Rutger stadium atmosphere?

Submitted by Wolverine Devotee on November 11th, 2018 at 10:14 PM

Anyone here have any words on their experience attending this game out in NJ? Gonna try to do this road trip next time around in 2020 and am curious to hear. 

That and it's only the 3rd time any Michigan fans have been in that stadium so any experiences on their stadium/tailgating atmosphere etc are interesting. 

Comments

umbig11

November 11th, 2018 at 10:21 PM ^

WD, make sure you go at least once to experience the stadium. You will get mixed reviews. The stadium is small with decent seats. Tailgating is rather lame, not much around the stadium, bathrooms and concessions are below avg.

Hit every B1G stadium if you can.

Srock

November 12th, 2018 at 9:19 AM ^

Hey WD -- My Dad and I are doing the same thing, and we are almost there! Would have made it had 1) The B1G not expanded and 2) Brady Hoke happened. 

I've seen UM WIN in 13 B1G Stadiums (been to them all) as I'm only missing Nebraska (which might have been different if our back up QB wasn't moved to WR). I've also seen wins at ND, Rose Bowl, Fiesta Bowl (Harbaugh QB vs Nebraska) among others.

Anyhow, the Rutgers experience is not college. Has zero feel of a college stadium or even area / campus. But, it is very easy to get to. 

Our 1st trip flew into Newark, took the train to New Brunswick and got a hotel right there (Hilton I think). George Street has a few bars, but there are not college - head to College Ave (fancy name).

This trip my wife and daughter joined with my mother and father. We stayed in Time Square. So we got a 2 for 1 - a Michigan Football game for Dad and I and the girls got a NYC Weekend. 

The Stadium reminds me a little of Minnesota's TCF Bank - small, looks nice, more "pro" vs. College. They have 1 scoreboard with ads and replays, no stats. 

Don't worry about Rutgers fans giving you crap - there are none. 

Sit behind visitor bench between the 20s - the end zone seats are far from field but lower bowl behind the bench is a really good view and close to the field. 

Enjoy!

Go Blue! - Matt

 

 

HermosaBlue

November 12th, 2018 at 1:12 PM ^

My dad (age 77) and I are a bit behind you on this project - we've been to M wins in Ann Arbor, Evanston, East Lansing, West Lafayette (last year), Rutgers (this year).  We've got road visits planned out through 2025 to cross off the other 9 venues.

It's a bucket list item for my dad.

Rutgers College Avenue campus itself is pretty nice, though New Brunswick is not particularly impressive, IMO.  Food on Easton Ave was decent.

Not much parking near the stadium for visitors.  Parked on campus, walked around for several hours and had meals/beers pregame.  Took a bus from campus to the stadium.  The stadium is in a nice, wooded area, but it's small (53k) and was about 60% full.  About half of that was maize & blue.

Stadium experience was unimpressive.  A cross between HS frivolity and pro frippery.  Fans are unexcited for a 1-8 (now 1-9) team, and I heard several comments around the time the score hit 35-7 from RU fans that they should have stayed in the Big East.

The rivalry is alive and well, though.  The parking lot attendant told me, unsolicited, that Harbaugh was an asshole for 78-0.

bokee88

November 12th, 2018 at 2:32 PM ^

This is spot on. I was surprised at how empty it was. I have been in cold weather at Northwestern and this Rutgers crowd was so sparse in comparison. Could believe it. 

The canon and siren are annoying. 

The Jersey guys behind us were funny. They had a good attitude and were interesting to talk to.

bokee88

November 12th, 2018 at 2:34 PM ^

Oh, and the Scarlett Knight on the horse and the sparky like creature knight are so lame. It was like being at a half attended pistons game. Small crowd and no one gives a crap about the mascot. At all. I felt sorry for the guys that had to play that part. 

FanNamedOzzy

November 11th, 2018 at 10:21 PM ^

It was cold as hell, man. Tickets only dropped on gameday morning, but drop they did. I'd recommend flying into NYC on Friday, spending a night in the town (I went to see Hamilton and got some sushi), then you can take the train Saturday morning into New Brunswich / Rutgers.

Food in town overall was great (get a Fat Sandwich, go to Stuff yer Face, as well). We were seated around some great Rutgers fans. They were passionate and I have to give it to em, they were cheering really hard for a team that's really, really been down. The experience was...empty, though. Stadium was probably 60% filled, if that? Cleared out quickly, as well.

It marked Big Ten stadium #7 off my list, and honestly the in-stadium experience was probably the worst / saddest if you're going based off of the "hype" factor. So, I would probably never go back again, but gotta cross off that list!

FanNamedOzzy

November 11th, 2018 at 10:55 PM ^

Mainly was checking Stubhub. The night before they were hovering in the $75-$100 range. I jumped on a pair that went up at 7am Saturday at $39/per.

I kept checking to see how I did, and they dipped into the $30s around 1:00pm or so. I was getting a bit uneasy and wanted to enjoy the town without constantly checking prices, so wasn't too upset with $39/per.

bluepow

November 11th, 2018 at 11:04 PM ^

I appreciate the sarcasm but you do miss a valid historical point.  I remember being a child in 1970's Ann Arbor.  We rooted for Michigan just like generations before because of the high bar that Michigan represents. 

On fall Saturdays the football program distilled the notion that learning, work ethic, and community spirit was the path to victory. I was shown life solutions through football metaphor, not High Point Solutions. These priceless lessons were not for sale then and are diluted by money now.

Get the hell off my lawn.

Yo_Blue

November 11th, 2018 at 10:24 PM ^

It was cold as Hell...

That said, this was my third Rutgers trip and I highly recommend it.  The first year we stayed at the Heldrich in New Brunswick, but the past two times we have stayed in Manhatten and taken the train to and from the game.  The stadium itself is nothing special - a bunch of empty seats filled primarily with Michigan fans.  There are a lot of NYC-area Wolverines. It is similar to how we take over Northwestern's field.

The tickets are very reasonably priced and the concession prices are ridiculously low ($3 for a large hot chocolate).  We went to NYC on Thursday and saw as many sights as we could fit in, including finally getting to see Hamilton.  A highlight each year is the train ride back to Manhatten with the cars jammed full of Michigan fans.  At Penn Station there is a sea of maize and blue chanting, "It's great to be a Michigan Wolverine."

Go for it.  I still don't think Rutgers belongs in the B1G, but I sure don't mind the experience of going there!

WoodleyIsBeast

November 11th, 2018 at 10:43 PM ^

Stadium is oddly similar to Maryland’s. New Brunswick has quite a few restaurants not far from the stadium, which was nice for game day. 

Kept looking left for a second scoreboard, only to remember that not everyone has the same set up as we do in AA.

BKWolverine

November 11th, 2018 at 11:06 PM ^

I live in NYC and getting to the stadium was easy enough so planning time in NYC would be recommended. My buddy and I went to a few bars before and after the game and even though everyone was decked out in Rutgers gear, we didn't encounter assholes, which was nice. 

 

As for the stadium experience, it is not great. I think a large part of that is due to Rutgers being 1-8 going into the game, but also because it's just not a great stadium. The already scant student section cleared out by the end of the 3rd quarter and the stadium was pretty empty save the Michigan contingency. I'd get seats on the visitor side for sure. All that being said, it would be a fun trip to make in 2020 and if you can make it happen, do it!

Michigan4Harbaugh

November 11th, 2018 at 11:07 PM ^

Can't speak for the atmosphere in person, but MAN, that PA announcer sounded awful. Its thirrrrrrrrrrd downnnnnn!!!! And anddddd 2!!!! It also sounded like DJ Jazzy Jeff's nightclub the whole game as well. Not quite college football atmosphere.

ST3

November 11th, 2018 at 11:52 PM ^

I like how Rutgers played the intimidating music on third downs. Several times I remember thinking, you guys do realize it’s 3rd and 1, right? That’s not really a tough ask of our offense. I guess they so rarely force teams to face a third down, they have to play it whenever they do.

KungFury

November 11th, 2018 at 11:28 PM ^

Stadium sits at the top of a hill. Wind made it hella cold unless you were row 25 or below to get some of it blocked. Not an overly impressive stadium. Closer to a western than a big time school. The concourse around the stadium was about half as wide as it should be and it was a pain to get around when it was busy. Most parking was pretty far away and shuttled people in so not a ton of tailgating. And half the walking paths they had were through mud and puddles. 

Fans were mostly fine. There are a handful that are pissed that everyone sells their tickets to opposing fans every week and a few were kind of dicks. 

I dont blame them too much that the atmosphere sucks. I wouldn't go see a team that bad, and I'm actually impressed as many of them lasted as long as they did. When they scored and stopped us on a couple of fourths they got really into it. I think the atmosphere would be decent if they had a team that wasnt total garbage. 

I would maybe go back if they had a competitive team someday. Otherwise, check that one off the list and I'm good. 

BlueBarron

November 11th, 2018 at 11:30 PM ^

My experience was from the sidelines so I can't really give a good "fan" experience perspective but it was pretty underwhelming I thought. About half of the student section got filled and they were all gone by halftime. 1/3 of the fans in the stadium were Michigan fans and they stuck around for most of it. The energy from the stadium was about what you'd expect from a fanbase of a 1-8 team going up against an 8-1 team. Tailgating is probably a typical Big Ten tailgate (but I don't really get to do that when working away games).

FWIW I thought the stadium atmosphere at the start of the 2016 game was kinda cool. Striping the stadium, night game, packed stadium. It uh. Went downhill fast.

The announcer is the opposite of Grapentine in that he gets overly enthusiastic and they play Metallica on 3rd downs. The kind of gimmicks you expect from a 52,000 capacity stadium.

Ghost of Fritz…

November 12th, 2018 at 12:26 AM ^

It is actually a pretty nice stadium.  Small but nice, as least as far as the sight lines and seats, etc.  Concessions are not great.  Announcer is terrible.  Huge lines at bathrooms (even mens) in the lower concourse, and not just at halftime.  Pro tip:  If you really gotta go, the bathrooms on the upper level don't have lines. 

Some are saying it was really cold.  Not really.  Mid 40s at kickoff, high 30s at the end.  Windy, but not crazy wind.  Below average for early November in NJ. 

The parking is mostly far and scattered.  They have plenty of free buses that take people to and from the parking.  So it is not a problem. 

The campus is just o.k.  Nothing special.  New Brunswick is...a lot nicer than South Bend (low bar) but not even close to a great town like Madison or Ann Arbor.  But you will find some decent bars and restaurants.

The stadium is sort of far from center of campus and the area of New Brunswick with restaurants and bars.  The campus is weird and disjointed and the stadium is removed from the central campus. 

Imagine it almost as though Michigan Stadium were located up on North Campus in Ann Arbor.  Would you walk from the Diag to a stadium located up by Bursley?  No. Sort of far, and even worse, not an enjoyable walk.  That is sort of the set up at Rutgers.

in 2016 the stadium was pretty full and the atmosphere was pretty good.  This year it was more flat.  About 55% full at peak. This was odd, because most of the seats were sold.  The RU official web site did not have many tickets for sale the days before, or the morning of, the game.  Also not a huge number of tickets on StubHub.  It seems that lots of RU fans decided to not attend, but also not sell on StubHub to Michigan fans.  RU is so bad this year that they have had terrible attendance all year, and a significant part of that may be no shows. 

The turnout in the student section was shockingly low. The student section is most of the south end zone.  And it never seemed to be more than 30% full, if that.  By the end there were more Rutgers band members than remaining students in the student section.  I mean in the 4th quarter it got down to about 75-100 students. 

Lots of Michigan fans. 

old98blue

November 12th, 2018 at 3:11 AM ^

First time there for me, couldn't help but think why are they in the BIG. The fans were nice but most left at halftime or shortly after those remaining were Wolverines. Students didn't really show but it was cold, you will have to park a ways away from the stadium and shuttle in unless you pay in advance for a parking permit.  But like most are saying I was able to check it off my lists

True Blue Grit

November 12th, 2018 at 7:12 AM ^

This was our first trip to Rutgers, as part of our goal to go to a game at every Big Ten stadium.  I agree with most of the comments about the gameday experience.  Basically, it was kind of boring and lame IMO.  As others pointed out, the attendance by Rutgers fans was poor.  It was by far the least vocal and large student section I've ever seen.  Their band seemed like a largish-high school band by comparison to Michigan.  The PA system was pretty poor and seemed to be only on one end of the stadium.  There were not enough restroom facilities and had long lines out the door despite the relatively low attendance.  The layout of the stadium and field was fine, but I wouldn't want to sit in the upper deck, as it's steep and wind exposed.  

Tailgating.  We brought all our stuff to set up a tailgate, and although the strong winds made it difficult, it turned out fine.  In general, the options on where to tailgate if you want to set up a tent are limited.  The stadium sits next to a golf course and is across the road from a nice, big treed park.  Yet they don't allow tailgating or parking on either.  We ended up at the St. George Greek Church, which is really close to the stadium. They were very nice and accommodating in allowing us to find a place to set up our tent.  The cost of $35 is very reasonable too.  They have indoor bathrooms too, which is a plus.  The best part was the upper lot where we were was filled with fellow Michigan fans.    I think the few other Rutgers lots where you can pay cash on the day of the game are a lot further walk from the stadium and would not have had nearly as many Michigan fans.  

Driving around New Brunswick was a real pain compared to Michigan.  The river going through the middle of everything limits access quite a bit since they don't have many bridges going across it.  This means the traffic is a lot worse most of the time.  Fortunately, with one person driving and the other using Google maps we managed to get where we needed to go.  

Having gone there once, we are unlikely to go back in favor of other away game sites where the game day experience is better.  

LSAClassOf2000

November 12th, 2018 at 7:50 AM ^

This is one of the few Big Ten venues that I have yet to visit. I was actually at a Maryland game when they were still in the ACC, so I sort of count that, although I assume the Big Ten atmosphere makes it a far different place now. Minnesota and Nebraska are the other ones that I have yet to see play in their own stadium.

Leatherstocking Blue

November 12th, 2018 at 8:38 AM ^

When I heard what sounded like a 5 year old singing Welcome to the Jungle on a PA system in the Rutger Zone tailgating area, I thought we had achieved maximum Rutger. 

We sat in the upper deck and the view was still pretty decent, but chilly. The wind was blowing hard, though it was much windier in the tailgating/food truck area.

I found Rutger fans to be on the nice side, though the empty seats outnumbered them. The band did play Hail to the Victors at the beginning of the game so I thought that was a nice way to acknowledge the visiting team. 

We were able to wander the the stadium for the 2nd half and had our pick of seats with no one checking tickets. As mentioned, the bathrooms at half time had huge lines; there are only 4 or 5 urinals in each bathroom and I prefer troughs for the true stadium experience. No lines in the second half, especially behind what is supposed to be the student section.

The buses ran regularly from the train station to the stadium and back so we never encountered much in the way of traffic. I can't really tell you much about the campus as the bus back went down what I assume is the main drag through campus, which appeared urban but nice. The letters on a fraternity were lit in purple neon, which may tell you all you need to know about Rutger. While not a must see experience, it is a viable option for East Coast fans to see a game at a reasonable price.

PB-J Time

November 12th, 2018 at 9:07 AM ^

This was our 3rd trip, gone each time U-M played. Got tickets through the U-M alumni club of Philly. In addition to NYC & north Jersey there are plenty of us in/around Philly. Only about an hour from home for me. This was the toughest, it really was quite cold. The atmosphere is VERY different from Ann Arbor as has been mentioned (hip hop between almost every down, the STUPID its thiirrrrrdddddd dowwwwwnnnn!!) is terribly annoying. Not a particularly impressive stadium. We sat near their "banners" for all of their "accomplishments" (really bad bowl game appearances and the one Big East title)

Worth a trip if you've never been (and yes you can make a weekend of it in NYC), but for me it is just the ease of a day trip

Rage86

November 12th, 2018 at 9:51 AM ^

We made the trip down from State College, PA and I was very impressed with how nice their fan base was to us. I am used to having people throw bottles and spit at us at Penn State but no one other than the actually mascot talked any crap to us. The scarlet knight was actually just joking around with us and even moved us to the best location to witness the "Scarlet Walk" which was cool to see. The campus is so far away from the stadium it seemed that we walked all over the parking areas and tailgate area from 10:30am until game time. Food Truck Ally was pretty cool as we were hungry before we could get into the stadium. Traffic was super easy compared to leaving Beaver Stadium, we pulled out of the Greek Church parking lot and were right on the highway with no delays! I would definitely go back and do a little more tailgating this time around! Stadium to me seemed very bland and no real atmosphere but I'm sure a lot of that has to do with how terrible their team is.

Powdrkeg7

November 12th, 2018 at 10:05 AM ^

We stayed in East Brunswick at the Hilton.  It’s a few miles from campus, nice hotel and a reasonable rate ($100/night).  If we ever go back, we’ll stay in New Brunswick.   

Went into the City on Friday and did a SoHo Pub crawl…lots of fun. 

On game day we went to New Brunswick and started at Stuff Yer Face (featured on Big10 Eats a few years back) and had a Stromboli and a few beers.  Moved on to Kelly’s Korner Bar, then to the Olive Branch where we had the most fun.  The fans were mostly great.  Lots of UM faithful, made some new friends and invited many to our tailgates for the future. 

The stadium experience was ok, we bought tickets last week for the upper deck but never made it to our actual seats.  There were so many empty seats that we found lower level on the M side on the 45 about 15 rows up.  The areas surrounding the stadium are spacious and scenic but you have to park at least a mile away and take a shuttle in from the Rutgers Athletic Center.  Not sure why they don’t get folks closer to the stadium for tailgating as it would really enhance the experience.  Overall glad we went and marked this one off the list but can’t highly recommend unless you want to visit all BIG stadiums.

cazzie33

November 12th, 2018 at 10:08 AM ^

Nice people, decent food, generic stadium, good sightlines, low energy, hideous announcer, meh band, isolated setting, little traffic, high winds, low temps, crappy team. Maybe worth going once just to confirm your suspicion that Rutgers doesn't belong in the Big Ten.

m1jjb00

November 12th, 2018 at 10:59 AM ^

Parking map on the Rutgers site lists a few day-game parking.  There's one close to the stadium to the east of the stadium and south of the R Johnson medical center.  (Everything is named for the guy.)  We didn't park there but parked in someone's backyard by there for $20.  It was an easy walk to the stadium and got a tip to first head a little north.  That set us on a course that wouldn't take us to the south end.  The stadium is on a hill, so if you come in from the south you have 4 stories or so of steps to climb.  The north end is flat.  Stayed to the end, which was a good call (duh) but more so because the place was so cleared out, traffic.

Second time there, better than 2014.

Old Goat

November 12th, 2018 at 11:03 AM ^

My job moved me to Jersey many years ago.  I lived here for 10 years before I realized that Rutgers is the state university of New Jersey, and I began to think of it as Jersey State.  It's not that much of a stretch.  It's a public, state school.  It has three campuses.  The main campus in New Brunswick would remind you of lots of campuses in the midwest - it's not nearly as urban an you might suspect.  There are about 35K undergrads.  There's a law school.  There's a med school.  

Athletics is another thing altogether.  College football is not a thing on the East coast like it is everywhere else and it shows.  The stadium is half the size of the Big House and, not surprisingly, the facilities are half as good.  The stadium is not on the main campus.  If you drive, park at the Rutgers Athletic Center (it's the basketball arena; they call it "the RAC") and take the free shuttle bus.  You'll find lots of Michigan tailgates going on there.  

I've been to all three games at Jersey State.  Even in 2014, after that horrible, embarrassing effort, the giddy rutger fans made fun of us, but they weren't total jerks about it.  In 2016, a big, linebacker-sized rutger fan sitting behind us gave a Michigan fan a big bro-hug when his team finally made a first down in the middle of the 2nd half.  This year, lots of rutger fans came dressed as empty seats for the cold, windy dreaded 345p November kickoff.

Ecky Pting

November 12th, 2018 at 11:22 AM ^

This was the second time I'd been to see UM football at Rutgers, the first time being the sub-Horror experience of 2014.

The atmosphere for the first go-round was more exciting since the RU team was much better, it was a night game, and a stadium blackout was in place. As a UM fan, the end was demoralizing descent into the BPONE, as the RU fans flooded the field and tore down the goalposts. As far as "atmosphere" goes, a college football game doesn't get more exciting than the that, citing the disparity in emotions felt by the respective fan bases at the end of the game. That said, the RU fans in my section were knowledgeable and courteous hosts.

Last weekend was a markedly different experience. We stayed at the Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick (which is where the Robert Wood Johnson Med School campus is located), taking advantage of a bargain room rate offered to football game attendees. Several other M-fans had claimed the bar when we arrived late Friday night. The bar features B1G football helmets, team banners throughout and lots of video screens.

On game day, a free shuttle bus from the train station 3 blocks away that dropped us on the south side of stadium. From there, it's a straight shot to the stadium, but no stroll through campus from there. So we walked around to the North end of the stadium (having to get our tix at the Will Call), just before the marching band and Scarlet Knight on horseback. Until then, it being Veterans' Day weekend and all, an Army Band was set up that was actually playing some nice grooves outside the stadium including a Sublime song - What I Got - IIRC? Not bad - certainly beat the hip-hop blasting over the PA inside the stadium during pregame warm-ups. National Anthem festivities were top-rate with an enormous flag on the field that practically lifted those holding it off the ground because of the wind. The solo singer sounded opera-tic and unimpaired by the cold. The anthem was accompanied by a flyover of two Blackhawk helicopters.

Weather conditions were clear and sunny, but progressively colder (upper 30's) as the sun set, and quite windy through most of the game, so the wind chills made it feel a good bit below freezing. Not the coldest game I've been to (that would be 2012 UM @ OSU), but at least it wasn't raining.

The crowd at the game featured a significant number of M fans, and so our seats were between two other groups of M-fans, and behind another group who'd come in for the game. The couple to our left seemed to feel it necessary to stand for the entire game, and wail at the top of their lungs during every RU snap. I figured they wouldn't be able to keep that up for the entire game, but somehow they managed to make it into the third quarter before an RU fan behind got fed up and began addressing them in a distinctly New Jersey vernacular. They relocated several rows down and thankfully out of earshot. At that, I took a long pull from my flask of brandy, and shouted "Go Blue!"

Another M fan to our front and right was the only person standing in the section at one point late in the game, and managed to invite a similar entreaty to lower his profile, to which he responded, "You can't order me to do anything." The RU fan responded, "OK. Will you sit the F--k down ... Please!"

The RU fans who were there were clearly a dedicated sort. To their credit, when I rang out my cowbell at various opportune times, the RU fans caught on quickly and endeavored to drown out the "Go Blue's" with their own "R-U's". It made for a nice bit of fan competition that made things fun during an otherwise less-competitive game.

I'll probably be back.