They say you don't apologize for who is on your schedule, and I don't intend to. A 2-3 Michigan team was not who Rutgers was expecting to walk in to High Point Solutions Stadium had you asked them at the beginning of the season. However, make no mistake about it, It is still a talented team. A top 10 defense in the nation with the talent on offense to play with anyone in the country.
As excruciating a loss that the Penn State game was, it made this win that much sweeter.
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger was proven to be true last night. In a nightmarish situation, Rutgers maintained their composure and closed out their first ever Big Ten victory. Giving the ball back to Michigan with a 2 point late in the 4th quarter felt the knife was already firmly implanted in Rutgers' collective torso and all Michigan had to do was give it a little twist. The far too familiar feeling of letting a certain win slip away in a huge spot had to be in the back of everyones mind. The fans, the players, and the coaches alike. To everyone's credit though, you weren't able to tell. The defense came through in a big spot. The well coached special teams unit once again made a monsterous play. The fans were as electric as ever until the final whistle.
I have been putting it off, but it's time to give the man his due. In a game where Rutgers averaged 2.5 yards per carry against a stellar defensive front, Gary Nova shined. In fact, Gary Nova, the much maligned quarterback who has had more up's and down's than a narcotics abuser, put his team on his back. Rutgers' motto for the last decade has been 'FAMILY'. They may not produce the best results on the field, but goddamn it if they don't play for each other every single week. While this was a team win, It is one that Nova can proclaim his own. He will never say it, but that win was redemption. Redemption for the times he's been awful. Redemption for the times he's been benched. Redemption for a career filled with moments where he has come up just a little bit short.
I know I have given Gary a hard time over the years. He would be the first to tell you he's deserved it. But as he took that knee and a helpless Michigan team walked out Piscataway with a loss, I couldn't help but feel proud of him. I don't know Gary personally, but it sure as shit feels like I do. So watching him embrace his family at midfield was emotional. It was a moment that not only he can cherish, but the entirety of the Rutgers' faithful can cherish. A moment about overcoming adversity. That's what this Rutgers' team did last night. Showed a nation that scoffed at the idea of them joining the Big Ten that they belonged there.
404 yards. 3 touchdowns. Each one more impressive than the last. I wasn't watching the same player. The same player that let a bad performance turn into a bad season so many times before. Couldn't have been him, That player would have wilted under the bright lights. Maybe Gary Nova has grown up. I wasn't going to say it after solid performances against Navy and Tulane. Those are games where Gary has always been good. I needed to see him go against the stiffest of competition and lead his team in the absence of Paul James. He did that and more. Not only did he make every throw he's supposed to make. He made plays with his feet. He stiff armed an unblocked defender in the process of making a pinpoint touchdown pass at a crucial moment. He made me bELieve again.
Could there have been a more perfect way to seal a win? Sure, the offense had to get one more first down, but that blocked kick was a dagger to the Michigan faithful. I could not have been happier to see Brady Hoke march out his kicker on 4th and 9 in Rutgers territory. I was dreading seeing Devin Gardner again. Even if the Rutgers' defense did contain him a majority of the night. That kick was blocked before it was even snapped. Rutgers' football has taught me to never make assumptions, but there was no way that kick was getting past the line of scrimmage. I have never been so sure of something in my entire life. I have seen it far too many times. I said it before the game and I will continue to say it until they stop leading the nation in blocked kicks, Rutgers has the best coached special teams unit in the country.
I am always one for a good celebration. However, I did not rush the field last night. Sometimes you have to act like you have been there before, even if you haven't. Unlike the Louisville game in 2006, this was a game I felt Rutgers should win. I have felt like that many times in big spots and always been let down, usually in heart wrenching fashion. Was this win huge for the university? Absolutely. But it was only a matter of time. A matter of time before they finally made one more play. A matter of time before they made all the low points worth it. Standing in the stands watching everyone rush the field was an indescribable feeling. A moment that just felt right. Last night Rutgers arrived to the landscape of big time college football. And I could not have been more content when it happened.
They say the first one in the hardest to get. Good to hear. My heart can't handle much more of these games. I am probably going to die in my early 40's at a Rutgers game. Whether that be from alarming amounts of alcohol consumption or an ill timed fake punt call remains to be seen. Either way, It will be a hell of a way to go out. Let's hope the first one is the hardest to get, because the schedule doesn't get any easier. However, something tells me this Rutgers team has been through enough that they are prepared for any challenge they face.
I couldn't be happier for anyone that is lucky enough to call themselves a Scarlet Knight today. I have woken up many a Sunday morning hungover, but this one just feels different. The sun is shining a little bit brighter. The birds are chirper a little more melodically. There is still enough adrenaline in my system to ignore the pounding headache. So I have to sound like a pack a day smoker for the next week. Big deal.
Who's laughing now? I'll give you a hint. It's me. I'm laughing because chubs can't get through a donut without needing to stop to use an inhaler. I'm laughing because the hair lines of these two assbags make mine look like George Clooney's. I am laughing because these three assholes have done maybe 2 athletic things combined in their lives. Ya know, if you include getting out of bed and blabbering gibberish on television as athletic feats. So fuck off and tell me how that foot tastes you sorry excuse for a human being.
PSA: If you bring your children to a conference night game entitled the 'Blackout' game, and you sit downstairs clad in blue and yellow (only pretentious assholes say maize), you are going to hear some shit you don't want to hear. If you happen to be lucky enough to be in my section, it's going to undoubtedly come from my mouth. So don't give me the 'what's that smell' face when I drop an F bomb before they even kickoff. That should be the least of your worries. You're stupid fucking kids have heard a lot worse at school, I promise you. You want to be offended. I can do that. I could have told your daughter that her horse face is going to get her sent to the glue factory sooner than later. I could have told your son that the Michigan stickers he was wearing will undoubtedly be only the first of many sticky things he will have plastering his face in the future. Oh, and nice job with that wife bro. You get one vagina for the rest of our life and that's what you came up with? That bitter bitch face seems permanent. Maybe try giving her an orgasm once and awhile dude. Just trying to help.
I thought Big Ten fans were supposed to have thick skin? First, I made the Penn State chick cry like she was sentenced to a Sandusky shower, and now this. Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke. If you don't want to hear 'come the fuck on' at a football game then go the fuck home. Back to your trailer park on 8 mile road you pheasants. Hope you enjoyed my derogatory mouth while Rutgers fisted that Michigan ass last night. Have a safe ride home in your Buick, ya puts. Here's a hint for future games dude….
P.P.S. Chop, Chop Mr. Ducksworth.