NCAAF Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Rutgers Scarlet Knights

General Information

Big Ten

Division I

Piscataway, New Jersey

SHI Stadium


  • National Championships: 1
  • Conference Titles: 1
  • Divisional Championships: 3

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Rutgers Scarlet Knights - NCAAF History

The Rutgers football program goes back as far as the 1860s. In 1869, Rutgers and Princeton faced off in the first-ever college match. The Scarlet Knights prevailed and won 6-4.

Before their days in the Big East and Big 10, Rutgers was a part of the Middle Three Conference. From the 30s through the early 50s, the Scarlet Knights didn’t win any championships, but each coach tenured had a winning record. Coach J. Wilder Tasker had a 31-27-5 record from 1931-1837. Coach Harvey Hartman had a 33-26-1 record through multiple seasons, and coach John Stiegman had a 22-15 record during his four-year stint.

John Bateman took over as head coach in 1960. Bateman got off to a hot start in his first two years with a 17-1 combined record. The Scarlet Knights joined the MAC from 1958-1961, when they won the conference championship in both of his first two seasons, and 1958, before he arrived. Rutgers became an independent team after the 1961 season.

Frank Burns went from assistant coach to head coach in 1973 and held the post until 1983. The Scarlet Knights had their most successful years under Burns. The team had eight winning years out of his ten-year tenure. In 1976, Burn led the team to an undefeated 11-0 record. All the hard work would pay off in 1978 when the team played in its first-ever bowl game. They were invited to the Garden State Bowl to play against Arizona State.

The Scarlet Knights joined the Big East in 1991. The change in conferences put the Scarlet Knights against much tougher competition. Greg Schiano became head coach in 2001. In 2005, Rutgers finally fought their way to a winning season for the first time since 1992. They were invited to the Insight Bowl against Arizona State, where they lost a 45-40 nail-biter.

The year 2006 was perhaps the team’s best season to date. They began the season on a nine-game winning streak and finished 11-2. Sophomore running back Ray Rice was one of the best backs in the country; he accumulated nearly 1,800 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns. They were ranked as high as seventh in the nation. Additionally, they were invited to the Texas Bowl, where they destroyed Kansas State 37-10, and got their first-ever bowl victory. Schiano left the Scarlet Knights in 2011 to coach the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His overall record was barely above .500, but he finished with a 5-1 bowl record.

At the end of the 2012 season, Rutgers announced they’d be joining the Big Ten in 2014.

There was a two-year gap so Rutgers decided to join the American Athletic Conference for a season.

In 2014, Rutgers joined the Big Ten and finished with a 3-5 conference record including a win over Michigan. They finished their first Big Ten season at 8-5 and won the Quick Lane Bowl 40-21 over UNC.

From then until 2019, the Scarlet Knights haven’t been in the mix. They’ve yet to hold a winning record.

Luckily for the Scarlet Knights, Schiano returned to coach the team in 2020. In 2021, Schiano and the Scarlet Knights went 5-7 on the year. However, through new rules, Rutgers was the first team to finish with a losing record and be invited to a bowl game.

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