Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh on the sideline in the first quarter against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Michigan Stadium. (Rick Osentoski)
Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh on the sideline in the first quarter against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Michigan Stadium. (Rick Osentoski)

Mike Vorkunov, SNY.TV
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PARAMUS, N.J. -- As the sun set on his nearly four-hour long football camp, Jim Harbaugh was still doing the same awkward dance he had been engaged in all day since he got to Paramus Catholic. At midfield he was once again asked to take a picture with a camper, this one younger and smaller than most. And again Harbaugh had to go through his usual lawyerly line of questioning.

"How old are you?"

"13?"

"You're going to be a freshman in high school?"

"Then I can't take a picture with you."

He had been saying this for almost 15 minutes now, repeating the same line almost verbatim. The camp had ended and everyone wanted a photo with the man at the middle of it -- the one who somehow turned some measly clinics into the latest match to set aflame the clumsily-governed tinder box that is college football.

The NCAA doesn't allow photos, he repeated to camper after camper who came over. Instead, he set his own policy: pats on the backs and handshakes. There was one exception, to one nearly incredulous mom.

"We're allowed to hug," Harbaugh said.

If anything encapsulated this day, it was this. Harbaugh, Michigan's mad scientist in residence, the coach who caused the NCAA even more angst by turning the Wolverines brand into a traveling road show, was carefully gauging his every step and movement as he tried to press the flesh of the governing body's arcane rules without breaking them.

The camp at Paramus Catholic promised to the biggest and most high-profile of all the camps Harbaugh has held. He's developed especially-close ties to Paramus, nabbing the top-ranked player in the country, Rashan Gary, from there in January. And Thursday he's going to be the commencement speaker at graduation.

Harbaugh's satellite camps have gobbled up the oxygen during college football's dead period. They've led to Twitter storms, press conference feuds with Nick Saban, and escalated rivalries. But over the course of an evening in Paramus, watching as the Michigan coach and dozens of other college coaches ran one banal drill after another, it was a reminder that all the fuss was about what, again?

"We're doing this because we really enjoy it," Harbaugh said. "And you can believe that or not, I don't care anymore. I'm having more fun than I've had in six months. I'm like a pig in slop out here. That's why I personally am doing it. I don't know about anybody else."

Whether you believe Harbaugh's explanation or not depends on your level of cynicism. College football coaches have hardly earned the benefit of the doubt. If anything, their actions have conditioned us to assume their every move is a means to some end. Could these camps really just be about Harbaugh and his staff getting an opportunity to get back to plain old grassroots coaching, as he and his brother, John, insist? Sure. But there are the residual benefits too, other than the headaches it causes for compliance departments.

"Everybody keeps saying the obvious thing is this is all about recruiting and I disagree," Harbaugh said. "I've disagreed with that premise from its first inception. It's not about recruiting. If it really helped recruiting that much then people would have been doing this because it's been around for 10, 20, 30 years. We're just enjoying the heck out of coaching."

Getting ornery, he adds: "We could easily recruit them from Ann Arbor. This is about doing what's good for football and what's good for youngsters. Now I've said it a million times and believe or don't believe it, I don't really care anymore, I don't know what else to say about it."

Paramus Catholic has benefited from this relationship, too. If they're not a feeder school for Michigan, it looks like something approximating it. Chris Partridge, the coach who turned the school into a nationally significant program, is now on Michigan's staff. In September, they'll play a game at Michigan Stadium.

The symbiotic relationship has brought scrutiny and headlines. When a camp in New Jersey was announced without the presence of Rutgers -- the local state school -- Rutgers responded by organizing one 37 miles away. With Ohio State coaches in tow. New Jersey's high school coaches rallied around Rutgers, according to an NJ Advanced Media report.

Though no one at the camp claimed it to be divisive, it hardly seemed to match reality. The only Rutgers paraphernalia seen at Paramus Catholic was worn by one Scarlet Knights player who came to the camp to support his brother. Artur Sitkowski, a top-ranked quarterback recruit from the 2018 class recruited by Michigan and Ohio State, said he chose the Paramus Catholic camp over the other because it was just easier to get to.

Wednesday, James Vail, the high school's principal, again asserted that Rutgers had received an invitation to the camp in good faith. He said it while wearing a makeshift, homemade Rutgers basketball hat -- because he couldn't find an actual one in stores, he said. Vail said the hat was in support of Steve Pikiell, the new Rutgers basketball coach and former high school student.

