Monday, September 26, 2016


The birthplace of college football
History states that the first college football game ever played took place on November 6, 1869 in New Brunswick, NJ on the Campus of Rutgers University. There were no reports of tailgating, corn hole and fireball from the event. Rutgers defeated their opponent Princeton University on that day 6-4. It is purported that the game was played with 25 men per side and probably looked more like modern rugby than football as we now know it. Nonetheless, this was the genesis of the greatest spectator sport in North America and is known as the birthplace of college football. Saturday would be the first time the DFT crew made the pilgrimage to this sacred hallowed campus for a cfb game. The last time I was here was in 1985 for a rugby tournament. Legend has it that our host that allowed our entire team to bivouac at his crib was evicted shortly after our stay. The opponent on this early autumn day would be the Hawkeyes from Iowa who we last saw in January at the Rose Bowl.

Rutgers University is situated in and around New Brunswick, NJ consisting of five campuses. Currently, the undergrad student body is approximately 48,000 with an additional 19,000 grad students. Originally known as Queens College, it was founded in 1766 and is the eighth oldest university in the country. The spot where the original field was is now occupied by a gymnasium. The current Rutgers stadium called High Point Solutions Stadium was constructed in 1994 on the same spot as the previous stadium that had stood for sixty years. Current capacity is 52,000 with a complete lower bowl and upper decks on the East and West sides. Six years ago during a game against Army, tragedy hit Rutgers stadium when lineman Eric Legrand was paralyzed on a kickoff. He is honored with his number affixed to the press box that looks like a red military guard house. Rutgers is now in its third season in the Big Ten and is coached by Chris Ash in his first year after being an important assistant coach at Ohio State under Urban Meyer.

The Frank Scarpa tailgate
I would be joined this weekend by family members, college and childhood friends and their families. I scored 100 on the deadbeat dad scale as I found out I would be missing the opportunity to walk my 8th grade daughter onto the field for her cheer leading homecoming game. With a noon Eastern kickoff, it meant the pre gaming festivities would start extremely early for me as I had just flown in Friday night from the west coast.  My circadian clock can’t tell time so no biggy as my first Bloody Mary was poured at 9 AM. At tailgate # 1 we had an assortment of brunch chow: egg sandwiches, stuffed breakfast pretzels, sausage and peppers, old bay chicken wings, meal in a cup Bloody Mary’s and other treats. It was a great group for me representing many eras of my life with much laughter as stories were retold. At 11 AM we departed for Frank Hundley’s “Friends of Frank” Tailgate in the yellow lot that was just awarded best Tailgate at Rutgers University. In route we were treated to the Rutgers Marching Band parading down the main campus road to the stadium. Frank’s theme for the day was Oktoberfest with German food, music and attire. I must say, the bar was one of the most stocked I have ever seen at any tailgate. After visiting with Frank and his crew while sampling some liquid and non- liquid goodies we made our way into the facility shortly after kickoff.

BT's breakfast in a cup concoction
Captain Lou leading us to battle

Hair club for men photo shoot

New Jersey's first couple

Frank's first place Tailgate....
..and his first place bar
The sign sez it all about my Jersey friends
The first half was a defensive struggle with Iowa scoring once on a pass play and holding a 7-0 lead going into halftime. Both defenses were bringing the wood and playing sound fundamental football. We were visited in our seats by another college buddy and Piscataway townie Larry Sporer who filled in the blanks on some important Rutgers facts like where the best tailgate lot is. The opening drive of the second half saw an 80 yard Iowa run for a score called back because of a holding call. Rutgers would tie the game up in the fourth quarter only to relinquish the lead for good as the Hawkeyes put up 7 more points. The student section was raucous and engaged the whole game and the band belted out song after song providing for a great college game day environment. Final score Iowa 14, Rutgers 7. After the Rutgers Alma Mater was played, the Jersey icon Bruce Springsteen’s Badlands blared over the loud speakers as we departed the venue. Back at the original tailgate spot we fired up the grill again and handed out cold Natty Bo’s and enjoyed the remainder of a beautiful afternoon.

Donnelly's From the Tailgate
Tribute to Eric Legrand
Frostburg State's finest trio of something!

Around the country –on Friday night after arriving at Captain Lou’s house in Jersey we witnessed the once mighty Men of Troy go down to the Utes beneath the Wasatch Mountain range. The drama continues at SC as they start the season 1-3. Maybe Nick Saban will hire Clay Helton? Okay enough rubbing it in as my Irish also fall to 1-3 after losing to Duke for the first time in over 50 years. The only good news is they had the sense to fire DC Brian Vangorder and his witness protection plan goatee. Boise State beats their second PAC 12 foe of the season chewing up the Beavers in Corvallis to go 3-0. The Michigan Wolverine’s trounced the Paterno State University Nittany Lions 49 -10. The LSU Tigers lost a thriller in Jordan Hare and Les Miles lost his job as a result. No more tiger grass for you mad hatter but you will be missed. Ole Miss tames the Bulldawgs in Athens with a severe beating. Stanford stays perfect behind Christian McCaffrey’s heroics by downing UCLA and loud mouth Rosen. The Badgers dominated Sparty setting up next week’s matchup with undefeated Michigan in the Big House. The Tennessee Vols come from 18 down to beat their nemesis the Florida Gators by 10 in Rocky Top. Trevor Knight looked like the T Knight of 2014 Sugar Bowl fame by directing the Aggies to victory over the Hogs in Jerry World.
The Badlands

Bieber – It pains me to do this to such a good buddy but this week’s Bieber goes to my college roommate Chip Hayden. You see, ole Chipper was in NYC this weekend, a mere 30 minutes from Rutgers and his college buddies. After making promises/threats that he would join us for the tailgate/the game/ the post game tailgate/and beyond he failed to appear. There were many calls and texts from us to join our celebration, but he still did not post up. It was rumored that he was spotted taking his betrothed into the matinee of Catz in Manhattan. I hope he got good seats and truly enjoyed the show. Well Chipper, you didn’t get to the Rutgers game but you can remember the weekend with your new Bieber hardware that will be mailed to you this week.

Chip circa 1985
Next week we will be attending the Monte Vista High School game Friday night and the T-Birds Pop Warner game on Saturday.  I am petitioning the league to at least allow tailgating for the parents of the eighth grade teams. The following weekend we will be in Arkansas for the big matchup with Alabama. There will not be a write up next week.

Dad of the year candidate
Happy Tailgating!