Rutgers fan celebrates a first down, 2016 [Patrick Barron]

Introducing The Rutger Comment Count

Brian October 25th, 2018 at 11:38 AM

One of our photographers, Patrick Barron, has been trying to make fetch happen in our Slack for a little while now, except in this case "fetch" is actually a useful way of measure how grisly a blowout is. (Also we've discovered that SBN's Jason Kirk had the same idea a couple weeks before Patrick, so he's now Rutger Leibnitz.)

I mentioned it in the game column but here's a more complete introduction to…

The Rutger

A rutger is when you have fewer yards in some aspect of the game than your opponent has points. For example, the 2018 Michigan-Michigan State game saw Michigan (21 points) hand MSU (15 rushing yards) a rushing rugter, at least by NCAA stats.

A Total Rutger, where you have fewer yards than the opposition has points, is a rare event. Total rutger events in the past decade of college football, with FBS matchups bolded:

Season Week Offense Defense Def Pts Off yds Rutger
2013 4 Florida Int Louisville 72 27 2.67
2017 8 Kansas TCU 43 21 2.05
2016 6 Rutgers Michigan 78 39 2.00
2012 2 Savannah State Florida St 55 28 1.96
2008 14 Mississippi St Mississippi 45 24 1.88
2015 20 N Illinois Boise St 55 33 1.67
2014 2 South Carolina State Clemson 73 44 1.66
2017 1 Charleston Southern Mississippi St 49 33 1.48
2016 2 Savannah State Southern Miss 56 41 1.37
2009 4 UTEP Texas 64 53 1.21
2014 1 Delaware Pittsburgh 62 57 1.09
2014 13 Savannah State BYU 64 63 1.02

Michigan-Rutgers 2016, TCU-Kansas 2017, and Louisville-FIU 2013 were all Double Total Rutger events, which sit in a subclass of the rutger: the Rutgers. Nobody has achieved the Triple Rutger in recent CFB history.

Congratulations to Mississippi State, which is the only team to both rutger and be rutger'd, and the only team to get rutger'd in a rivalry game. FCS-level Savannah State is the most generous rutger provider in all the land.

Rushing rutgers, aided by NCAA sack accounting, are stunningly common: about 600 rushing rutgers over the past decade. There have been approximately 200 passing rutgers. With about 8000 games in the data set, any particular game has about a 10% chance to be a single-phase rutger.

[After THE JUMP: beyoooond the ruuuuuutger]

Beyond The Rutger

The Hoke. There is a level of statistical ineptitude even beyond The Rutger wherein you have more negative yards than the opponent has points, a special accomplishment indeed since the bar keeps getting raised the worse you are. This is only realistically possible in a single-phase rutger, and even then it's only because the NCAA counts sack yardage as rushing yardage. This is nonsense, of course, but that does not stop people from referencing historically grisly box scores that sport this nonsense. This is right and just and emphatically happened to Brady Hoke against Michigan State:


It is thus dubbed The Hoke. Hoke has the second-worst hoke of the last decade and is the only coach to manage it twice in a single season. The only other coach to show up twice is Mike Leach, who is doing it on purpose. 

Season Offense Defense Def Pts Off Rush Yards Hoke Level
2009 Washington St Arizona St 27 -45 1.67
2013 Michigan Michigan St 29 -48 1.66
2016 Washington St Arizona St 32 -52 1.63
2014 Southern Miss Louisiana Tech 31 -45 1.45
2013 Michigan Nebraska 17 -21 1.24
2014 Louisiana Mon Louisiana Laf 34 -40 1.18
2014 Wake Forest Louisville 20 -22 1.10
2017 Cal Washington 38 -40 1.05
2011 Tennessee Georgia 20 -21 1.05
2010 Rutgers Army 20 -20 1.00
2009 Oklahoma Texas 16 -16 1.00

The bolded games are, incredibly, wins for the team that suffered a hoke.

The Autorutger. Occurs when you have fewer yards than you have points and will never ever happen. The closest approach to a total autorutger was Missouri's 42-13 win over Florida in 2014. Mizzou gained just 119 yards and achieved a remarkable 0.35 autorutger. The next closest autorutger also involves Florida, but this time they're on the good end after a 44-11 win over South Carolina in 2012 in which they gained just 183 yards. Will Muschamp, man.

Individual phase autorutgers are common enough that they don't warrant too much attention, but the Div By Zero Autorutger is a special case. This occurs when a team has zero passing yards and still wins. It's a list populated by the usual suspects and Louisiana Lafayette, somehow.

Season Offense Defense Def Pts Off Pts Off Pass Yards
2016 Louisiana Laf Louisiana Mon 3 30 0
2017 Army FCS 6 64 0
2017 Navy Virginia 7 49 0
2018 Army Miami (OH) 30 31 0
2017 Navy SMU 40 43 0
2011 Navy SMU 17 24 0
2017 Army E Michigan 27 28 0
2012 Air Force Hawaii 7 21 0
2013 Georgia Southern Florida 20 26 0
2017 Army Air Force 0 21 0
2009 Navy Wake Forest 10 13 0

This concludes your introduction to the rutger.


Ali G Bomaye

October 25th, 2018 at 3:12 PM ^

Savannah State is a team that has a fraction of the resources of a FBS team, let alone a P5 team. They show up regularly to get slaughtered because their school needs money and they're a guaranteed bodybag.

Rutgers is a team which should theoretically be competitive, as a P5 school in a fertile recruiting ground in the highest-paying conference in the land. They deserve the shame of the Rutger label far more than a FCS sacrificial lamb does.