"This is not a camp, an event to promote any particular college," Vail said in his opening remarks to the camp in a packed gymnasium. "The grounds of Paramus Catholic are not a proxy war for anyone else's agenda."

Deciding on the actual aggrieved party in the dispute is not easy, but it has allowed both sides to play the victim.

"I can't speak for Mr. Harbaugh but I think he's the type of guy that knows to excel and to succeed it means at time you're going to be attacked," Vail said. "Mediocrity never gets attacked."

Perhaps, more than any other reason, these satellite camps have elicited so much attention because there is nothing else to talk about. The NFL has become a year-round sport by turning the inane into media events. College football is slowly headed that way too.

So on a cool day in Northern New Jersey in the middle of June, Harbaugh is able to steal some attention. Does it help recruiting? He says no. So does Sitkowski, even as he speaks in awe about the chance to work with the coach for an afternoon.

And no one seemed more excited than Harbaugh himself. As he stood inside the gymnasium, introduced to a whole camp who already knew his name, he screamed and panted into the microphone. He compared himself to a boxer about to fight, to a horse about to run the Kentucky Derby, and to his excitement level just before he coached in the Super Bowl. It didn't seem crazy that maybe he even meant it as he threw himself into the moment.

Then, with his final words to the assembled high school campers and their parents, he sent everyone onto the field and waded into the masses, patting backs and refusing to stop his momentum. Rich Fisherman, a Michigan fan, found him on the floor and asked to take a picture. Harbaugh told him just to take it, unwilling to look into the camera and break any NCAA code, and kept on moving.

"The compliance people said I can't look at you," Fisherman said Harbaugh told him.

Afterward, as Fisherman looked into his phone, he saw a blurry photo of the coach, looking the other way -- a selfie gone awry. He reveled in his glory. He would send this to his son.

"The guy's a rock star."

Video: Rutgers hosts Tri-State showcase

Tags: University of Michigan

Feb 20, 2018; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes forward Keita Bates-Diop (33) is fouled by Rutgers Scarlet Knights forward Candido Sa (1) during the first half at Value City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports (Joseph Maiorana)
Feb 20, 2018; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes forward Keita Bates-Diop (33) is fouled by Rutgers Scarlet Knights forward Candido Sa (1) during the first half at Value City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports (Joseph Maiorana)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) C.J. Jackson scored 18 points to help No. 16 Ohio State rout Rutgers 79-52 on Tuesday night.

 

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Feb 17, 2018; College Park, MD, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights forward Eugene Omoruyi (11) looks to pass as Maryland Terrapins forward Bruno Fernando (23) defends during the second half at XFINITY Center. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)
Feb 17, 2018; College Park, MD, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights forward Eugene Omoruyi (11) looks to pass as Maryland Terrapins forward Bruno Fernando (23) defends during the second half at XFINITY Center. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) Bruno Fernando had 18 points and a career-high 16 rebounds, and Maryland kept Rutgers winless on the road with a 61-51 victory Saturday night.

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Feb 13, 2018; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Geo Baker (0) battles Northwestern Wildcats forward Vic Law (4) for the ball during second half at Louis Brown Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Feb 13, 2018; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Geo Baker (0) battles Northwestern Wildcats forward Vic Law (4) for the ball during second half at Louis Brown Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Rutgers scored 32 points in the second half to force overtime, then went on an 11-2 run in overtime to beat Northwestern on Tuesday night at the Louis Brown Athletic Center. >> Box score

 

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Jan 17, 2018; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Corey Sanders (3) dunks against Iowa Hawkeyes forward Luka Garza (55) during second half at Louis Brown Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Jan 17, 2018; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Corey Sanders (3) dunks against Iowa Hawkeyes forward Luka Garza (55) during second half at Louis Brown Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) Isaiah Roby had 10 points, 11 rebounds and two blocked shots and Nebraska opened up 16-point leads in both halves and didn't let Rutgers get closer than 10 points in the last 14 minutes to take a 67-55 win Saturday.

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Rutgers Scarlet Knights center Shaquille Doorson grabs a rebound against Indiana Hoosiers forward Juwan Morgan during first half at Louis Brown Athletic Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)
Rutgers Scarlet Knights center Shaquille Doorson grabs a rebound against Indiana Hoosiers forward Juwan Morgan during first half at Louis Brown Athletic Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)

Juwan Morgan had 24 points and eight rebounds and Robert Johnson scored 19 points to lead Indiana past Rutgers 65-43 on Monday night.

