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Scarlet Knights Game Preview - Tulane
  • Posted on August 27, 2012 2:54:39 PM
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  • RUTGERS (0-0) at TULANE (0-0)
    Saturday, September 1 • 8:03 p.m. ET • CBS Sports Network
    Mercedes-Benz Superdome
    New Orleans, La.

    Radio: Rutgers Radio Network
    (710-WOR; 1450-WCTC; 610-WIP)
    Live Stats: ScarletKnights.com

    Series: Rutgers Leads 3-2

    The Game
    • Rutgers begins its 143rd season of college football Saturday, September 1 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome against Tulane. Kickoff is set for 8:03 p.m. ET p.m. as the Scarlet Knights and Green Wave meet for the second time in three seasons. RU looks to rebound from a 17-14 setback at home to Tulane in 2010. Coverage on the Rutgers Radio Network begins at 7 p.m. on WOR-710 AM in New York City, WCTC-1450 AM in Central Jersey and WIP-610 AM in Philadelphia and South Jersey.

    Series Information
    • Rutgers is 3-2 all-time vs. Tulane, including a perfect 2-0 mark in the Superdome. The last time Rutgers played at Tulane, the Scarlet Knights came away with a 45-40 victory in 1995. The first meeting between the two schools came in 1976 as Rutgers won 29-20 en route to a perfect 11-0 season. The Scarlet Knights are 4-2 all-time versus Conference USA opponents. Saturday's game is a matchup of head coaching debuts for Rutgers' Kyle Flood and Tulane's Curtis Johnson.

    The Head Coaches
    • Rutgers: Kyle Flood (Iona '93) enters his first season as the head coach at Rutgers. The 29th coach at the Birthplace of College Football, Flood served the previous seven years under Greg Schiano at RU, including a run of five consecutive bowl victories and bowl appearances in six of the last seven years. The last time Rutgers promoted an assistant coach on staff to the head coaching position was the naming of Frank Burns to replace John Bateman in 1973 — and Burns became the winningest coach in school history.
    • Tulane: Curtis Johnson (Idaho, '85) takes over the Tulane program after serving as the New Orleans Saints wide receivers coach from 2006-11. Johnson is a head coach for the first time after stints as an assistant with the Saints, University of Miami, Cal, SMU, San Diego State and his alma mater, Idaho.

    The Opening Act
    Rutgers is 72-61-9 all-time in season openers, including an 8-4 record since 2000. The Scarlet Knights are opening the year on the road for the first time since 2006 - a 21-16 victory at North Carolina.

    Rutgers Head Coaching Debuts
    Since 1924, Rutgers head coaches in their RU debut are 10-1. The only loss was a 15-12 setback for Dick Anderson at No. 11/7 Penn State 15-12 in 1984.
    All-time, Rutgers head coaches are 13-11-1 in their first game "On the Banks."
    The following is a list of the head coaching debuts in Rutgers football history:

    Greg Schiano (8/31/2001) at Buffalo W, 31-15
    Terry Shea (8/31/1996) vs. Villanova W, 38-28
    Doug Graber (9/8/1990) vs. Kentucky W, 24-8
    Dick Anderson (9/8/1984) at 11/7 Penn St. L, 15-12
    Frank Burns (9/22/1973) at Lehigh W, 31-13
    John Bateman (9/24/1960) at Princeton W, 13-8
    John Steigman (9/22/1956) vs. Ohio Wesleyan W, 33-13
    Harvey Harman (9/24/1938) vs. Marietta W, 20-0
    J. Wilder Tasker (9/26/1931) vs. Providence W, 19-0
    Harry Rockafeller (10/1/1927) vs. Manhattan W, 8-0
    John Wallace (9/27/1924) vs. Villanova W, 14-0
    George Sanford (9/27/1913) at Princeton L, 14-3
    Howard Gargan (10/1/1910) vs. F&M T, 0-0
    Herman Pritchard 10/2/1909) vs. Fordham L, 9-0
    Joseph Smith (10/3/1908) at Navy L, 18-0
    F.H. Gorton (9/28/1906) at Fordham W, 6-0
    A.E. Hitchner (10/1/1904) at Stevens W, 4-0
    Oliver Mann (9/26/1903) at Fordham L, 15-0
    Harry Van Hovenberg (9/28/1902) at Manhattan L, 6-0
    Arthur Robinson (10/2/1901) vs. Columbia L, 27-0
    Michael Daly (9/26/1900) vs. CCNY W, 5-0
    William Van Dyck (9/28/1898) at Lehigh L, 12-0
    John Pendleton (10/3/1896) at Princeton L, 44-0
    H.W. Ambruster (9/28/1895) vs. Lehigh L, 25-0
    William Reynolds (10/3/1891) at Princeton L, 12-0

    Rutgers vs. Conference USA
    Rutgers is 4-2 versus opponents from Conference USA. The Scarlet Knights have only played Tulane and UCF from C-USA.

