Home crowd helps Rutgers to a win
The fifth largest home crowd in school history played a big part in Rutgers' come-from-behind victory over Arkansas on Saturday. A crowd of 51,969 fans piled into High Point Solutions Stadium and helped Rutgers overcome a 24-7 third quarter deficit.
The Scarlet Knights struck back with 21 unanswered points to cap off a 28-24 thriller in Piscataway.
"I can talk about our crowd today for probably an hour in terms of the energy that they brought to the game, getting in there at an earlier time I think than we usually do; staying even when the game seemed very hard at times, and as disruptive a crowd as we've had here probably since the 2006 Louisville game," head coach Kyle Flood said after the game.
Following a third quarter 58-yard punt return touchdown by Janarion Grant, the RU defense went to work with the help of the home crowd.
"It was deafening loud when they were on offense in that fourth quarter, and I can't thank them enough for that," Flood said. "That is what a home-field advantage should be. It's what a home-field advantage can do for a football team and it's one of the factors in the win today, there's no doubt about it."
The crowd roared once again as Arkansas was facing a 3rd and 8 on its own 38-yard line midway through the fourth quarter.
"I had a lot of confidence we were going to get off the field on that 3rd down," said junior linebacker Kevin Snyder, who led Rutgers with 10 tackles. "I think it had a lot to do with the energy we had still, the energy our fans gave us and the energy we had coming off the sideline."
Senior cornerback Lew Toler is in the midst of his first season as a Scarlet Knight and walked away impressed with the showing put on by the home fans.
"It was a great atmosphere. I feel like the crowd kept us in the game," Toler said. "We had a lot of momentum and they kept us up and going and believing."
With a future in the Big Ten on the horizon after this season, Flood mentioned that Saturday's environment is a snapshot of what's to come.
"I think that snapshot is a football team that can compete with anybody in the country; a fan base that is in love with college football and when they come to the stadium will be as oppposing a 12th man as there is in college football."