Indiana (13-12, 6-7 Big Ten) opened a 42-22 lead with 12 1/2 minutes remaining after Josh Newkirk found Collin Hartman for a 3-pointer, causing Rutgers to call a timeout. Indiana would lead by as many 24.

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Former Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano will take the vacant defensive coordinator position with the Patriots next season, per NJ.com's Ryan Dunleavy.

The Patriots wasted no time in filling the position after their loss in Super Bowl LII on Sunday, and with the Lions officially announcing Matt Patricia as their new head coach, they were allowed to make the announcement on Schiano.

Schiano, who served as head coach for Rutgers for 11 seasons from 2001-11, has spent the past two seasons as Ohio State's defensive coordinator under Urban Meyer. He was looking to find his way back to the NFL (two seasons as Bucs head coach from 2012-13), and with Belichick a close friend, it appears their connection as turned them into colleagues.

Tags: Rutgers University
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GEICO SportsNite: Rutgers 00:00:25
Rutgers basketball coach Steve Pikiell on his team coming up short in their bid to upset Purdue.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) Vincent Edward had 18 points, seven rebounds and eight assists, and No. 3 Purdue held on to beat Rutgers 78-76 on Saturday for a school-record 19th straight win.

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Jan 17, 2018; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Corey Sanders (3) dunks against Iowa Hawkeyes forward Luka Garza (55) during second half at Louis Brown Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Jan 17, 2018; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Corey Sanders (3) dunks against Iowa Hawkeyes forward Luka Garza (55) during second half at Louis Brown Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Purdue takes its school-record and nation-best 18-game win streak to Rutgers on Saturday, a school the No. 3 Boilermakers have enjoyed recent success against.

The Boilermakers haven't lost since Nov. 23, when they dropped a 77-73 decision to Western Kentucky. Purdue has scored at least 70 points in 16 straight games.

Purdue (22-2, 11-0 Big Ten) leads the series with Rutgers (12-12, 2-9) 9-1, having won seven games in a row. Purdue is 5-0 against the Scarlet Knights as members of the Big Ten Conference and has won all five games by at least seven points, including three straight by an average of 33.3 points.

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Jan 30, 2018; Champaign, IL, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Corey Sanders (3) shoots defended by Illinois Fighting Illini guard Mark Alstork (24) and forward Michael Finke (43) during the second half at State Farm Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports (Mike Granse)
Jan 30, 2018; Champaign, IL, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Corey Sanders (3) shoots defended by Illinois Fighting Illini guard Mark Alstork (24) and forward Michael Finke (43) during the second half at State Farm Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports (Mike Granse)

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) Kipper Nichols scored 19 points and Trent Frazier had 17 points to lift Illinois to a 91-60 victory over Rutgers on Tuesday night.

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Jan 27, 2018; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions guard Tony Carr (10) drives to the basket against the defense of Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Geo Baker (0) during the second half at the Bryce Jordan Center. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports (Rich Barnes)
Jan 27, 2018; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions guard Tony Carr (10) drives to the basket against the defense of Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Geo Baker (0) during the second half at the Bryce Jordan Center. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports (Rich Barnes)

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) Patrick Chambers was admittedly skeptical his team would be able to maintain the pace it used to pull off a buzzer-beating win at Ohio State just two days before.

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Jan 24, 2018; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers guard Anton Gill (13) drives to the basket against Rutgers Scarlet Knights forward Deshawn Freeman (33) during first half at Louis Brown Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Jan 24, 2018; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers guard Anton Gill (13) drives to the basket against Rutgers Scarlet Knights forward Deshawn Freeman (33) during first half at Louis Brown Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) Isaac Copeland scored 23 points and came up with a clutch rebound in the final minute to lead Nebraska to 60-54 victory over Rutgers on Wednesday night.

James Palmer Jr. added 18 points and Glynn Watson Jr. made two clutch layups in the final 2:30 as the Cornhuskers (15-8, 6-4 Big Ten) won their second road game of the season.

Corey Sanders had 14 points to lead Rutgers (12-10, 2-7) but he also was called for an offensive foul on a drive with the Scarlet Knights down by four with 14 seconds to play. >> Read more

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Jan 21, 2018; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Corey Sanders (3) shoots on Michigan Wolverines guard Jaaron Simmons (5) in the second half at Crisler Center. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports (Rick Osentoski)
Jan 21, 2018; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Corey Sanders (3) shoots on Michigan Wolverines guard Jaaron Simmons (5) in the second half at Crisler Center. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports (Rick Osentoski)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) Moe Wagner scored 16 points and Duncan Robinson added 12 to lift No. 23 Michigan to a 62-47 victory over Rutgers on Sunday.

