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Lightning — be it offensive or meterological — not expected for Iowa-Rutgers
Hawkeyes-Scarlet Knights game could be a throwback to the first college football contest ever played
The good news is tonight’s weather forecast for the Iowa-Rutgers football game doesn’t include a hurricane, let alone garden-variety lightning.
So watch a plague of locusts descend on Piscataway, or something equally annoying, like Pete Davidson.
This has been the screwiest start to a Hawkeyes season in memory, with Iowa’s infamous 7-3, touchdown-free win over South Dakota State followed by its punchless 10-7 loss to Iowa State.
Then came the teams spending more time off the field than on it during Iowa’s lightning-wracked 27-0 win over Nevada last week.
Will things normalize now that the Big Ten season is starting? Not necessarily. The world says this will be another brutally low-scoring slog.
Tonight’s Wisconsin-Ohio State game is on ABC, yet Iowa-Rutgers is one of three other Big Ten games that will be televised at the same time.
Maybe the conference doesn’t want the nation to see Iowa-Rutgers or Miami (Ohio)-Northwestern or Florida Atlantic-Purdue. This may be the one time in a thousand that a conspiracy theory is based on an actual conspiracy.
When so many media mopes have focused on the punting, you’ve got problems in Piscataway. Sure, the Hawkeyes and Scarlet Knights have accomplished Aussie punters in Tory Taylor and Adam Korsak. But what about the two teams’ offensive playmakers, the reasons people watch these games.
Yeah, whatever. On one side you have the Iowa team that is 131st out of 131 teams nationally in total offense facing a Rutgers defense that is 10th in total defense and second in rushing defense (32.3 yards per game). Ouch.
On the other you have the Rutgers offense that doesn’t seem sure about who, if anyone will play quarterback, and is coming off a 201-yard performance against a Temple defense that surrendered 500 to Duke two weeks earlier.
That unit will face the Iowa defense that is tied for second nationally in scoring defense and fourth in total defense.
Which network is the Wisconsin-Ohio State game on again?
In an era that prominently features touchdowns and the forward pass, the site of the first college football contest ever played is hosting this rejection of the modern game?
Maybe it’s appropriate. On Nov. 6, 1869, host Rutgers defeated Princeton, 6-4, in that first contest. It was kind of a mess.
Each team had 25 players on the field at once, not 11. There was no passing the ball or running with it. The only way to score was by kicking the round ball across a goal. A careless mistake by Rutgers resulted in kicking a ball through their own goal.
That may have been the 1869 version of a safety.
The most-memorable thing about the game was when a player from each team pursued a loose football that had rolled against an old board fence used as bleacher seating. The players crashed into the fence, and it crashed to the ground. Along with all the spectators sitting atop it.
Not surprisingly, that was No. 1 on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays of the day.
A story about the game on Princeton’s website says “The memorable day closed with a supper in which both teams participated together, interspersing songs and speeches with the deliciously roasted game birds from the Jersey marshes and meadows.”
A different account said “Princeton's players were literally run out of town by the winning Rutgers students. The Princeton students reportedly jumped in their carriages and quickly made the 20-mile trip back to their campus.”
Let’s hope the latter is closer to the truth, since it makes for better theater with violence, viciousness, and fast horses.
Someone in 1869 who suggested a team would ever play a game outdoors after dark and then magically fly home — a thousand miles, no less! — would have been medically diagnosed as being insane.
Too much so, in fact, to be worthy of a deliciously roasted game bird. Or even a stromboli at Stuff Yer Face in New Brunswick, a Rutgers favorite.
Today’s column is presented by Stuff Yer Face in New Brunswick. There are 32 types of strombolis on our menu and 30 different stuffings you can add. Stuff Yer Face before you get to the stadium, then go watch our Scarlet Knights offense get stuffed.
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