I attended the University of Cincinnati from 2006-2011. Over that 5 year span, the Cincinnati Bearcats football team beat Rutgers Scarlet Knights in all 5 meetings, with each one carrying a varying degree of significance and entertainment.
2006 – STORM THE FIELD
7th ranked, unbeaten Rutgers lost to Cincinnati 30-11.
Rutgers entered the game ranked #7 in the polls and 9-0 overall. For the first time in school history, they had Big East title and even BCS bowl game aspirations.
The win helped Cincinnati improve to 6-5, to reach bowl eligible for the second time in three years under coach Mark Dantonio. I’ll never forget the amazing experience of rushing the field (and losing my shoe). This was the beginning of the rise of Cincinnati football. After this season, Brian Kelly would take over as coach and Big East championships, 10 win seasons and BCS bowl games would follow.
Two memorable plays stand out for Cincinnati
- CB Deangelo Smith returned an interception 84 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter
- TE Brent Celek rumbled for an 83 yard touchdown in the third quarter
2007 – Mauk Chop
#20 Cincy wins @ #21 Rutgers
It should seem obvious, but this was the first time ever these teams faced off with both ranked in the top 25. Rutgers was actually ranked 10th a week prior, but fell due to a loss to Maryland.
Rutgers QB Mike Teel was picked off 3 times, including once by LB Ryan Manalac in the final minute of the game to seal the win.
My only memories of this game was that I didn’t come across a single polite person in all of Piscataway, NJ.
Cincinnati QB Ben Mauk made a gesture towards the Rutgers sideline mocking their famous “keep chopping wood” gimmick, doing his own “Mauk chop”.
2008 – PUNT!
Cincinnati won a snooze fest 13-10. Chazz Anderson started at QB for UC, in place of an injured Tony Pike. There were a total of 19 punts (10 for Rutgers, 9 for Cincinnati).
The win put Cincinnati at 5-1, while Rutgers was 1-5. The Bearcats would go on to win the Big East for the first time and play in the Orange Bowl.
This was a rough game – it was Homecoming, it was beautiful weather and I have zero feelings or real memories about this game.
2009 – Labor Day Beatdown
Cincinnati opened the 2009 season with a beatdown in New Jersey. After being tied 7-7 after the first quarter, Cincinnati led 31-7 at halftime and won the game 47-15.
Bearcats finished the regular season 12-0, winning back-to-back Big East titles.
This game is a top 5 sports moment in my life. The result wasn’t surprising but the way it all happened was quite unexpected. Week 1 on Labor Day, high expectations for both programs. Rutgers rolled out a renovated stadium which was loud and sold out. Students were as loud and obnoxious as ever. Fans were mean and nasty. But, it was great!
My favorite memory was a fan coming up to me in the stands, unprovoked, using inappropriate language towards Brian Kelly, to which, I simply shrugged and said “scoreboard”.
2010 – Bet the Over
Cincinnati won 69-38.
This was the first year of the Butch Jones tenure and the Bearcats entered the game 3-6. There really is no significance – this was just a wild, crazy game.The way this team played all year, this score was so unexpected but it was a fun and pleasant offensive outburst in what would be my last time seeing this rivalry first hand at Nippert Stadium, and ultimately the last time the Bearcats would win at home against Rutgers.
RB Isaiah Pead ran for 213 yards and 4 TDs and also caught a TD.