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Jan 17, 2018; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Corey Sanders (3) dunks against Iowa Hawkeyes forward Luka Garza (55) during second half at Louis Brown Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Jan 17, 2018; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Corey Sanders (3) dunks against Iowa Hawkeyes forward Luka Garza (55) during second half at Louis Brown Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) Corey Sanders had 18 points and eight assists and two steals and Geo Baker had 17 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals, to lead Rutgers past Iowa 80-64 on Wednesday night.

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GEICO SportsNite: Rutgers 00:00:30
Rutgers head coach Steve Pikiell discusses his team's woes on the offensive end as Ohio State coasted to a 22-point win in Piscataway.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Corey Sanders controls the ball as Ohio State Buckeyes forward Kaleb Wesson defends during first half at Louis Brown Athletic Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)
Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Corey Sanders controls the ball as Ohio State Buckeyes forward Kaleb Wesson defends during first half at Louis Brown Athletic Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)

Keita Bates-Diop scored 20 points, grabbed nine rebounds and Ohio State beat Rutgers 68-46 to remain undefeated in Big Ten play this season and tied atop the conference standings.

Ohio State (15-4, 6-0) built up a 30-point lead after Kam Williams converted on a 4-point play with 13:47 remaining to make it 48-18.

Kaleb Wesson had 10 points and nine rebounds and Williams finished with 11 points for Ohio State

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Jan 10, 2018; East Lansing, MI, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Corey Sanders (3) brings the ball up court during the first half of a game against the Michigan State Spartans at Jack Breslin Student Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports (Mike Carter)
Jan 10, 2018; East Lansing, MI, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Corey Sanders (3) brings the ball up court during the first half of a game against the Michigan State Spartans at Jack Breslin Student Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports (Mike Carter)

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) Miles Bridges ended his scoreless start with 7:43 left in regulation and finished with just 11 points to barely help No. 4 Michigan State bounce back from a loss with a 76-72 overtime victory over Rutgers on Wednesday night.

The Spartans (16-2, 4-1 Big Ten) were coming off a lopsided loss at Ohio State and the setback seemed to have lingering effects for the team and their sophomore star. >> Read more.

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Jan 5, 2018; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights head coach Steve Pikiell reacts during first half play against Wisconsin Badgers at Louis Brown Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Jan 5, 2018; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights head coach Steve Pikiell reacts during first half play against Wisconsin Badgers at Louis Brown Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Rutgers and men's basketball coach Steve Pikiell have agreed to a three-year contract extension, university athletic director Patrick Hobbs announced Wednesday.

Pikiell will be guaranteed $15.05 million over the next five seasons, plus performance bonuses, which runs through 2023-2024.

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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) Corey Sanders scored 23 points on 10-of-19 shooting to give Rutgers a much-needed win over Wisconsin, 64-60, Friday night.

Sanders scored with 1:47 left then added a 3-pointer with under a minute to go for a 58-53 lead.

Brad Davison hit Wisconsin's first 3-pointer of the game to tie it at 53 and cap a 7-0 run. >> Read more

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Jan 3, 2018; West Lafayette, IN, USA; Purdue Boilermakers guard Carsen Edwards (3) battles for a loose ball with Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Geo Baker (0) and forward Deshawn Freeman (33) in the first half at Mackey Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports (Sandra Dukes)
Jan 3, 2018; West Lafayette, IN, USA; Purdue Boilermakers guard Carsen Edwards (3) battles for a loose ball with Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Geo Baker (0) and forward Deshawn Freeman (33) in the first half at Mackey Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports (Sandra Dukes)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) Isaac Haas scored 14 points and Dakota Mathias finished with 13 on Wednesday night to help No. 13 Purdue pull away from Rutgers 82-51.

The Boilermakers (14-2, 3-0 Big Ten) have won 10 straight overall and 17 consecutive home games.

Geo Baker had 11 points to lead the Scarlet Knights (10-6, 0-3), who have lost three straight. Mike Williams added 10. >> Read more

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Feb 11, 2017; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Corey Sanders (3) handles the ball against Minnesota Golden Gophers during first half at Louis Brown Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Feb 11, 2017; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Corey Sanders (3) handles the ball against Minnesota Golden Gophers during first half at Louis Brown Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) John Carroll scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds and Hassan Attia scored 11 points to go with another nine rebounds as Hartford pulled off its first win at Rutgers, nipping the Scarlet Knights 60-58 on Thursday night.

