- Chantel Jennings, ESPN Staff Writer
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Rutgers makes a very big jump from the American Athletic Conference to the Big Ten in 2014. The last two days on the Big Ten blog has featured plenty of content on both Rutgers and Maryland so fans can get to know these two teams a bit better. Here’s the low down on the Scarlet Knights.
Rutgers knows that the physical play in the Big Ten week-in and week-out might require some adjustments, but its excited for the challenge ahead.
The Big Ten conference is expecting an easy move for both Maryland and Rutgers.
Brian Bennett caught up with third-year Rutgers coach Kyle Flood.
A video breaking down the biggest hurdle the Scarlet Knights face as they come into the Big Ten.
But, like we did for Maryland yesterday, we thought it’d be important to look at it from a Michigan-centric point of view. So here’s your Wolverine-Scarlet Knight breakdown.
Rutgers coach: Kyle Flood
Last season’s record: 6-7, 3-5 AAC
Biggest win: at SMU, 55-52. It’s hard to say that this was really the Scarlet Knights' best win, but it’s the truth. Rutgers’ six wins came against teams that ended the season with a combined record of 17-55. SMU was the only team that finished its season with the best record of any team Rutgers played (even so, the Mustangs weren’t even bowl eligible, finishing the year 5-7). So it was their best win technically, but it doesn’t say a ton about the product on the field.
But the Knights’ best game might’ve been (even though it wasn’t a win) the overtime loss to Fresno State. Rutgers hung with the Bulldogs, losing 52-51 to a team that finished the year with 11 wins and ranked No. 20.
Worst loss: at Connecticut, 28-17. It was one of just two wins for the Huskies all season and it was a result of a fourth-quarter breakdown from the Scarlet Knights. Connecticut scored two unanswered touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
When the Wolverines will face the Scarlet Knights:
2014 season: Oct. 4 at Rutgers
2015 season: Nov. 7 at home
2016 season: Oct. 8 at Rutgers
2017 season: Oct. 28 at home (homecoming)
2018 season: Nov. 10 at Rutgers
2019 season: Oct. 26 at home
Distance between the two schools: 605 miles
Currently, the only New Jersey resident on the Wolverines’ roster is freshman walk-on offensive lineman Greg Froelich, who’s from Maplewood, N.J., which is about 23 miles from Rutgers. He was not offered by the Scarlet Knights.
Two of the Wolverines’ 2014 signees hail from New Jersey. Top signee Jabrill Peppers and top offensive lineman Juwann Bushell-Beatty are both out of Paramus, N.J., which is just 45 miles from Rutgers. Both held offers from Rutgers.
There’s only one Michigan native on the Rutgers roster, freshman linebacker L.J. Liston. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound linebacker appeared in 12 games on defense and special teams for the Scarlet Knights last season and hails from Grand Blanc, Mich. However, he went to his final year of high school at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va., which is where he was recruiting by and eventually committed to Rutgers (he was initially committed to Cincinnati).
Though Rutgers defensive back Lew Toler is originally from Delaware, he played his first three years of college football at Western Michigan (2010-12). The Wolverines played Western Michigan in 2011. Toler recorded seven tackles, including one for a loss, against Michigan.
The Rutgers’ first quarterback commit in the 2014 class was Giovanni Rescigno, who attended high school with Michigan quarterback Shane Morris. However, late in the game the Scarlet Knights also got a transfer from former Minnesota signal-caller Philip Nelson.
Rutgers running back coach Norries Wilson was a four-year player (1985-88) and two-time captain at Minnesota before being a graduate assistant for a season for the Gophers (1989). New offensive line coach Mitch Browning also coached at the University of Minnesota (1997-2005, everything from tight ends to offensive coordinator). He was also an Ohio State graduate assistant in 1982. And Rutgers wide receiver coach Ben McDaniels makes the third member of this coaching staff to have also been on the Gophers coaching staff. He was a graduate assistant from 2004-05. Secondary coach Darrell Wilson has spent his past 11 seasons at Iowa before coming to Rutgers. Before his time with the Hawkeyes he was the outside linebackers and special teams coach with Wisconsin (2000-01).
When Flood’s team takes the field against Michigan, the winged helmets aren’t going to seem too foreign to the Rutgers coach. From 2002-05 Flood was the assistant head coach/offensive line coach at Delaware, which is one of the other schools in the country that features a winged helmet.