    This Week's Opponent: Tulane
    First-year head coach Curtis Johnson leads Tulane into the season's first game against Rutgers.
    Tulane returns 54 letterwinners from last season's 2-11 squad that finished 1-7 in the western division of Conference USA. The Green Wave return 17 starters, including seven each on offense and defense, and return all three starting specialists.
    In 2011, Tulane ranked 97th in total offense nationally (340 yards per game) and 105th in scoring offense (21.1 points per game). On defense, the Green Wave ranked 83rd nationally in total defense (410 yards allowed per game) and 115th in scoring defense (37.5 points per game).

    Opening Day Notes
    Rutgers has scored 50 or more points in a season-opener four times, including a 68-6 victory over Colgate on Sept. 4, 1993. The school record for most points in the first game of the season was 79 after the Scarlet Knights defeated U.S. Merchant Marine 79-6 on Sept. 24, 1949.
    Rutgers is 1-2 all-time on games played on Sept. 1, including last season's 48-0 victory to begin the year vs. North Carolina Central.
    Rutgers has posted 35 shutouts all-time in season-openers.

    Memorable Season Openers
    Here is a look back at some of the most memorable season openers for the Scarlet Knights.

    Rutgers 38, Buffalo 3 (8/30/2007 at RU)
    Rutgers cruised to an easy 38-3 victory over Buffalo as junior WR Tiquan Underwood set a school record with 248 yards receiving. The New Jersey native hauled in 10 receptions on the night, including a pair of touchdowns in the 35-point victory.

    Rutgers 21, N. Carolina 16 (9/2/2006 at UNC)
    Rutgers' historic 2006 season began with an All-America performance by Ray Rice as the sophomore running back rushed for 201 yards to lead the Scarlet Knights to a 21-16 victory on the road in Chapel Hill. The victory propelled Rutgers to a 9-0 start in 2006 en route to an overall record of 11-2 and a 12th place finish in the final national rankings.

    Rutgers 19, Michigan St. 14 (9/4/2004 at RU)
    In front of an ABC television audience and a sell-out crowd at Rutgers Stadium, Rutgers stopped Michigan State 19-14 to open the 2004 season. PK Jeremy Ito connected on four field goals and DE Ryan Neill returned an interception 31 yards for a touchdown in the win.

    Rutgers 31, Buffalo 15 (8/30/2001 at UB)
    The first game of the Greg Schiano era finished in the win column for the Scarlet Knights. RB Dennis Thomas rushed for 177 yards on 30 carries and QB Ryan Cubit threw for 157 yards and two touchdowns in his first game as a Scarlet Knight to help secure the victory.

    Rutgers 20, Boston Coll. 13 (8/31/1991 at RU)
    Rutgers and Boston College played the inaugural BIG EAST conference game as the Scarlet Knights defeated the Eagles 20-13 at Rutgers Stadium. RB Bill Bailey scored the first touchdown in league history just 1:17 into the game while QB Tom Tarver threw for 275 yards and a touchdown.

    Rutgers 17, #15/14 Michigan St. 13
    (9/10/1988 at MSU)
    The 1988 season began with a bang as Rutgers upset Michigan State 17-13 in East Lansing. QB Scott Erney completed 25-of-36 passes for 239 yards and LB Doug Kokoskie recovered a MSU fumble at the RU 10-yard line with 5:32 remaining to seal the upset over the defending Rose Bowl champions.

    Rutgers 28, #3 Florida 28 (9/14/1985 at UF)
    Backup QB Joe Gagliardi came off the bench to rally Rutgers and complete a two-point conversion pass to Curtis Stephens with 35 seconds remaining as the Scarlet Knights, trailing by 21 points at one point, tied third-ranked Florida, 28-28 in Gainesville.

