Category Archives: Rutgers


Here we go. It is game day and the countdown is on to one of the biggest games in Rutgers Football history.

I honestly don’t think I’ll be able to fall asleep tonight. Just spent sometime watching highlights from the 2006 game on Youtube. Enjoy.
I found a couple of cool Jeremy Ito stories earlier today. The Star-Ledger did sort of a “Where is he now?” piece. The other one isn’t directly about him but you must watch this piece Tom Rinaldi did for College Gameday this past weekend.

There will always be people in this area who will thumb their noses at college football. Steve Politi of the Star-Ledger has a column out today addressing them.
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Greg Schiano to the Buccaneers

The first thing I saw when I woke up today was this tweet. It took me a couple of minutes to figure out what was going on.

 I have to say that I was surprised when reports surfaced today that Rutgers Football Coach Greg Schiano was talking to the Tampa Buccaneers about their coaching vacancy. For a few years I had thought that if Schiano was to leave Rutgers it would be to follow Joe Paterno at Penn State. When the whole Penn State scandal broke I figured Schiano would stay especially in light of the strong recruiting class they were putting together. In retrospect though you have to wonder if the way things ended up going at Penn State with Paterno served as a reminder to him that no one stays in one place forever anymore.

I don’t entirely blame Schiano here. How do you say no to the NFL? There has been a lot of negativity towards the program here in New Jersey from people who aren’t football fans given his stature as the highest paid public employee in the state.  The Big East mess had to play a big factor here but him leaving this close to signing day will leave a little bit of a sour taste. He has built this program up well but he has done a disservice to the Rutgers Family (or Scarlet Nation as they are beginning to call themselves) and the “State of Rutgers”. Sports are a business and you have to expect things like this but there is unfinished business here. I wonder where the school goes from here? Would offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti be able to hold the recruiting class together? Or do they turn to someone like Greg Toal who has built at a dynasty at Don Bosco Prep? Keith Sargeant, who is one of the Rutgers beat writers put together this possible short list.

What kind of a contract did Schiano end up getting? I read somewhere that he got a five year deal but the money will be interesting too. He was making north of $2.3 million at Rutgers. I was surprised to hear Adam Schefter mention that Schiano was a finalist for the Rams job too.

Rutgers fans will be angry for a while but Schiano does need to be praised for the work he did while he was here. No, we never did get that BCS game but he did leave the program in a better place then the situation that he inherited and you don’t always get that. Rutgers won’t go back into obscurity. The program has come far enough in the past decade to ensure of that. J.A Adande mentioned on ESPN’s Around the Horn today that Rutgers has 21 players in the NFL right now. Alabama has five. That is a truly remarkable stat given where this program was not that long ago. People will say that he took the easy way out or even make this about money but if Schiano was really chasing that wouldn’t he have taken the jobs at Michigan and Miami when they came his way? An NFL coaching job doesn’t give him anywhere close to the security he had at Rutgers where he could easily have stayed for the next 25 years. I really can’t fault him for wanting a NFL gig. As Atheltic Director Tim Pernetti told the media today, there are only 32 such jobs in the world. If you are a football guy how do you say no to that? You can read a transcript of Pernetti’s comments to the press here.

Just yesterday the program had posted this video online for season ticket renewals. I’ll have my seats again next year. I do want to see where this program goes from here. Hopefully the program  continues to build using the building blocks Greg Schiano left here.
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A year later Eric LeGrand continues to inspire

I haven’t had the chance to post much lately but wanted to take a couple of minutes for this one.

Over the course of the past year I have had a few posts about Eric LeGrand and on the one year anniversary of his injury I wanted to remind everyone about donating to the “Eric LeGrand Believe Fund“.

He told his story to Sports Illustrated this week. You can go read it here. It is hard not to be inspired. Steve Politi of the Star-Ledger also had a really well written story on LeGrand this week.

Make sure you follow him on twitter as well. He tweets pretty regularly.
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Rutgers reaches stadium naming rights deal – ESPN

Rutgers reaches stadium naming rights deal – Big East Blog – ESPN

Rutgers Stadium will now be known as High Point Solutions Stadium. I am somewhat surprised that Rutgers is only the 10th Football Bowl Subdivision school to sell their stadium naming rights. There are five other teams who share a stadium with an NFL team. 
While it sucks as a traditionalist this is the new reality in sports. As a season ticket holder I loved the new expansion to the stadium and obviously ticket sales alone weren’t going to pay for that.

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“Miracle on the Hudson” plane is at Rutgers Stadium

The “Miracle on the Hudson” plane is bound for a museum in Charlotte, North Carolina by road. Along the way it obviously will take many stops as the truck crews that helping move it obviously need their rest. Just so happens that the very first stop on its journey is 5 minutes from where I live.

