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New Jersey. Everything about it screams fun.
The Jersey Shore. What’s left of Atlantic City. Closing lanes on the George Washington Bridge out of spite. Rutgers football.
OK, three out of four ain’t bad, and I’ll let you decide which three. Here are some Fun Facts about Iowa-Rutgers:
1. Rutgers and Iowa have never played each other. The Scarlet Knights are 17-44 against Big Ten schools, 4-12 in Big Ten play.
2. The Hawkeyes are 0-2 in games played in New Jersey. They lost 23-22 to Tennessee in 1987 and 24-14 to North Carolina State in 1992. Both were Kickoff Classics in East Rutherford.
3. In the Tennessee game, Volunteer linebacker Darrin Miller intercepted an option pitch by Iowa quarterback Chuck Hartlieb and ran 96 yards for a touchdown.
4. Rutgers is 2-11 against Yale. Iowa is 1-0 against Yale, and a very big game it was.
5. Iowa has outscored its opponents 35-10 in first-quarters. Rutgers has been outscored 59-14 in first-squarters.
6. Since 2005, Rutgers has been to the Insight, Texas, International, PapaJohns.com, St. Petersburg, Pinstripe, Russell Athletic, Pinstripe (again) and Quick Lane bowls. Its only other bowl was the 1978 Garden State Bowl in East Rutherford, N.J. That didn’t go well for the Scarlet Knights.
7. Rutgers head coach Chris Ash was the defensive coordinator for Chuck Long, the former Iowa quarterback, when Long was head coach at San Diego State.
8. Seldom has a non-Iowa Big Ten staff been so loaded with Iowa ties. Ash is an Ottumwa native and Drake graduate. Defensive coordinator Jay Niemann is from Avoca and is the father of Iowa linebackers Ben and Nick Niemann. He was the head coach at Simpson College, and was an assistant at Northern Iowa and Drake. Offensive line coach A.J. Blazek played at Iowa. Defensive line coach Shane Burnham was an Iowa State assistant. Offensive coordinator Drew Mehringer was an Iowa State graduate assistant.
9. Rutgers’ Janarion Grant has three rushing touchdowns, a touchdown pass, a kickoff return for a touchdown, and a punt return for a touchdown. He is a wide receiver. He has a team-high 15 catches, but none are for touchdowns.
10. Iowa has been outgained by eight yards this season, 1,078-1,070.
11. Among the many New Jersey natives who have had prominent roles for the Hawkeyes over the years are Andre Tippett, Shonn Greene, Mike Daniels, Albert Young, Danan Hughes, Bo Porter, Bob Diaco, Norm Granger, Tom Knight, LeRoy Smith, Quinton Alston and Akrum Wadley.
12. Rutgers’ High Point Solutions Stadium has one of the worst stadium names in college football. Other bad ones are UCF’s Bright House Networks Stadium, Texas Tech’s Jones AT&T Stadium, Louisville’s Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium, and Miami (Fla.)’s Hard Rock Stadium.
13. Piscataway, N.J., the home of Rutgers, was founded in 1666. Like Iowa, Piscataway was first settled by Native Americans.
14. Karl-Anthony Towns, the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NBA draft and the league’s 2015-16 Rookie of the Year, is from Piscataway.
15. The subsidy needed to sustain Rutgers athletics dropped to $23.8 million in fiscal 2015. Rutgers set a national all-time high at $46.9 million in 2013. The subsidy fell to $36.3 million in 2014, but still led the nation. The number will continue to drop as Rutgers moves toward full participation in the Big Ten. The conference’s expansion members must go through a six-year integration phase, and Rutgers won’t get its first full revenue share until June 2021.
16. Former Team USA star Alexi Lalas played soccer at Rutgers, then got his degree there when he was 43.
17. Map of Rome’s album release party will be Saturday night at the Court Tavern in New Brunswick. But when you Google “Map of Rome,” the first thing you get is a map of Rome.
18. Rutgers played in what is considered the first college football game, a 6-4 win over Princeton in 1869. The game was actually more like rugby, with 25 men to a side. Throwing and carrying the ball weren’t allowed.
19. According to this account, after that first game, Princeton’s players were literally run out of town by Rutgers students. They jumped in their carriages and quickly made the 20-mile journey back to their own campus.