Fresno State returns 15 starters and 50 lettermen from last year’s 9-4 team that ended the season with a 40-28 victory over Georgia Tech in the Humanitarian Bowl.
ESPN will broadcast the game in HD to a national audience. Dave Pasch (play-by-play), Andre Ware (analyst) and Rob Stone sidelines) will have the call.
Starting the Season vs. Ranked Foe
Rutgers will play its first game of a season vs. a ranked opponent at home for just the second time in school history vs. Fresno State. The last time Rutgers played a ranked opponent at home to start a season was 1977 when No. 13 Penn State defeated the Scarlet Knights, 45-7, in Piscataway.
All-time, Rutgers is 1-3-1 in season-opening games vs. ranked teams. The last time RU opened a new year vs. a ranked foe was 1988 when the Scarlet Knights defeated No. 15/14 Michigan State 17-13 in East Lansing.
Season Openers vs. Ranked Opponents
9/10/88 Rutgers 17, #15/14 Mich. St. 13 (at MSU)
9/14/85 Rutgers 28, #3 Florida 28 (at Florida)
9/8/84 #11/7 Penn St. 15, Rutgers 12 (at PSU)
9/9/78 #3 Penn St. 26, Rutgers 10 (at PSU)
9/2/77 #13 Penn St. 45, Rutgers 7 (at RU)
Rutgers Stadium Sold Out for 2008
For the second consecutive season, Rutgers is sold out for its entire home schedule. With the seven home games sold out for 2008, it moves Rutgers’ consecutive sell-out streak at Rutgers Stadium to 17 games, the longest streak in the BIG EAST.
The most fans in school history - 349,306 - entered the gates at Rutgers Stadium in 2007. Rutgers averaged a school-record 43,663 fans per game in 2007.
For the 37th consecutive game, Rutgers will appear on television this week vs. Fresno State. The Scarlet Knights have appeared on television in 48 of their last 49 games, including 27 straight games on some form of national television (including ESPN GamePlan PPV appearances).
The Birthplace of College Football
Rutgers begins its 139th year of college football and the eighth under head coach Greg Schiano vs. Fresno State. The Scarlet Knights hosted the first game in college football history on Nov. 6, 1869 with a 6-4 victory over Princeton at College Field.
Rutgers is 70-59-9 all-time in season openers, including a 5-2 mark under Schiano. The Scarlet Knights have won six of their last eight season openers.
Rutgers owns a 95-34-10 overall record in home openers. The Scarlet Knights have won their last five home openers, including last season’s 38-3 win vs. Buffalo.
Rutgers Stadium Expansion
The Board of Governors of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, approved a plan in January of 2008 to expand Rutgers Stadium.
The $102 million project, which will increase the stadium’s seating capacity to 56,000, will be funded entirely by the revenue generated from ticket sales for the 14,000 new seats and from private donations. Rutgers students will continue to have access to football tickets free of charge.
The first phase of the project - a new mezzanine level with club seats and loge boxes - will be open for the first game of the season vs. Fresno State.
Three Straight Bowls for Rutgers
For the first time in school history, the Scarlet Knights played in a bowl for the third consecutive season with their appearance in the 2008 International Bowl.
Rutgers won its second straight bowl - another first in school history - with a 52-30 victory over Ball State in the International Bowl.
Rutgers in the NCAA Record Books
The 2007 Scarlet Knights were the first team in NCAA history to have a 3,000-yard passer, 2,000-yard rusher and a pair of 1,000-yard receivers in the same season.
Mike Teel (3,147 passer)
Ray Rice (2,012 rusher)
Kenny Britt (1,232 receiver)
Tiquan Underwood (1,100 receiver)
Only two other teams in NCAA history have had a 3,000-yard passer, 2,000-yard rusher and one 1,000-yard receiver.
Starting a Bowl Tradition
Before Greg Schiano’s arrival at Rutgers, the Scarlet Knights played in one bowl game in 131 seasons of football. In seven seasons at the helm of the program, Schiano has guided Rutgers to three straight bowl games.
The Scarlet Knights are one of 34 teams to play in three consecutive bowls. Among BCS members, Rutgers is one of 25 schools to play in three straight bowl games and just one of three BIG EAST programs to play in three consecutive bowls (Rutgers, West Virginia, USF). All-time, Rutgers is 2-2 in postseason play.
Television: ESPN (National) Dave Pasch - Play-by-Play, Andre Ware - Analyst, Rob Stone - Sidelines
Radio: The Rutgers Radio Network can be heard on WOR (AM-710), WCTC(AM-1450) and WENJ (AM-1450) with Chris Carlin (Play-by-Play), former Rutgers TE Tim Pernetti (Color Analyst) and Anthony Fuccilli (Sideline Reporter) on the call. The game can also be heard on the Internet at www.scarletknights.com, the official athletics website of Rutgers University.
Reported by Rutgers Athletics Communications