The plane is literally parked on the side of River Road right across from the new entrance into Rutgers Stadium. You can walk right up to it and take a picture if you’d like. The street I live on has a “block party” every year and earlier in the day someone mentioned that a plane was at Rutgers. I had heard earlier in the day about the plane moving but I didn’t know Piscataway was one of the scheduled stops. So at 1 AM I strolled over there to snap a few pictures. If you want to see if the plane will be coming to a stop near you follow them on twitter.

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Big East Debacle Day 2

Word came out a couple of hours ago that the three officials involved in the Rutgers/St. John’s game yesterday have “voluntarily” withdrawn from the rest of the Big East Tournament. It was a move that absolutely had to be made. They should be held out of the NCAA Tournament this year as well because no one is going to take them seriously for a while after yesterday’s disgrace.

I understand mistakes happen but the events of yesterday crossed the line. Doris Burke, who was calling the game on the ESPN broadcast said it right away that the referees stopped doing their jobs in the final minute and he is absolutely right. What was up with the official running off the court before the game was over? Don’t these guys hang around to shake hands with coaches and players? The visual of it was strange and gives room for people with conspiracy theories to swoop in. 

Yahoo has a really good article on this. “The way that final sequence played out was flat-out unprofessional,” Yahoo’s Ryan Greene writes, “not just with the absence of a call, but by Burr and his cohorts blowing Rice and his players off completely.”

I can’t believe Jim Burr is in the stands today. Send him home. ESPN’s Dana O’Neil has an interesting read on Tim Higgins.

Carl Bialik of the Wall Street Journal didn’t go easy on the officials either. 

It was all reminiscent of Chris Webber’s timeout call with 11 seconds left in the 1993 championship game. His team, Michigan, famously didn’t have any left, which led to a technical foul and clinched the win for North Carolina. But the call never would have happened if a ref within a few feet of Webber had called him six seconds earlier for a clear travel. That violation would, in retrospect, have hurt Michigan less than the timeout did, because it would have cost Michigan the ball, but with more time left and without giving North Carolina foul shots. But Moskowitz and Wertheim argue that refs are biased toward not making judgment calls late in games, for fear of determining the game’s outcome. On the timeout the refs had no choice: “Unlike a traveling violation, when a player motions for a time-out and his team has exhausted its ration, well, that’s not a judgment call. That’s a call an official has to make even in the waning seconds of an exhilarating championship game.” Substitute “when a player steps out of bounds by a wide margin” and “an exhilarating conference tournament game” into that sentence, and you have a good description of the end of Rutgers-St. John’s, only this time officials didn’t make the call.

Here is what the back pages looked like in New York today. 

By the way what did you see the recap on the Big East website? They don’t even acknowledge the end of the game. 

One more major gripe. People need to stop saying that “good thing this didn’t happen in the NCAA Tournament” or “good thing it didn’t cost someone a spot in the NCAA Tournament.” But as Dan Levy correctly pointed out in his podcast today, it potentially did. No one is saying that Rutgers would have gone on to run the table but the winner of this tournament does get an automatic berth. 

Mike Rice Quotes:

“I have not heard any response from the Big East or the officials, for three of them to — again, it was a mistake,” Rice said after getting a chance to cool off. “It’s got to be a mistake. I watched it on YouTube. I’ve had them all throughout the year, impeccable reputation, it’s unfortunate, my heart — believe me, there is going to be blood coming through my tongue right now but it’s what it is, we’re going to control how we respond.

“I was a lunatic, to be honest with you, and I lost some self-control, I admit it, and I thought he got — again, it was a judgment call. Had I known it was [1.7], I might have literally held on, done a Van Gundy and held one of their legs on the court.”

“It has to be a mistake. It’s got to be. I just saw it on YouTube. … It’s unfortunate. Believe me, there’s going to be blood coming through my tongue right now, but it is what it is. We’re going to control how we respond.”

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VIDEO: Rutgers robbed at the Big East Tournament

Watch the video first.

Rutgers just got robbed in the second round of the Big East Tournament. Referees did not call two fouls on St. John’s that could very well have been called, that was followed by the referees ignoring a travelling call and the Red Storms stepping out of bounds with time left on the clock. Top it all off with the referee walked off the court with time left on the clock. How did the referees not review this? What were Jim Burr and Tim Higgins thinking? They have a history of bad officiating. Google both of them.

Much credit to Mike Francesa. He has had an anti-Rutgers bias in the past and is a St.John’s alum but he is taking the Big East to task on WFAN right now.

Shame that the officials have become the story and not first year head coach Mike Rice and his team who have done one hell of a job this season.

Here is the statement from the Big East:

The Big East Conference acknowledged that two separate officiating errors occurred at the conclusion of the St. John’s vs. Rutgers game. Both missed violations should have caused the game clock to stop and a change of possession to occur prior to the end of the game. Neither error is reviewable or correctable under NCAA playing rules. 

That makes no sense. I can understand that they can’t review the travel call but how do you not review to see if there is time left? How do you not notice BOTH of his feet going out of bounds? Absolutely ridiculous. 