Rutgers needed a late 20-5 run to recover from a 13-point deficit late and hold off Hartford last season.

J.R. Lynch and Jason Dunne each had 14 points and combined to hit six 3s for the Hawks.

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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

 

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) Jakub Petras hit a jumper from the right elbow with .02 seconds left in overtime to give Stony Brook the upset over Rutgers 75-73 on Friday night.

The Seawolves (5-8) were led by Akwasi Yeboah's 21 points and Jaron Cornish had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights (10-3) play host to the Stony Brook Seawolves (4-8) on Friday night at the RAC at 7 p.m. 

The Scarlet Knights will be relying on guards Corey Sanders and Geo Baker tonight. Sanders had a team-high 22 points in the team's win against Seton Hall, while Baker notched 17 points. These two guards can get things rolling for Rutgers, and if they do, it will be hard for Stony Brook to match their athleticism throughout the contest. 

It will also be a big game for Rutgers' head coach Steve Pikiell, who was the coach of Stony Brook since 2005 before taking his current job last season. Looking specifically at this matchup, the Seawolves force many turnovers with each of their starting five averaging at least a steal per game. He thinks his team is ready to limit their errors. 

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Nov 28, 2017; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights head coach Steve Pikiell talks with his players during a second half time out against the Florida State Seminoles at Louis Brown Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Nov 28, 2017; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights head coach Steve Pikiell talks with his players during a second half time out against the Florida State Seminoles at Louis Brown Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Corey Sanders scored eight of his season-high 22 points in a game-ending 17-2 run Saturday, leading Rutgers to its biggest victory since Steve Pikiell became coach last year - a 71-65 win over No. 15 Seton Hall.

Freshman Geo Baker added 17 and Deshawn Freeman added 12 and 16 rebounds as the Scarlet Knights (10-3) beat a ranked team for the first time since defeating No. 4 Wisconsin in January 2015.

Myles Powell had 18 points to lead the Pirates (9-2), who had a five-game winning streak snapped in losing to Rutgers for the first time in five games.

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Fans stand for the national anthem before the start of Rutgers Scarlet Knights and Northwestern Wildcats men's basketball game at Louis Brown Athletic Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)
Fans stand for the national anthem before the start of Rutgers Scarlet Knights and Northwestern Wildcats men's basketball game at Louis Brown Athletic Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- New Jersey's most intense rivalry is renewed when No. 15 Seton Hall visits Rutgers on Saturday in the "Garden State Hardwood Classic."

A sell-out crowd of 8,000 is expected at the Rutgers Athletic Center in the 69th meeting between the schools. The series started in 1916 with Seton Hall holding a 39-29 edge.

The Pirates (9-1) have won four straight over Rutgers (9-3) by an average margin of 18.8 points. But, going further back, 18 of the last 22 meetings have been decided by six points or less, or in overtime.

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Dec 12, 2017; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Issa Thiam (35) drives to the basket against Fordham Rams forward David Pekarek (33) and Fordham Rams guard Joseph Chartouny (12) during second half at Louis Brown Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Dec 12, 2017; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Issa Thiam (35) drives to the basket against Fordham Rams forward David Pekarek (33) and Fordham Rams guard Joseph Chartouny (12) during second half at Louis Brown Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) Deshawn Freeman had 14 points and 10 rebounds, Corey Sanders added 12 points and Rutgers beat Fordham 75-63 on Tuesday night.

Tags: Rutgers University
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Fans stand for the national anthem before the start of Rutgers Scarlet Knights and Northwestern Wildcats men's basketball game at Louis Brown Athletic Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)
Fans stand for the national anthem before the start of Rutgers Scarlet Knights and Northwestern Wildcats men's basketball game at Louis Brown Athletic Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) Freshman Geo Baker had his first career double-double with 19 points and 11 assists, while fellow backcourt mates Corey Sanders had 19 points and Mike Williams had 17 points to lead Rutgers past Fairleigh Dickinson 92-54 Saturday night.

The trio was efficient from the floor as Baker went 7 of 11 from the field and 4 of 5 from the free-throw line, Sanders went 8 of 14 shooting and Williams was 5 of 7 from the field and 6 of 6 from the free-throw line.

FDU took a 6-3 lead at 17:59 when Darnell Edge hit a 3-pointer off a pass from Darian Anderson. That's as long as it would be a competitive game.

