The Incredible Photo Story of the 78-0 Rutgers Game (2016)

Submitted by BlueBarron on November 7th, 2018 at 6:44 PM


The Rutgers student section by the 4th quarter

Author's note: All photos in this post are by me! I will also be attending the 2018 Michigan Rutgers game this weekend, follow me on twitter @BlueBarronPhoto for gameday photos -Patrick Barron

For the 16 or so years that I've been going to Michigan football games it's been fun to play around in my head with a top 10 list of games I've attended. Some are easy - Braylonfest, touchdown Manningham, Under the Lights. Some are abstract - 2008 Wisconsin and 2010 Illinois come to mind. Sometimes I have to think a bit - I will probably never see something play out like the M00N game again in person, so does that make the list in a masochistic sort of way? The 2012 UConn game will be on everyone's bottom 10, but it was the first game I ever photographed so do I consider it? A criteria for anyone's top 10 is undefined and arbitrary.

But there is one game that should be on the top 10 list of every Michigan fan that was there. This game was incredible. Everything about the 2016 Michigan at Rutgers game was incredible.


On November 6, 1869 football was born at Rutgers. This is also the last time they were nationally relevant.

Let's set the scene back up for everyone who needs a refresher. In 2016 Michigan was in an arms race with Ohio State. Rutgers had just lost 58-0 to the Buckeyes, the first of four scoreless games for the Scarlet Knights, and Michigan was looking to one-up their rival following a huge 14-7 win over top 10 Wisconsin.

Rutgers, on the other hand, decided to make the Michigan game a spectacle. The theme was Stripe the Birthplace, a theme that had been planned since May. As many as 200 (TWO HUNDRED) recruits were expected to be in attendance. Jim Harbaugh's satellite camps were causing a stir, with one New Jersey publication referring to them as "An act of war on Rutgers". A Rutgers "secret society" even went so far as to litter the Paramus Catholic high school football field with little red 'R' magnets as an anti-Jim Harbaugh act of... aggression? Sure, let's go with that. The stage was set.


Birthplace: Striped

The atmosphere at the start of the game was as electric as a 52,000 capacity stadium could be: there was pyro, a knight riding a horse, they fired a cannon (more on this later).





It was at this point in the night that the Scarlet Knight should have rode out to mid-field and removed its helmet to reveal a proud Chris Ash announcing that the game was over. It would have been the closest thing to making the evening a success.


Michigan did not score until their 4th possession, 7:16 into the game. The early rain made conditions tricky and Michigan even managed to lose a fumble. But a 4-yard Ty Isaac carry set up by a 63 yard Jabrill Peppers run gave the Wolverines the first touchdown. For the next few game highlight photos, I would like to just list off stats from the boxscore.

Michigan scored 78 points. Rutgers totaled 39 yards. This game was a rare double-Rutger (pluralize it and you get Rutgers).


Rutgers quarterbacks were a combined 2-for-18 for 5 passing yards. Zach Allen finished with -1 passing yard, his raw QB Rating per ESPN was 0.9. ZERO POINT NINE.


Rutgers had 34 total rushing yards and averaged 0.9 yards per carry. Three players finished the day with negative rushing yards.


Michigan rushed for 481 yards and averaged 8.6 yards per attempt


The first Rutgers 1st down was with 9:00 left in the 4th quarter. They had 14 three-and-outs.


Five different Michigan players scored rushing touchdowns, including 3rd string fullback Bobby Henderson on a run play that was not even supposed to score a touchdown.


Michigan only completed 8 passes for 119 yards, two of those were for touchdowns.


Michigan had 13 TFLs and 4 sacks vs 36 Rutgers offensive rushing plays, meaning Michigan pushed Rutgers backwards on 47% of all ground plays


Garrett Moores scored a 2-point conversion, helping secure his 1st place Holder of the Year award status. This was when Michigan was already up 27-0.


We're not done yet. The Rutgers cannon remained silent most of the night.


Michigan fans surrounding the cannon, however, were not. Eventually, after every Michigan touchdown, chants of "SHOOT THE CANNON" could be heard even on the broadcast.


They did fire it... Once
As much as I want to joke about how they never fired it, they did fire it once during the actual game. With time expiring at the end of the 3rd quarter, Shane Morris threw a pass that seemed to hit Moe Ways in the knee and bounced up to a Rutgers defender who ran it back for a pick-six. The cannon was fired and the Scarlet Knight mounted his horse in the tunnel to run a lap around the field.


What few Rutgers students remained scrambled to get a flag to wave during the only bright spot of the night.

