maryland is starting to come into its own, a phrase I never believed I would ever type. Yet there’s lil’ Rutgers, chugging along, beating HBCUs and nobody else, kings on their own turf as long as they’re left alone. The B1G treats Rutgers like the Five Families treated the Sopranos: stay on your side of the river, run your penny-ante scams, but keep out of the big leagues or you’ll get hurt.


Here’s how I stand for the year:

Indiana: Predicted 42-24 Buckeyes, Actual 49-21
Oklahoma: Predicted 31-24 Buckeyes, Actual 31-16, Oklahoma
Army: Predicted 49-21 Buckeyes, Actual 38-7
UNLV: Predicted 54-14 Buckeyes, Actual 54-21

I hope last week’s game puts the OSU quarterback controversy to bed. Haskins looked good, but raw. He was playing with the Buckeyes second team, but also against the UNLV second team defense. I don’t think he’s ready. Consider me solidly on Team JT at this point, as well as Team Jacob. I’m also pissed at Haskins because his pick-six cost me my first perfect prediction ever. I know he’s just a kid, one with god-given talent exponentially greater than anything I can (or could) bring to the table, but that is unforgivable. I don’t think one spot-on prediction is too much to ask here.

This week, I predict the Buckeyes take it 58-14, but I wouldn’t be surprised by a shutout from our boys in scarlet and grey. It’s good and proper to sit Barrett and work out the backup QBs in the case of a blowout, along with the other second stringers, but if any of these guys cost me another prediction, I will be Team JT forever, next season be damned.

That’s it for this week, folks. Stay dry, don’t eat anything within two hours of bedtime, and we’ll see you next week!