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Nov 28, 2017; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights forward Eugene Omoruyi (11) goes to the basket against Florida State Seminoles forward Mfiondu Kabengele (25) during first half at Louis Brown Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Nov 28, 2017; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights forward Eugene Omoruyi (11) goes to the basket against Florida State Seminoles forward Mfiondu Kabengele (25) during first half at Louis Brown Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) Corey Sanders scored 18 points and Deshawn Freeman had 13 to lead Rutgers past NJIT 73-64 on Thursday night.

Tags: Rutgers University
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Dec 5, 2017; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Michigan State Spartans guard Joshua Langford (1) shoots over Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Geo Baker (0) forward Deshawn Freeman (33) and forward Mamadou Doucoure (21) during second half at Louis Brown Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Dec 5, 2017; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Michigan State Spartans guard Joshua Langford (1) shoots over Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Geo Baker (0) forward Deshawn Freeman (33) and forward Mamadou Doucoure (21) during second half at Louis Brown Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) Miles Bridges scored 21 points and No. 3 Michigan State overcame its worst offensive performance of the season with a 62-52 victory over surprising Rutgers on Tuesday night.

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Nov 28, 2017; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Corey Sanders (3) dribbles the ball against the Florida State Seminoles during the second half at Louis Brown Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Nov 28, 2017; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Corey Sanders (3) dribbles the ball against the Florida State Seminoles during the second half at Louis Brown Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

ISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said the "schedule gods blessed us" by having his Scarlet Knights open Big Ten play by facing two ranked teams in three days.

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Rutgers Scarlet Knights forward Mamadou Doucoure fouls Florida State Seminoles center Ike Obiagu during the first half at Louis Brown Athletic Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)
Rutgers Scarlet Knights forward Mamadou Doucoure fouls Florida State Seminoles center Ike Obiagu during the first half at Louis Brown Athletic Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)

Nate Mason scored a season-high 26 points, Jordan Murphy had his ninth straight double-double to start the season and No. 12 Minnesota beat Rutgers 89-67 on Sunday night in the Big Ten opener for both teams.

Murphy finished with 18 points and 16 rebounds to extend the nation's longest double-double streak. He came into the game leading the country in rebounding at 12.5 per game.

Reggie Lynch added 16 points, nine rebounds and five blocks for the Gophers (8-1), and Amir Coffey had 11 points and seven assists. Minnesota was coming off a five-point loss to No. 10 Miami on Wednesday night.

Freshman forward Mamadou Doucoure had 13 points and nine rebounds for Rutgers (6-2) and freshman guard Geo Baker had 12 points. Corey Sanders had 10 points, and Deshawn Freeman added 10 points and 12 rebounds.

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Nov 28, 2017; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights head coach Steve Pikiell talks with his players during a second half time out against the Florida State Seminoles at Louis Brown Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Nov 28, 2017; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights head coach Steve Pikiell talks with his players during a second half time out against the Florida State Seminoles at Louis Brown Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

MINNEAPOLIS -- As Minnesota and Rutgers open their conference season on Sunday evening at Williams Arena, they each have to be happy, at minimum, that the Big Ten/ACC challenge is over.

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Nov 28, 2017; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights forward Eugene Omoruyi (11) goes to the basket against Florida State Seminoles forward Mfiondu Kabengele (25) during first half at Louis Brown Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Nov 28, 2017; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights forward Eugene Omoruyi (11) goes to the basket against Florida State Seminoles forward Mfiondu Kabengele (25) during first half at Louis Brown Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) CJ Walker scored 24 points and Phil Cofer added 19 to lead unbeaten Florida State past Rutgers 78-73 on Tuesday night.

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Loud Mouths: We have an expert 00:06:43
One of the original Loud Mouths, Chris Carlin, joins the guys to discuss the controversy at Tennessee no longer pursuing Greg Schiano.

 (Aaron Doster)
(Aaron Doster)

Ohio State head coach, Urban Meyer, defended his defensive coordinator, Greg Schiano, after he had a falling out for the University of Tennessee's head coaching position. 

Schiano was set to become Tennessee's new head coach, and the announcement was to be made on Sunday. However, Tennessee backed out of the deal after a wave of backlash on social media from fans. The anger stemmed from a 2015 sworn testimony that stated Schiano had knowledge of Jerry Sandusky's allegations while he was a graduate assistant at Penn State Univeristy from 1990-95. 

Though the allegation is just hearsay, it still prompted Tennessee fans to protest the singing. However, Meyer backed up his coach saying he is more than worthy of the position. 

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 (Mike Granse)
(Mike Granse)

Rutgers football head coach Chris Ash signed a five-year contract through 2022 to continue coaching the Scarlet Knights. 

