With charcoal burning and meat marinating on Memorial Day, ScarletReport.com looks back on some sizzling moments of its own. With five weeks left until a giant leap for Rutgers football, we look back at the modern era of the Scarlet Knights for 10 epic storylines worthy of an extra drink on your day off.
10.) Foreshadowing -- A 19-14 over Michigan State in 2004 certainly became a sign of things to come. At the time, four field goals from Jeremy Ito and a smothering defense led by Ryan Neill's pick six gave fans a reason to believe in coach Greg Schiano. Rutgers held Michigan State to 360 yards, Brian Leonard ran for 150 of his own and fans celebrated their biggest win in quite some time.
9.) Teel's senior surge -- Senior Mike Teel and Schiano felt the boos together during a 1-5 start in 2008. They went on to turn it around together behind a stellar end to Teel's career as a Rutgers quarterback. Rutgers did not lose the rest of the season, and Teel became MVP of the PapaJohns.com Bowl over N.C. State and a young Russell Wilson. By the way, combine Teel's stats in wins over Pittsburgh and Louisville and you get 35-fot-47 with 13 touchdowns and 808 yards.
8.) The Arkansas series -- Scheduled during the darkest days of conference realignment, Rutgers proved that it can play with the big boys. Quarterback Gary Nova stunned more than 72,000 fans in Fayetteville, Ark., with a dazzling performance, and did the same at Rutgers the following season. Nova combined for 743 yards and eight touchdowns in two of the biggest wins of his career. Rutgers made a statement with these two wins.
7.) Pandemonium Part II -- There is no question that South Florida was a hollow No. 2 in the nation at the time, but this field-storming night solidified the growing fan base in 2007. A 69-yard touchdown by Tiquan Underwood and a fake field goal score by Kevin Brock created an electric third quarter at Rutgers Stadium and led to a memorable 30-27 victory.
6.) The Time of the Flood -- In a moment that shocked the fan base, Schiano left one week before National Signing Day after 11 years with the Scarlet Knights. Losing Schiano to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Rutgers and then-athletic director Tim Pernetti introduced Kyle Flood on the eve of National Signing Day. The move kept all but one committed in the highly-touted 2012 recruiting class, and led to a share of the conference title in year one.
5.) The Texas Bowl -- Bowl games were still a new thing for Rutgers fans in 2006, and the first victory in school history made for a special moment to end a magical season. Rutgers put a beating on Kansas State in a 37-10 victory. Freshman Tim Brown sparked early fireworks with two touchdowns and 64 yards in the first quarter. Ray Rice closed the game out with 170 yards on the ground.
4.) See Ray Run -- Rice built himself into a legitimate Heisman candidate in his final season, but there was no way he could break 2,000 yards on the ground right? Let's just say Rice's final game in a Rutgers uniform was memorable. Four touchdowns and a career-high 280 yards later, Rice eclipsed 2,000 rushing yards in a season and led Rutgers to a victory over Ball State in the 2008 International Bowl. Rice's 2,251 total yards was good enough to make him a second-round pick to the Baltimore Ravens.
3.) A B1G Invitation -- Who would have thought such a significant moment barely cracks the top three? This may be the most historically significant moment in Rutgers football history, but the excitement has been drawn out over 18 months. At first, some struggled to believe it possible when the news broke after a win over Cincinnati. Others may not believe it until Rutgers joins in one month. Whatever the reaction, Rutgers became perhaps the biggest winner of conference realignment when escaping the Big East/AAC to join the Big Ten.
2.) Pandemonium in Piscataway -- All roads lead back to Nov. 9, 2006. Beating Louisville to improve to 9-0 remains the most iconic victory in Rutgers football history and the biggest win of Schiano's career. The stadium was electric. The national media swarmed into Piscataway. The fans storming the field after Ito's famous point to the skycam is an image many will never forget. DeVraun Thompson sacked Brian Brohm as time expired, and blew the figurative roof off the house.
1.) The bELieve Movement -- A freezing afternoon in front of a sparsely populated will forever be immortalized as the Sports Illustrated moment of the year. Eric LeGrand never ceases to provide inspiration since a freak injury suffered three-and-a-half years ago. LeGrand has had multiple moments to inspire the masses, and hit a home run every time. From leading the team out of the tunnel against West Virginia, to his No. 52 retirement ceremony to a standing ovation while speaking at graduation this week, LeGrand represents the best of Rutgers University.