Greg Schiano asked and Rutgers fans have delivered. Thursday’s season opener against Temple at SHI Stadium has been announced as a sellout, which is the first home game during Schiano’s second tenure that fans can actually attend. It’s the ninth time a sellout has occurred since the stadium was expanded back in 2009.
During Monday’s press conference, Schiano said, “Excited about finally getting to play in front of our fans in our stadium and should be a great atmosphere.”
On the potential for bad weather with Hurricane Ida expected to move into the area on Wednesday, Schiano was undeterred because of the fans.
“It’s gonna be fun. I mean, we’re gonna have to keep our emotions in check because it’s going to be exciting,” said Schiano. “My guys are constantly monitoring the weather and giving me reports. Initially it was ‘it’s gonna be nice.’ Now it’s iffy. I said ‘I don’t care. Our fans will be there. I know they will. I know our team will be ready to go and our fans will be ready to go.’ SHI stadium has to be home field advantage. It wasn’t last year, we’re not gonna hide from that. We didn’t do well in our home stadium. We need to change that this year.”
Since Monday’s presser, the forecast has improved with rain expected to end by Thursday morning, well before kickoff. The temperature is expected to dip into the fifties with clear skies by nighttime.
As for the emotions of what Schiano is expecting when Rutgers runs out onto the field on Thursday night, he explained why it will mark another step taken in his second tenure on the banks.
“I think walking out on, running out on that field with people in the stands will be probably the last first, right? But yeah, I think all this stuff is cool,” said Schiano. “I know the kids are excited about it and get back. I’m excited about it, it’s gonna be fun to do that.”
One tradition that was sorely missed by the team and fans alike last season was the arrival of the team at the Scarlet Walk. Schiano touched on what that game day event means to him.
“The (Scarlet Walk) is a tradition that we started here back in 2001,” Schiano said. “Bob Mulcahy and I decided we have something here that is unique to Rutgers and we played the first football game ever. So let’s celebrate that. Since we’re a football team, it made sense. And I think to me that’s something that’s really special. I know to our fans, that really became like a great gathering spot. You think back to some of those big games. Eight to 10 deep along the scarlet walk and that was a real thing, and I’m looking forward to that becoming that again.”
Kickoff against Temple is set for 6:31 p.m. with the gates to the stadium opening at 4:30 p.m. Despite tickets not being available for the general public, student tickets remain available and can be claimed online here.
For our complete preseason coverage and leading up to kickoff against Temple, click here.