    #11/7 Penn St. 15, Rutgers 12
    (9/8/1984 at PSU)
    In his first game as head coach at Rutgers, Dick Anderson returned to State College to face Penn State, where he spent 11 years as an assistant coach under Joe Paterno. Anderson's Scarlet Knights were tied at 10 at halftime versus the nationally-ranked Nittany Lions, but a second-half safety and field goal proved too much as the Scarlet Knights lost 15-12.

    Rutgers 16, Princeton 13 (9/30/1961 at PU)
    An 83-yard pass play from Bill Speranza to Lee Curley, and a two-point run by Dave Brody with 3:27 to play gave Rutgers a 16-7 edge en route to a 16-13 victory over Princeton, Rutgers' fourth straight win over the Tigers. The win was the first as the Scarlet Knights finished the 1961 season 9-0 - the first undefeated season in school history.

    Rutgers 6, Princeton 4 (11/6/1869 at RU)
    The first college football game was played at College Field in New Brunswick as Rutgers came away with a 6-4 victory.

    Remembering a Rutgers Legend
    Former Rutgers head coach and player Frank Robert Burns passed away on July 14, 2012. In 2012, every Scarlet Knight will wear a "FRB" sticker on their helmet in honor of Burns.
    Burns attended Rutgers from 1945-48. He was elected president of his class and as quarterback and linebacker, helped lead Rutgers to a combined 27-7 record. He received All-East recognition and played in the East-West Shrine game.
    Burns also participated with the Eastern College All-Stars against the NFL Champion New York Giants and was named MVP with 17 tackles. He returned to his alma mater in 1961 as an assistant football coach.
    As head coach, from 1973 to 1983, Burns earned the most wins in school history, 78, including an undefeated season in 1976. He was named the Walter Camp Foundation Coach of the Year in 1976 and the New Jersey Football Writers Coach of the Year in 1976, 1978 and 1979. In 1993, Burns was inducted into the Rutgers Hall of Distinguished Alumni. He was also a member of the Rutgers Athletic Hall of Fame and the New Jersey Athletic Hall of Fame.

    Three Road Games in the Month of September
    For only the third time in 143 seasons of football, Rutgers opens the season with three road games in the month of September.
    Rutgers and Miami are the only two BCS teams nationally to have three road games in 2012 in September.

    Three Road Games in September
    at Tulane (9/1/12)
    at USF (9/13/12)
    at Arkansas (9/22/12)
    at Boston College (9/6/86) W, 11-9
    at Kentucky (9/13/86) T, 16-16
    at Syracuse (9/27/86) W, 16-10
    at Navy (9/11/76) W, 13-3
    at Bucknell (9/18/76) W, 19-7
    at Princeton (9/25/76) W, 17-0

    First-Year Records
    Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood looks to become just the 11th coach in school history to record a winning season in his first year at RU. The last first-year Rutgers head coach to post a winning record was Dick Anderson in 1984, going 7-3.

    Head Coach (Year) Record
    Greg Schiano (2001) 2-9, 0-7 BIG EAST
    Terry Shea (1996) 2-9, 1-6 BIG EAST
    Doug Graber (1990) 3-8
    Dick Anderson (1984) 7-3
    Frank Burns (1973) 6-5
    John Bateman (1960) 8-1
    John Steigman (1956) 3-7
    Harvey Harman (1938) 7-1
    J. Wilder Tasker (1931) 4-3-1
    Harry Rockafeller (1927) 4-4
    John Wallace (1924) 7-1-1
    George Sanford (1913) 6-3
    Howard Gargan (1910) 3-2-3
    Herman Pritchard (1909) 3-5-1
    Joseph Smith (1908) 3-5-1
    F.H. Gorton (1906) 5-2-2
    A.E. Hitchner (1904) 1-6-2
    Oliver Mann (1903) 4-4-1
    Harry Van Hovenberg (1902) 3-7
    Arthur Robinson (1901) 0-7
    Michael Daly (1900) 4-4
    William Van Dyck (1898) 1-6-1
    John Pendleton (1896) 5-7
    H.W. Ambruster (1895) 3-4
    William Reynolds (1891) 8-6

    New Nike Pro Combat Uniforms
    Rutgers unveiled new football uniforms for the 2012 season featuring Nike Pro Combat System of Dress technology combined with unique design inspiration that harkens back to the Scarlet Knights rich tradition and history.
    The fully integrated uniform system incorporates the latest in performance innovation and design while paying tribute to the school's long-time mascot and identity as the Scarlet Knights.
    The new uniform features true knight-like designs such as metallic accents and battle "scars" throughout the fabrication. The true knights of old donned more battle scars for battles they had been in and won – which meant they had a uniform that had truly been battle tested. Similarly, the Scarlet Knight's Nike Pro Combat football jersey features added inset ribbing around the shoulders that are made to look like iron plates, yet also enhance the actual technology of the uniform by providing impact and abrasion-resistant screen print allowing for even less "give" and fewer grab points. The pant stripe comes to a point and features a beveled-edge design much like a sword pant, and ties directly into the knight's plume on the all-new chrome finish helmet. The uniform also features an all-new knight-driven number and font system specific to the team that features a chainmail texture.

    BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year
    Senior linebacker Khaseem Greene returns for his final year in Piscataway after being named BIG EAST Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2011. The Elizabeth native totaled 141 tackles in his first year at linebacker last season, which led the BIG EAST and ranked 12th nationally.
    Greene was the first Scarlet Knight to be named the BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year and earned All-America honors by SI.com and Phil Steele.
    Greene has 251 career tackles and needs just 40 tackles to move into the top 10 in RU career history.

    Block Party
    Since the arrival of Robb Smith as special teams coordinator in 2009, Rutgers has led the nation in blocked kicks with 23. Smith, who was promoted to defensive coordinator in the off-season, guided a special teams unit that scored 10 touchdowns since 2009.

    NCAA Team Blocked Kick Leaders Since 2009
    1. Rutgers 23
    2. Fresno State 22

    Defense Ready for 2012
    Eight starters return on defense for Rutgers, led by BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year Khaseem Greene. The Scarlet Knights led the BIG EAST in total defense, scoring defense, pass defense and pass efficiency defense in 2012.
    The Scarlet Knights ranked 14th nationally in total defense (314.2 yards per game), eighth in scoring defense (18.3 points per game), ninth in pass defense (172.3 yards per game), fifth in pass efficiency defense (101.5), eighth in tackles-for-loss (7.6 per game), 15th in sacks (2.7 per game) and ninth in third down defense (31.9 %).
    Senior safety Duron Harmon earned All-BIG EAST first team honors a season ago while junior cornerback Logan Ryan collected All-BIG EAST second team accolades.

    Under 300 the Magic Number
    The Rutgers defense held four opponents to under 300 yards of total offense in 2011, going 4-0 in those contests. Since 2000, Rutgers is 40-4 when limiting the opposition to less than 300 yards of total offense.

    Churning Out the Victories on the Ground
    Rutgers is 41-16 when rushing for 150 yards or more in a game since 2000.
    The Scarlet Knights went 4-1 in 2011 when eclipsing the 150-yard mark in a game. Since 2006, Rutgers is 29-7 when going over the 150-yard plateau on the ground in a game.

    Going Over the Top
    Sophomore wide receiver Brandon Coleman made an immediate impact in his first year on the field in 2011 as a redshirt freshman. The Maryland native appeared in all 13 games with five starts and averaged 32.5 yards per reception.
    Even more impressive, Coleman averaged an amazing 51.8 yards per touchdown reception as a rookie for the Scarlet Knights. He became the first player in Rutgers history with two receptions of 85 yards or longer in the same season.
    Nine of his 17 receptions on the season covered 25 yards or more. Coleman established a career-high with 223 yards receiving and two touchdowns at Connecticut in the regular-season finale.

    Most Starts in the BIG EAST
    Senior defensive tackle Scott Vallone has started 38 consecutive games - the most of any current active player in the BIG EAST. The Long Island native, who has played both nose tackle and three-technique for the Scarlet Knights, has started every game of his Rutgers career since his redshirt freshman season in Piscataway.

    First Top 25 Recruiting Class Ready to Go
    Head coach Kyle Flood was able to land Rutgers' first Top 25 recruiting class according to Rivals.com last February. The Scarlet Knights' class was ranked 24th nationally, tops in the BIG EAST, led by five-star defensive tackle Darius Hamilton.
    ESPN also rated Rutgers the best recruiting class in the BIG EAST and 24th nationally as well.
    Hamilton was rated the 11th overall player nationally by Rivals.com, the highest-rated recruit to ever select a BIG EAST school. The Rivals.com National Defensive Player of the Year, Hamilton is currently second on the depth chart at defensive tackle.

