Top 5 Wins in the "Big-time" Era

Turning the calendars to June and concluding the spring evaluation period, continues its latest series. The "30 lists in 30 days" series is designed to lead us into the camp circuit. Have your own thoughts on one of our lists? Feel free to debate on the message boards. Today, we look at the top five wins by Rutgers since it made the move to the "big-time" in the mid-1970s.

In the mid 1970s, Rutgers made the move from playing a local schedule filled with teams from the Ivy League and what is now the Patriot League to a higher profile schedule. scoured the archives and checked in with several long-time watchers of the program, as well as used its own knowledge, to build a list of the Top 5 wins since the move to "big-time" football was made.

5. Oct. 31, 1992 – Rutgers 50, Virginia Tech 49:Trick-or-treating was on many folks' minds, but those plans were on hold as the Scarlet Knights rallied from a 42-30 deficit to beat the Hokies on Chris Brantley's 15-yard touchdown catch on the game's final play. It came after quarterback Bryan Fortay hit Mario Henry with a 46-yard pass with 14 seconds left.
It was Brantley's fourth touchdown of the game, and helped erase a 42-23 second-half Rutgers deficit. It also ended as the light began to fade from the old Rutgers Stadium, which did not have light towers.

4. Sept. 24, 1988 – Rutgers 21, Penn State 16: Running back Mike Botti scored twice in Happy Valley as a stunned crowd of 85,531 watched Rutgers beat the Nittany Lions for the first time since 1918. Penn State's final drive ended with Penn State on the Scarlet Knights' 3-yard line when quarterback Tony Sacca threw incomplete to Michael Timpson with 12 seconds remaining.
Penn State came into the game ranked No. 15 in the nation, but it marked the second time in three games the Scarlet Knights beat the 15-rated team on the road. They opened the season with a 17-13 win at Michigan State.

3. Dec. 28, 2006 – Rutgers 37, Kansas State 10: The season that put the Scarlet Knights on the national map ended with a thrashing of the Wildcats and brought Rutgers its first bowl win the program's history. Ray Rice rushed for 170 yards and a score, Tim Brown had a pair of touchdown catches and Quintero Frierson scored on an interception return.
The Scarlet Knights finished the season tying a school-record with 11 wins, was the first December win for the program since 1878, and allowed them to finish ranked No. 12 in the nation.

2. Nov. 3, 1979 – Rutgers 13, Tennessee 7: "What's a Rutgers?" That was the question being posed by Knoxville Journal columnist Ben Byrd on game day as the 23-point underdog Scarlet Knights visited No. 17 Tennessee, which hadn't lost to a northeast team since 1941. Rutgers was 5-2, but its losses were by 35 points to Penn State and 21 to Temple.
Rutgers trailed 7-0 early, but scored at the end of the second quarter when quarterback Ed McMichael connected with David Dorn for a 37-yard scoring play, and a pair of third quarter field goals made it 13-7 entering the fourth quarter, and "What's a Rutgers?" survived a last-second Hail Mary! For the stunning win.
Tennessee responded by whipping Notre Dame 40-18 the next week.

1. Nov. 9, 2006 – Rutgers 28, Louisville 25: Was there even a question this would be the top game. It is now the image so many people around the nation know about Rutgers, whose previous "it" moment came a mere 130 or so years prior when it beat Princeton in the first game played.
It wasn't just that Rutgers won a colossal game between a pair of unbeatens and vaulted into the Top 10, but it came on national television, with the Scarlet Knights rallying from a 25-7 deficit and by stopping one of the nation's most powerful offenses in its tracks.
It was the moment all of coach Greg Schiano's lofty dreams stopped being pie-eyed and suddenly became possible, made players like Ray Rice, Brian Leonard and Eric Foster household names across the country and turned Rutgers into national media darlings.
It also happened to be the night Rutgers truly stopped being a punch line.

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