Rutgers Puts A Special Bet on Special Teams
You say that there'd be nothing more exciting for Rutgers Scarlet Knights fans than if the team took the opening kickoff back for the touchdown in their opening weekend game against Norfolk State?
Well (Laurence Fishburne voice) what if I told you that the university was putting $100,000 on the line if the team makes it so?
The Scarlet Knights' football team, entering their second season in the Big Ten, made a cash crazy deal with the student body on Friday, announcing that if the team takes next Saturday's opening kickoff to the house, then the school will break the bank in the form of $100,000 to be distributed to select members of the student body.
Sponsored by Autoland, a car dealership in Springfield, NJ (which is just 16 miles from Rutgers' home in Piscataway), the school announced that 100 students sitting in the student section on opening day will be randomly selected to partake in the contest. Should the first kickoff return produce six points, the $100,000 pot will be distributed evenly to those students. That's $1,000 for each Scarlet Knight fan, which might as well be solid gold to a college student.
Fans have reason to be hopeful, as there is precedence from the Scarlet Knights for an occasion such as this.
In the team's 2013 opener, a late night classic against Fresno State, Janarion Grant, then a freshman, took his first collegiate kick return 100 yards for the score. Grant, now a junior, will be back to handle kick return duties for the Knights this season.
Unfortunately, that kickoff that went the distance is the last time Rutgers has tallied points from a kickoff return. Last season, Grant's 910 kick return yards were good for second in all-time school history, and his 25.3 return yard average ranked 4th in the Big Ten.
In their Big Ten debut last season, the Scarlet Knights finished 7-6 (3-5) with their season culminating in a Quick Lane Bowl victory over North Carolina. It was their fourth consecutive bowl season.
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