The recap on the Big East website makes no mention of what happened at the end of the game.

I have to give credit to Mike Becker of WRSU (Rutgers Radio) who sent ou tthe following tweets before the game,

1) The fix is in! Rutgers gets the RU Screw again. I liked their chances MUCH more til @AdamHache texted me and broke me the Burr and Higgins n

2) How can the #BIGEAST possibly put Burr AND Higgins on the SAME GAME??? This is complete bush league!


This reminded me of the Rutgers/Tennessee “clock game”. 

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Eric LeGrand ESPN Interview

This morning ESPN aired an interview that Tom Rinaldi conducted with Rutgers Defensive Tackle Eric LeGrand. Tom Rinaldi does a great job with pieces like this and the LeGrand interview is no different. I haven’t seen the TV version yet so I don’t know if this is the whole thing but here is a clip ESPN has posted online.

He injured his vertebrae earlier this season in a game against Army. Since then the Rutgers and sports communities have come together to help raise money for him and his money as they face years of medical bills.

On October 22nd Rutgers sent out a press release announcing the creation of the “Eric LeGrand Believe Fund.”

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (October 22, 2010) – Rutgers Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Tim Pernetti announced today the establishment of the “Eric LeGrand Believe Fund” to support Eric LeGrand (Avenel, N.J.) and his family. LeGrand, a junior defensive tackle for the Scarlet Knights, suffered a spinal cord injury Oct. 16 vs. Army. 

Contributions to the fund are not tax deductible and can be made by sending a check payable to the“Eric LeGrand Believe Fund” to:

“Eric LeGrand Believe Fund”

PNC Wealth Management

Attn: Kimberly G. Kingsland, Senior Trust Advisor

One Palmer Square Suite 201

Princeton, NJ 08542

All proceeds of the fund will go directly to the LeGrand family. For more information, visit

Prior to the Rutgers/Pitt game this season there was a “Moment of Cheer” at Heinz Field.

There is a tribute song recorded by a singer from New Jersey. Proceeds from the sales of the song are going to Eric LeGrand. You can buy the song in MP3 format by clicking here.

Rutgers Football has a TV show that airs on SNY and inside the stadium. They did this story on LeGrand earlier this season.

The family has already received financial assistance from the $75,000 from Devin Harris and the New Jersey Nets, $20,000 from Tracy McGradyT-shirt sales from Scarlet Fever, a store near campus, raised $90,000. Wristband sales on campus, a student-organized effort, raised another $65,000. Those figures are from a local newspaper article (the article also mentions smaller donations from schools in the area) that also quotes the owner of the store. 

When the line formed on the sidewalk outside the store, when the internet orders alone topped 2,000, he knew he had to print more — and fast. Ostergren wrote a check to the Eric LeGrand Believe Fund for about $89,500 recently.

“We’re still selling shirts,” he said, “and we’ll keep selling shirts as long as people want them.”

Erica Bowden, a junior from South Plainfield, decided to sell wristbands with the message “Eric LeGrand #52 Believe.” She thought it was a risk to order 200. The current tally, her father, Bill, said, was close to 19,000.

You can buy the LeGrand shirts here. 

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ESPN will air interview with Eric LeGrand

Back in October I posted a couple of entries on Rutgers DT Eric LeGrand. If you are not familiar with the story he received a spinal cord injury in a game against Army earlier this season. Doctors at the time didn’t think he’d regain movement below the neck. Turns out he is making a lot of progress. Tomorrow morning starting in the 9 AM hour SportsCenter will be airing an interview with him that Tom Rinaldi did. 

Rutgers Athletics Department sent out the following Press Release earlier today. 

Eric LeGrand

ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi conducted the first interview with Rutgers defensive lineman Eric LeGrand since he was paralyzed in a collision during a game against Army on Oct. 16. In the interview, scheduled to debut on ESPN on Friday, Jan. 7 during the 9 a.m. edition of SportsCenter, LeGrand told Rinaldi that he has full sensation in his entire body and movement in his shoulders. Rinaldi spoke to LeGrand at the Kessler Institute in West Orange, N.J., where he is in rehabilitation.
In the feature, LeGrand said while lying on the field at the New Meadowlands, he had “the fear of death” and that he “could pass out and die here.” He added he couldn’t do “a thumbs up” motion while on the stretcher when he was removed from the field because it felt like “1,000 pounds was on this thumb” when he tried to move it.
Doctors initially believed that he would not regain any feeling or movement below the neck, but LeGrand has exceeded their expectations. His paralysis has been diagnosed as incomplete and he has been able to breathe on his own without the use of a ventilator since late November.
Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said about LeGrand, “He believes that he’s going to be up and moving again. There’s no doubt in his mind.”
The feature will be available to view on after its initial airing on SportsCenter.
For information on Eric LeGrand and the Eric LeGrand Believe Fund, please visit

ESPN New York has a story up on this already.

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