Looking Back to Look Forward: Greg Schiano's Rutgers Football Highlight Reel

Looking Back to Look Forward: Greg Schiano's Rutgers Football Highlight Reel

As Rutgers Football rounds out its 2020 recruiting class amid the continued excitement over Coach Greg Schiano’s return, here is a look back at some of his marquee moments from his previous 11 seasons when he led the team to new heights.

Greg Schiano led Rutgers Football to new heights when he first served as coach from 2001 to 2011. (Photo: Ben Solomon/Rutgers Athletics)

There are plenty of memories to celebrate. From 2001 to 2011, Schiano’s teams began winning regularly in the Big East with six bowl appearances, which included five championships, and regularly produced players fit for the National Football League.

Check back over the next several months leading up to opening day as we relive more of Schiano’s career highlights at Rutgers including the big upsets and big bowl appearances.

First, we remember the big wins:

Schiano Wins His First Game as Rutgers Coach

Rutgers 31, Buffalo 15 - August 30, 2001

Greg Schiano, flanked by defensive lineman Raheem Orr, prepares to take the field against Buffalo in his first game as the head coach of the Scarlet Knights. (Photo: Courtesy of Rutgers University Archives/Special Collections)

Since his hiring on December 2, 2000, anticipation had been building for the Scarlet Knights’ first game under new head coach Greg Schiano, who, with his extensive coaching experience, had been charged with turning around the struggling football program. A native of Wyckoff, New Jersey, who played football at Ramapo High School, Schiano and his New Jersey roots were seen as a boon for attracting local talent who too often left the state, poached by celebrated football programs. Schiano got his coaching career at Rutgers off to a good start in Buffalo, highlighted by junior safety Shawn Seabrooks’s 73-yard interception return for a touchdown. Junior wide receiver Aaron Martin had five catches to lead the team, including a TD pass from true freshman QB Ryan Cubit, who threw for two touchdowns. Senior running back Dennis Thomas had a career-high 177 yards rushing.

Schiano Leads Rutgers to His First Victory Over a Big Ten Team

Rutgers 19, Michigan State 14 - September 4, 2004

Rutgers defeated Michigan State in front of a then-record home crowd in the 2004 season opener. (Photo: Courtesy of Rutgers Athletics)

Playing before a then-record home crowd of 42,612, the Rutgers football team opened the 2004 season—Schiano’s fourth as head coach—by beating the Big Ten’s Michigan State, 19–14, at Rutgers Stadium in Piscataway. The Scarlet Knights relied on their ground game, running the ball 50 times (to Michigan State’s 22) and dominating time of possession (40:14 to 19:46). On Rutgers’ first play from scrimmage, junior running back Brian Leonard had a 56-yard gain, the longest play to start a game since 1999. In his college debut, true freshman kicker Jeremy Ito opened the game’s scoring with a 24-yard field goal, one of four for the day (on a record seven attempts), to complete a 15-play, 86-yard drive. The Scarlet Knights scored their only touchdown on a 31-yard interception return by senior defensive end Ryan Neill. Junior quarterback Ryan Hart moved into the all-time top five in pass attempts and completions.


Rutgers Scores the Most Points by a Schiano Team

Rutgers 63, Louisville 14 - December 4, 2008

Quarterback Mike Teel set the single-game record for passing yards and touchdowns in win over Louisville (Photo: Courtesy of Rutgers Athletics)

In a record-breaking evening of football, viewed by a national television audience on ESPN, Rutgers gained a season-high 671 total yards as it blew out Louisville, 63–14, for the team’s sixth-straight win and fifth-straight Big East victory, a school record. Rutgers had never scored so many points, and Louisville had never given up so many in a conference game. The 49 first-half points were the most Rutgers had scored in a half during a Big East game, and the 49–0 half-time lead was the largest in program history. Three other school records were broken by senior quarterback Mike Teel: 447 passing yards in a game; seven touchdown passes in a game; and six TD passes in a half. The seven touchdowns that the Scarlet Knights scored in the first half took a total of less than nine minutes of playing time. There was another milestone: It was the first home victory in the month of December since 1878.

Last-Minute Heroics Bring Victory to Rutgers

Rutgers 28, Connecticut 24 - October 31, 2009

Wide receiver Tim Brown traveled 81 yards on the game-winning touchdown to defeat Connecticut with 22 seconds left on the clock. (Photo: Courtesy of Rutgers Athletics)

Traveling to Connecticut to play at Rentschler Field on Halloween, Rutgers beat the UConn Huskies on a last-second touchdown when senior wide receiver Tim Brown hauled in true freshman QB Tom Savage’s 81-yard bomb with 22 seconds left to win the game, 28–24. The first 12 seconds of the contest began with a bang, too, with senior cornerback Devin McCourty returning the opening kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown. UConn, however, methodically climbed back into the game, and it looked like they had it in the bag late in the fourth quarter—until the Brown-Savage connection. In a game that saw the Scarlet Knights improve to 6-2, the defense came up with three interceptions and a fumble recovery; Savage and Brown broke personal records; and Rutgers won its third straight road game.

Visit the Scarlet Knights website for information about tickets for the upcoming season.