Ash, who took over the head coaching position in Dec. 2015, signed an initial Memorandum of Agreement which was good for five years, $11 million.

The Scarlet Knights just finished their season 4-8 after a blowout to Michigan State, 40-7, at High Point Solutions Stadium. It was an improvement from Ash's 2-10 inaugural season, but the 43-year-old will continue to try and improve next season. 

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Ohio State Buckeyes defensive coordinator Greg Schiano before the game against the Army Black Knights at Ohio Stadium. (Joseph Maiorana/USA TODAY Sports)
Ohio State Buckeyes defensive coordinator Greg Schiano before the game against the Army Black Knights at Ohio Stadium. (Joseph Maiorana/USA TODAY Sports)

The University of Tennessee is reportedly backing out of a deal with former Rutgers head coach and current Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano amid fan backlash, according to Yahoo! Sports' Pete Thamel.

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer confirmed to ESPN that Tennessee contacted Schiano, and USA TODAY Sports first reported that the two sides were nearing a deal that would have made Schiano the next Volunteers head coach.

Tags: Rutgers University
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Nov 25, 2017; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Michigan State Spartans wide receiver Felton Davis III (18) runs after a catch against Rutgers Scarlet Knights defensive back Damon Hayes (22) during second half at High Point Solutions Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Nov 25, 2017; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Michigan State Spartans wide receiver Felton Davis III (18) runs after a catch against Rutgers Scarlet Knights defensive back Damon Hayes (22) during second half at High Point Solutions Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) Brian Lewerke threw for a touchdown and ran for another and No. 21 Michigan State held the ball for more than 47 minutes in defeating Rutgers 40-7 on Saturday to cap a terrific turnaround season.

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The Rutgers Scarlet Knight rides past the stadium before the start of the NCAA football game between the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and the Maryland Terrapins at High Points Solutions Stadium. (Ed Mulholland)
The Rutgers Scarlet Knight rides past the stadium before the start of the NCAA football game between the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and the Maryland Terrapins at High Points Solutions Stadium. (Ed Mulholland)

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- In the words of head coach Mark Dantonio, No. 16 Michigan State has a chance to "flip it" when it meets Rutgers in the regular-season finale for both teams on Saturday at High Point Solutions Stadium.

With a win, the Spartans (8-3, 6-2 Big Ten) would mean a record reversal from last season, when Michigan State finished 3-9.

"It's rewarding to flip it," Dantonio said.

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 (Geoff Burke)
(Geoff Burke)

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) Deshawn Freeman had his first double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 rebounds and Shaquille Doorson had a career highs in points (eight) and rebounds (nine) to lead Rutgers past East Carolina 61-47 Friday afternoon at the RAC and remain unbeaten.

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Feb 11, 2017; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Corey Sanders (3) handles the ball against Minnesota Golden Gophers during first half at Louis Brown Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Feb 11, 2017; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Corey Sanders (3) handles the ball against Minnesota Golden Gophers during first half at Louis Brown Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) Corey Sanders responded to his coach calling out his poor practice habits with 18 points and five assists and his backcourt mate Geo Baker had a career-high 29 to lead Rutgers past Bryant 83-54 Tuesday night.

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 (Geoff Burke)
(Geoff Burke)

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) While the wins keep coming, the shots aren't falling for Rutgers.

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Nov 18, 2017; Bloomington, IN, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights quarterback Johnathan Lewis (11) attempts to run the ball for yardage during the second half of the game at Memorial Stadium. The Indiana Hoosiers defeated the Rutgers Scarlet Knights 41 to 0. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports (Marc Lebryk)
Nov 18, 2017; Bloomington, IN, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights quarterback Johnathan Lewis (11) attempts to run the ball for yardage during the second half of the game at Memorial Stadium. The Indiana Hoosiers defeated the Rutgers Scarlet Knights 41 to 0. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports (Marc Lebryk)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) Richard Lagow threw two touchdown passes Saturday, and Morgan Ellison ran for two more scores as Indiana shut out Rutgers 41-0.

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Rutgers players celebrate with fans after defeating Illinois 35-24 in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017 at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill. (AP Photo/Bradley Leeb) (AP)
Rutgers players celebrate with fans after defeating Illinois 35-24 in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017 at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill. (AP Photo/Bradley Leeb) (AP)

Indiana and Rutgers understand the stakes of their game Saturday.

The winner needs one more win to go bowling. The loser is probably heading home for the holidays.

