NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - It's 3 am on Game Day.
Tailgaters with "Olde Queens Island" (OQI) are already set up in the Scarlet Lot of Highpoint Solutions Stadium, with the kick-off against the Michigan Wolverines only 16 hours away.
There are high hopes among the hard-core fans that lightening can strike twice. The last time Michigan played at Rutgers was two years ago. The Scarlet Knights won that one, as TapInto and all the other fans stormed the field.
Michigan is now No. 4 in the nation. Rutgers, well, hasn't yet cracked the Top 20. But it won't keep down the RU faithful.
"Can't wait to get there," exclaimed official RU football fan Scott White. "Let’s shock the world! It is going to be an amazing atmosphere."
Ken Miller, who organizes OQI, began tailgating after graduating in 2007. Two of the four founders of the island now live in Colorado, but can still be counted on for two or three games a year.
"Rutgers is our lifeblood," Miller said. "I grew up near campus, both of my parents went here, my father is a geology professor here, and a significant number of my siblings and extended family went to this school. I even went to pre-school at the Douglass Child Study Center and spent lots of time throughout my childhood going on field trips with my father's classes."
Miller says the middle-of-the-night tailgating is done for one simple reason: The island loves to be on campus. "We love the atmosphere. We love the camaraderie. We love the memories. Simply, we just love Rutgers," he said.
One of the individuals that are among the "Founding Four" of OQI is Marc Kollar, a former academic dean of the university's School of Pharmacy. He is actively involved with the RAA, RUAA, as all Cook campus alumni programs. For him, it is just continuing to be involved with the school.
For today's tailgate, the island is partnering with the "Road to Wall Street" program, helping connect student participants in the program with alumni in the financial district. The island is expected to attract an estimated 100 students and alumni for networking, education and maybe a burger.
"I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for key alumni like Scott White, who have taken the time to mentor and coach me as I searched for opportunities as a student," Miller said. "The goal of the program, and one of my key motivations, is to provide the same opportunity to current students."
So, TapInto New Brunswick wants to know: What is it like on the island at 3 a.m.?
"What it's like? Well, it's quiet. It's relaxing. It's nostalgic," Miller said. "It brings out memories of being a student, yet it creates an opportunity to continue to create new memories and friendships. We have met many great people of both RU and rival fan bases at our tailgate and been able to forge awesome longstanding friendships because of OQI.
Tickets for the game can still be found, beginning around $100, on Stubhub.
PS. Yes, that is a stuffed Wolverine getting chopped in the photo.