BUT. They reviewed the play and it was determined that the ball had hit the ground and the ruling would be an incomplete pass.

So they put the horse away into the back of a trailer.



The knight's expression to the review pretty much sums up the night

In a white flag act I have never seen before, the Rutgers band marched over to the Michigan section and began playing The Victors.


A video of this can be seen here.

The ROTC push-up board was never used.PAB_FB_MichAtRutger2016_6.jpg

By the 4th quarter, this was the Michigan section:


As for Rutgers, well:

I have no idea what Jim Harbaugh said here, but it looked Walter White-esqu.

Stay. Out. Of my territory.

If you turned this game off in the 3rd quarter, I understand. You could have spent time with your family, read a book, watched anything else. But being at this game was an experience, man. So much so that I asked to go again. This weekend, Michigan's number one ranked defense will go up against the worst power-5 team per S&P+. In fact, Rutgers is ranked even lower on S&P+ this year than they were in 2016. I can't wait.

I'll leave you with two more photos from this game to scratch your head over.







November 8th, 2018 at 1:43 AM ^

Um..Rutger? Is there more than one?

Also that coach does indeed seem to be trying to invade Harbaugh's territory. Jim confidently has the interception however.

Brilliant post, and gets me psyched for the game.  Cannons, knights and pushups, oh my!


November 8th, 2018 at 8:16 AM ^

I'm curious how the recruiting worked out from that event - did we get commits from any of the players that were actually there that night?


November 9th, 2018 at 9:54 AM ^

Out of morbid curiosity, I clicked the 200! link at the top of the article.  I believe Drew Singleton is the only Wolverine that attended. I'm not big into following recruiting, so I only recognized a few other names:

Jonathon Taylor

Tyler Friday

Isaiah Wilson

Jeremy Ruckert

Artur Sitkowski - he attended that game and still decided to commit?




November 8th, 2018 at 9:12 AM ^

1) Great pictures.

2) Wisconsin 2008 and Illinois 2010 are not abstract, obscure, or forgotten.

3) Rutgers got a first down in the first half (I don't remember which quarter). But the QB (who scrambled for the first) fumbled and Michigan recovered. Not sure if that goes down as a team stat first down or if it doesn't because of the fumble. I guess it doesn't count.

4) I can't believe how many different celebrations Rutgers has for scoring given how rarely it happens. On the other hand, I guess that's why they have so many celebrations for it.


November 8th, 2018 at 9:38 AM ^

This is great!  But don't look forward to the same kind of beat down Saturday.  In 2016, Ash (and Rutger in general) had been talking smack all summer.  Ash really made it a calling card to call out Michigan.  He even hastily scrabbled together a football camp at a Catholic HS not far from where Michigan's satellite camp had been scheduled for a couple of months.  The Rutger press were harping all over Michigan - and Harbaugh specifically - about raiding the NJ fields and how low class it all was.  They crapped on Partridge for taking a UM asst job.  They were predicting that Rutger was setup to overtake the B1G.

None of that tripe sat well with JMFH, and he refused to call off the dogs.  He did send in the reserves early, often, and numerously - but he refused to lay off scoring when the opportunity was there.  I just don't see the same vitriol this time around.  They'll substitute liberally, but they won't call anything other than base running plays and won't insist they mash the crap out of whoever is in the way.  Play hard, but not intentionally cruel.  Score in the 50's?  Probably...


November 9th, 2018 at 1:33 PM ^

Obviously you shouldn't expect to score 78, that's such an extreme outlier, but Michigan really didn't intentionally run up the score in that game. If I remember correctly, Michigan didn't attempt a pass in the second half and none of the starters played in the second half. Short of instructing players to intentionally not score, I don't know what else you can do.

The problem was that Michigan was very deep at D-Line and RB, and those two position groups were the ones dominating the game. 


November 8th, 2018 at 2:33 PM ^

GREAT post - really great!

Nice pictures.

Two questions: 

1. Is the Scarlett Knight a position like the drum major is for the Michigan Marching Band? Do kids try out each year? I imagine it helps if you have equestrian experience.

2. The whole Stripe the stadium thing - was it supposed to be alternating sections of Scarlett and Black?

If you go to this game, please post a follow-up.


November 9th, 2018 at 7:58 AM ^

I remember this game well, but by watching it on TV.  However your story telling here was very good, and along with the pictures paints a great story.  Thanks!


November 9th, 2018 at 11:56 AM ^

The Rutger fan pre-game talk post very much deserves a revisit...

My favorite is "once we win this game people will be talking about how coach ash is building something special in piscataway. huge signatures win!"

Its some solid gold.