It's not something either coach wants to discuss, so they're letting others deal with the chatter while they focus on the more immediate challenge - getting their teams ready to play.

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Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Corey Sanders shoots the ball as Northwestern Wildcats forward Gavin Skelly defends in the second half during the Big Ten Conference Tournament at Verizon Center. (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)
Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Corey Sanders shoots the ball as Northwestern Wildcats forward Gavin Skelly defends in the second half during the Big Ten Conference Tournament at Verizon Center. (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)

Geo Baker had 14 points and seven assists and Issa Thiam scored 14 points, was 4-of-8 from behind the three-point line and knocked down treys on three-straight possessions to lead Rutgers past Cleveland State, 70-38 on Tuesday night.

Rutgers took a nine-point lead into halftime before jumping out to a 20-point lead early in the second half after back-to-back 3s by Thiam to make it 43-23 with 14:41 left. Thiam went on to hit another three on the third straight possession to make it 46-26

From there, Rutgers cruised.

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 (Geoff Burke)
(Geoff Burke)

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) Mike Williams had 23 points and four steals and Eugene Omoruyi had 13 points, seven rebounds and two blocks as much-needed sparks off the bench to lead Rutgers past Central Connecticut State 71-67 on Sunday.

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Rutgers Scarlet Knights running back Raheem Blackshear (25) celebrates his touchdown against the Purdue Boilermakers with Rutgers Scarlet Knights tight end Jerome Washington (88) in the 3rd quarter at High Point Solutions Stadium. (Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports)
Rutgers Scarlet Knights running back Raheem Blackshear (25) celebrates his touchdown against the Purdue Boilermakers with Rutgers Scarlet Knights tight end Jerome Washington (88) in the 3rd quarter at High Point Solutions Stadium. (Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports)

Even before No. 14 Penn State lost its last two games, Nittany Lions coach James Franklin believes his team lost its way.

The Lions (7-2, 4-2 Big Ten) will try to regain their bearings in time for Saturday's homecoming matchup against resurgent Rutgers (4-5, 3-3).

Penn State followed up a 39-38 loss at Ohio State with a 27-24 defeat last week at Michigan State, and Franklin told reporters afterward that his team was "too finesse" and had allowed "a lot of noise" to become a distraction -- the latter a reference to talk of a berth in the conference championship game and/or College Football Playoff...

Tags: Pennsylvania State University, Rutgers University
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Rutgers Scarlet Knights head coach Chris Ash leads his team onto the field before the first quarter against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium. (Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports)
Rutgers Scarlet Knights head coach Chris Ash leads his team onto the field before the first quarter against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium. (Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports)

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) Trace McSorley accounted for 258 total yards and three touchdowns as No. 16 Penn State beat Rutgers 35-6 on Saturday.

McSorley became Penn State's all-time touchdown leader with 68, overtaking Daryll Clark's record of 65 with one rushing and two passing scores, and the Nittany Lions scored 35 unanswered points after going down 6-0 in the first quarter.

Saquon Barkley ran for two touchdowns and DaeSean Hamilton and Mike Gesicki each caught one for Penn State (8-2, 5-2 Big Ten). Barkley, a Heisman Trophy candidate, ran for just 35 yards on 14 carries

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 (Geoff Burke)
(Geoff Burke)

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) From the opening tip, Rutgers and City College of New York looked like teams from different divisions.

Issa Thiam had 19 points and 11 rebounds for his first career double-double, Deshawn Freeman scored 16 points, and Rutgers cruised past Division III City College of New York 94-38 on Friday night.

It tied the largest margin of victory in school history, 56, when Rutgers defeated Trenton State 91-35 in 1936. Rutgers used the opportunity to clear its bench, with 13 players checking in, including four walk-ons.

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 (Jim O'Connor)
(Jim O'Connor)

The Rutgers men's basketball team open their season against the City College of New York at the RAC on Friday night. 

The visiting CCNY team had a lot happen last season that found them as a Division III team this year. They have been a Division I team, but after a major gambling scandal, the school was forced to make it a Division III team. 

Head coach Steve Pikiell and his team took down St. Johns, 80-78, in an exhibition game. It should be an easy start to the season for Rutgers, so don't expect to see stars Corey Sanders, Deshawn Freeman, and Mike Williams much throughout this one. 

This is the first game of three in the next five days for the Scarlet Knights. They take on Central Connecticut State on Sunday followed by Cleveland State on Tuesday. 

Tags: Rutgers University
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