October 25th, 2018 at 2:11 PM ^

They were a marginal bowl team in 2014, and Michigan that year... wasn't. 2014 was the end of the run started by Greg Schiano; they'd had one good year under Schiano (11-2 in 2006) and a bunch of years where they won enough to get into a bowl game but struggled against any team with a pulse.

Schiano's successor Kyle Flood got himself fired in 2015 and Rutgers hit rock bottom in 2016 under Chris Ash. I'm not sure how much of that is Ash's fault, but I'm also not sure he can get them out.


October 25th, 2018 at 2:41 PM ^

I believe this may help - the New Jersey media were equally puzzled that (a) Chris still had a job and (b) recently got an extension until some digging around found a very important clause in his contract.

And there is an accompanying question - why hasn't Rutgers bailed out from the Big Ten.



October 25th, 2018 at 2:24 PM ^

That may be the only time I was too disgusted with our performance to care that we got screwed by the refs. 

Darboh's catch was good for a first down on the last drive that would have set up a much easier game winning field goal but the ref decided to call it out of bounds.  Unfortunately, it doesn't take away the fact that Rutgers QB had about 9,000 yards yards passing in the first half alone.  It was about the most pitiful 26-24 game you'll ever see. 



October 26th, 2018 at 12:31 AM ^

I remember that play. It may have been the most grotesque "process of the catch" BS ruling I've ever seen. I think Brady rightfully challenged the play and lost.

Not sure Weil's kick wouldn't have been blocked from closer any way. That '14 team was destined to lose. We have JH today thanks to disasters like this one. 

G. Gulo of the Dale

October 25th, 2018 at 2:26 PM ^

Shame on us for ever being in this position, but UM was the victim of an unconscionably bad spot that killed our final drive in Rutgers territory.  Rationally or not, I still to this day believe we win that game, if we pick up that first down.

Unfortunately, the offending referee was only beginning his life's work of screwing us over...  


October 26th, 2018 at 12:34 AM ^

I think an even bigger play was when we had Gary Nova (not to be confused with 1984 Dan Marino) somehow avoid a sack with seconds left in the 2nd Q and hit a killer TD pass, when the sack would have ended the half. 

For those who have Sirius XM and even listen, even briefly, to Rutgers games, Gary Nova is usually around and making some comments in the booth. Our "ability" to let him throw for 400 yards, 3 TDs and 0 INTs gave him lifetime employment


October 25th, 2018 at 1:45 PM ^

My 11 year old son has, for the last 3 years, referred to Rutgers as "The Rutgers".  Despite my repeated attempts to correct him, he still calls them "The Rutgers".  Turns out he's been right this whole time.


October 25th, 2018 at 2:10 PM ^

My 9 year old son has done the same since Michigan started playing The Rutgers regularly. Now, when The Rutgers score comes on the TV, he will laugh at the other team if they allowed The Rutgers to score a touchdown, often followed by "[team X] must be really terrible this year. The Rutgers are the worst." And I can't really disagree with him. 


October 25th, 2018 at 1:46 PM ^

Something doesn't seem right in the Michigan - Michigan State box score.  Unless we are in some odd dimension where math works differently than I think it does, isn't 20 + 0 + -46 = -26?  


October 25th, 2018 at 1:53 PM ^

I agree. Something is weird about that boxscore. It's repeated both on ESPN and sports reference, though.

EDIT: I think I've found it: 

Michigan 1st & 10 at the MSU 49, 9:15 of the second quarter: TEAM rush for -20 yards. Per ESPN's game report here.

FURTHER EDIT: full procrastination mode at the moment, just looked at the UFR, it was a snap over Gardner's head. 

BTW Michigan had Taylor Lewan, Graham Glasgow, and Michael Schofield on that offensive line, all of whom currently play in the NFL (Lewan is one of the best linemen in the League right now) with a not-terrible outside lineup of Gallon and also-in-the-NFL Devin Funchess. And the very talented Devin Gardner. And our offense was bad. Boy was Hoke/Borgess/Funk a bad group of coaches.

Malum In Se

October 25th, 2018 at 2:10 PM ^

There are 2 missing carries.  They list us as having 29 rush attempts, but it only adds up to 27.  Gardner had 18 rushes.  Toussaint had 8.  Morris had 1.  I cannot find the other 2 carries which apparently lost 22 yards.

MSU's rushing numbers do not add up either.  They list 39 total rushes but the listed rushes only adds up to 36.  The 3 missing carries lower their total of 150 to 142.

EDIT:  So there are team rushes?  They should list that separately in the stat box.


October 25th, 2018 at 1:53 PM ^

Really feel you guys missed the boat on one thing.  Let me officially request that instead of the confusing and generic 'offense' and 'defense' designations, the naming convention for the two teams should be rutgerer and rutgeree.


October 25th, 2018 at 6:12 PM ^

Probably not all that uncommon given there were multiple teams that won despite "hoke-ing."  In fact, 2018 NW-MSU fits the bill.  MSU (19 points) losing despite NW's rushing rutger (8 yards).  For this reason, I nominate your statistical anomaly be christened the "spart."  Used in a sentence:  "NW's rushing rutger is pretty embarassing, but not nearly so much as Sparty's spart."


October 25th, 2018 at 1:58 PM ^

We discussed the basketball Rutger, where you scored the winning points in the first half. However I can only find one instance of this happening. It was of course Rutgers versus Purdue a few years back