    Turning into a Lockdown Corner
    Junior cornerback Logan Ryan blossomed into one of the BIG EAST's top cornerbacks in 2011 as a sophomore, earning All-BIG EAST second team honors. The South Jersey native returns as one of the nation's elite corners and the BIG EAST's best cornerback according to ESPN.com's Andrea Adelson.
    In 2012, Ryan has been named to the watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award, given annually to the nation's top defensive back.
    Ryan, who was also named to the watch list for the Bednarik Award, finished with All-BIG EAST second team honors in 2011 as a first-year starter. Ryan finished third on the team in tackles (67) and led RU in pass breakups (14) as part of the nation's ninth-best pass defense.
    He was a key member of a Rutgers defense that was 14th nationally in 2011 in total defense and eighth in scoring defense.

    Going for 3-0 in the Superdome
    Rutgers looks to go 3-0 all-time in the Superdome Saturday night when the Scarlet Knights visit the host Green Wave of Tulane.
    In 1976, Tulane became the 98th opponent in 107 years of college football for the Scarlet Knights at the time.
    Kennan Startzell booted a 31-yard field goal late in the game to secure Rutgers' 10th straight win of the season. Rutgers' top-ranked defense had been victimized by two early Tulane scoring drives as the Green Wave rolled up close to 200 yards in building a 20-17 halftime advantage.
    The home crowd of 28,872 did not go home happy as quarterback Bert Kosup directed a 73-yard drive midway through the third quarter, plunging over from the one-yard line to put Rutgers ahead. A safety and Startzell's field goal sealed the 29-20 victory.
    In the 45-40 victory over the Green Wave at the Superdome in 1995, Rutgers quarterback Ray Lucas finished 18-of-27 passing for 198 yards and three touchdowns. All-America tight end Marco Battaglia caught eight passes for 102 yards and two scores while Bruce Presley rushed for 105 yards and a score in the victory.
    Defensive back Kevin Williams intercepted Tulane quarterback Shaun King in the end zone as time expired to seal the five-point victory.

    Jamison Joins Elite Company
    Sophomore running back Jawan Jamison became the third freshman running back in school history to rush for 200 yards in a game last season vs. Cincinnati. Jamison rushed the ball 34 times for 200 yards and two touchdowns in the victory over the Bearcats.
    The only other freshman running backs in Rutgers history to rush for 200 yards in a game were Terrell Willis at Army in 1993 (221 yards) and Ray Rice at Connecticut in 2005 (217 yards).

    Watch Out ...
    Below are the members of the 2012 Rutgers Football team on preseason national award watch lists:

    Player Award Watch List
    Steve Beauharnais Butkus Award
    Khaseem Greene Bronko Nagurski Award
    Khaseem Greene Lombardi Award
    Khaseem Greene Bednarik Award
    Logan Ryan Jim Thorpe Award
    Logan Ryan Bednarik Award

    Doing Work off the Field
    Khaseem Greene has been nominated for the 2012 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team®, it was announced by Allstate Insurance Company and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA). One of college football's most prestigious off-the-field honors, the award recognizes a select group of college football players committed to making a difference.
    A standout senior linebacker for the Scarlet Knights, Greene has found time to give back to his community through school and hospital visits, as well as his participation in local reading initiatives and toy drives. He also has added his support to former teammate Eric LeGrand's event, A Walk to Believe, since its inception in 2010. The second annual 5K walk was held in June 2012.
    Greene has equally been impressive for RU on the field, leading the conference and ranking 12th nationally with 141 tackles in 2011 to earn BIG EAST Co-Defensive Player of the Year recognition. He received All-America honors in 2011 by SI.com and Phil Steele and is a 2012 Preseason All-America selection.

    News and Notes ...
    Head coach Kyle Flood announced four players were selected team captains by their teammates: senior LB Steve Beauharnais, senior LB Khaseem Greene, senior DB Mason Robinson and senior WR Tim Wright ... Rutgers will play in four NFL venues in 2012 - Tulane (New Orleans Saints, USF (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Temple (Philadelphia Eagles) and Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh Steelers ... Rutgers' game at Tulane will mark the first time the program has worn silver helmets ... Rutgers finished 2011 9-4 overall to mark the program's second nine-win season over the previous three years. RU has just three nine-win campaigns since 1980, with all three coming since 2006 ... The Scarlet Knights current five-game bowl winning streak is tied for the nation's longest active streak with Mississippi State ... Rutgers is 2-2 all-time on CBS Sports Network. Last season, the Scarlet Knights defeated Army at Yankee Stadium on CBS Sports Network, 27-12.

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