As they prepare to potentially navigate around the ongoing health crisis, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights football team unveiled their 2020 slate.
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights unveiled their 2020 football schedule on Wednesday, headlined by their opener against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at SHI Stadium on September 5.
Each of Rutgers’ 10 scheduled contests will come against conference opponents, as the Big Ten opted to eliminate non-conference games while preparing for a season during the ongoing health crisis. Rutgers was originally set to open with FCS Monmouth in Piscataway and also had matchups with Syracuse and Temple wiped out.
Nebraska, Michigan, Penn State, Indiana, and Illinois will each visit Piscataway this season. These games with be played without outside spectators, per an official order from New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy that also affects New York Jets and Giants NFL games at MetLife Stadium. Rutgers will travel to Ohio State, Maryland, Purdue, Michigan State, and Wisconsin as well.
The schedule release coincides with the Big Ten releasing its health and medical protocols for a potential 2020 campaign. Rutgers has been dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19 on their football team, as a report from Keith Sargeant of NJ Advance Media revealed that 28 players, plus three members of the coaching staff, have tested positive. Michigan State, Ohio State, and Northwestern have also dealt with positive cases and have since shut down practices. Outside of the conference, the University of Connecticut became the first Football Bowl Subdivision team to outright cancel its 2020 proceedings.
High contact risk sports in the Big Ten will test a minimum of twice daily. The full guidelines are available on the conference’s official website.
“The Conference acknowledges that there is much work to be done on our campuses, in our communities and across the country to gain control of a virus that continues to spread at an alarming rate,” The Big Ten said in a Wednesday statement. “While the Conference remains hopeful for a September 2020 start in all fall sports, including football, issuing a schedule does not guarantee that competition will occur.”
“While our strategy is to continue planning for all fall sports, if the virus continues to spread among our students despite our many preventative measures, including testing and quarantine protocols, we are also prepared to delay or cancel competition pursuant to local and state public health orders or the recommendations of our medical experts.”
Rutgers is seeking a reversal in fortune after extending their postseason drought to a fifth season last year with a 2-10 mark that cost head coach Chris Ash his job after four games. The Scarlet Knights welcomed back Greg Schiano to the head coaching spot as the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers boss returns to Piscataway for the first time since 2011. Schiano oversaw the most recent glory days in Rutgers history, guiding them to a program-best 11 wins and their first-ever postseason victory (the Texas Bowl over Kansas State). Rutgers would go on to win five bowl games over the next six season after that historic 2006 campaign before Schiano began his NFL endeavor.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags