The fourth in a five-part series.
Ah, it’s finally Rutgers Eve. It’s like Christmas Eve, but instead of quivering in anticipation over which toys you were going to unwrap, we’ll all be waiting, hoping, wishing to see Mike Teel kill drives all by himself.
Now, I know there’s some Rutgers fans who may find all this unfair; where, exactly is UConn’s football history? And hey – in UConn’s biggest-ever football game, they lost by 45 points to West Virginia.
It was a terribly embarrassing loss for Husky Nation. But clearly, you will see, it was the result of taking "Schiano 101". Join me, won’t you, as we examine another time when West Virginia scored again.
Let’s set the wayback machine all the way back … to the year 2000!
The Date: Well, OK, 2001. Nov. 3, 2001, to be exact.
I’ve just always wanted to do that crazy high voice.
We return to 2001 for the second time in the "Great Moments" series, because what use is living on top of a goldmine if you don’t dig around once in a while?
The Setup: Rutgers was well on its way to a 2-9 record and one of the most all-around embarrassing seasons in Big East football history.
Earlier that season, it lost to No. 1 Miami, 61-0. Then it lost to No. 9 Virginia Tech, 50-0. On Oct. 13, 2001, the Scarlet Knights traveled to Temple and came home with a 30-5 thumping. Yeah, this season was that bad.
But surely, their Nov. 3 trip to Mountaineer Field couldn’t possibly be any worse than the previous three games, no?
West Virginia, for those who weren’t burning couches in Morgantown back then, was a pretty mediocre team after legendary coach Don Nehlen retired the previous season. Under new coach and future burned effigy Rich Rodriguez, WVU was just 2-5, 0-3 in conference prior to the Rutgers game.
Spoiler alert: WVU won this game, and I’ll tell you that they finished 3-8, 1-6 in the Big East.
The game started innocently enough, with a West Virginia punt. But the Mountaineers quickly jumped on top with a couple of Avon Cobourne touchdown runs.
Rutgers kept going 3-and-out (or turning the ball over), and West Virginia would promptly march down the field. It was 28-0 after one quarter.
Ryan Cubit, the previous next big thing at quarterback in Piscataway, was intercepted three times, including a 50-yard WVU touchdown return late in the first half.
There are whippings, and then there are Whippings. Even I would have felt sorry for Rutgers at this point. But, like so many games of Madden on "Pro" level, there would be no letting up.
In the second half, the game entered an even more absurd realm. Cobourne added his fourth touchdown run, and someone with the last name of Rego ran for 51 yards. It was 73-0 after three quarters.
Remember, these are two Division I-A teams with 85 scholarships each. Both of these teams had two wins each.
Rutgers finally scored in the fourth quarter, cutting the deficit to 73-7. It is unknown whether this touchdown was the result of the Rutgers players finally getting together and executing against the WVU backups, or whether it was all just a cruel practical joke played by some unseen higher power.
Nagging theoretical questions of free will aside, West Virginia kept on keeping on. Apparently, they thought they were 72.5-point favorites and needed to cover.
When West Virginia put a cap on the scoring with another long TD run, the final score was 80-7. The ‘Eers outgained RU, 627-177. Rutgers committed eight turnovers.
They say that numbers don’t always tell the story. But that’s just a flat-out lie. If UConn ever loses a conference game by 73 points, I won’t even say a word. I couldn't. This is just about as embarrassing as it gets in big-time college football.
Luckily for us all, it’s not the greatest moment in Rutgers football history. That would come sometime later. But the 80-7 loss, the New Hampshire loss? Without them, that No. 1 moment (to be announced later!) would not have been so awesome.
This has been a great moment in Rutgers football history.