Greg Schiano spent 11 seasons in Piscataway, New Jersey, taking Rutgers from a perennial loser and cultivating a culture of consistent winning. It certainly didn’t happen overnight, but the former Scarlet Knights head coach did something special with a floundering program.

Now, Schiano will stand on the opposite sideline from the team he once coached for a third time, hoping his Ohio State defense can pitch another shutout against the Scarlet Knights. Though Schiano’s defense shows no mercy against the Rutgers offense, he admits that he still has a soft spot for the program.

Schiano spoke with’s Keith Sargeant, talking about his feelings toward the program and the university.

“Is it sentimental? Sure it is,” Schiano told “We built that program.”

Schiano coached at Rutgers from 2001 through 2011, compiling a 68-67 record, nothing to impressive at face value. But he inherited a program which was a consistent loser and was considered to be one of the laughingstocks of college football.

In the first four years of Schiano’s tenure, the Scarlet Knights didn’t have a single winning season, and had a 12-34 record from 2001-2004. But things turned around in 2005.

Rutgers posted winning seasons in six of Schiano’s final seven seasons, winning a minimum of eight games each of those years. The Scarlet Knights went 11-2 in 2006 and finished the year ranked No. 12 in the Associated Press poll.

Schiano’s teams posted a 5-1 bowl record, too.

So yeah, it’s understandable that the Ohio State defensive coordinator still has a soft spot for a program that enjoyed so much success under his leadership.

“When we get ready to play, I know people that are still there,” Schiano said. “Coach (Chris) Ash and I are friends. Sure, when you built something you never forget about it, but now it’s our job to beat them, and my job is to make sure that the defense plays the way they’re capable of playing against them.”

Rutgers travels to Ohio State on Saturday for a noon ET kickoff in Columbus.

Schiano’s defense has pitched two consecutive shutouts against the Scarlet Knights, as the Buckeyes have won the previous two matchups by a combined score of 114-0.