Greg Schiano was back in a big way and Rutgers fans watching the game at bars and restaurants up and down George Street ate it up.
The coach made a triumphant return to the Rutgers sidelines after leaving the program nine years ago, helping the Scarlet Knights knock off Michigan State on Saturday, 38-27.
The Scarlet Knights – who never trailed and limited the Spartans to just one trip inside the red zone – scored 21 points off seven takeaways.
Rutgers fans participating in New Brunswick City Center’s Kickoff Weekend cheered wildly with each Rutgers touchdown.
Three trucks with giant TV screens, courtesy of sponsor Miller Lite, were parked along George Street so that Rutgers fans had a safe, socially distant place to gather and watch their favorite team.
What they saw was a vintage defensive performance reminiscent of many Rutgers teams during Schiano’s first stint at coach.
The Scarlet Knights managed seven takeaways (six on defense and one on special teams). That was the most takeaways in a conference game since Rutgers joined the Big Ten in 2014.
The Scarlet Knights generated 12 tackles-for-loss – which included two sacks from defensive end Mohamed Toure – and picked off Rocky Lombardi twice with interceptions from cornerback Tre Avery and safety Brendon White.
Noah Vedral made his first start at quarterback for Rutgers and finished 18-of-29 with 169 yards and a 14-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Shameen Jones.
Vedral scored one of four rushing touchdowns for the Scarlet Knights, as running back Isaih Pacheco (two touchdowns) and quarterback Johnny Langan (one rushing score) also found paydirt to help Rutgers secure its fourth win all time against MSU.
The 11-point win tied for the largest margin of victory on the road in Big Ten action since Rutgers defeated Illinois, 35-24, on Oct. 14, 2017 in Champaign.
It's no wonder the Rutgers players couldn't hear the cheers on George Street some 700 miles away.
George Street, which has been closed off to traffic Thursdays through Sundays to allow for outdoor dining since June, was adorned with Rutgers flags.