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Rutgers football opener is postponed to Saturday due to flooding

The return to SHI Stadium for the Rutgers football team has been delayed as massive flooding in the area, including River Road, made travel nearly impossible.  – Photo by Chris Tsakonas

In the wake of Tropical Storm Ida, the Rutgers football team’s season-opening game against Temple has been postponed to Saturday. The game was originally scheduled to take place this evening in front of a sold-out crowd.

Originally making landfall as a category four hurricane in Louisiana on Sunday, Tropical Storm Ida brought heavy rain, flooding and tornadoes on Wednesday evening, all resulting in substantial damage across the state of New Jersey.

This morning, the Rutgers University Police Department issued an alert that Route 18, the main avenue leading to SHI Stadium, would be closed due to flooding. Other nearby streets, including River Road, were also overrun with flood water. This immediately called into question the feasibility of hosting a football game with a sell-out crowd expected.

While the Scarlet Knights and the Owls stayed at a hotel near the stadium last night, the effects of the approximately 6.5 inches of rain that soaked the New Brunswick area would have made it difficult for fans and game officials to safely arrive for the game. As a result of the conditions, Piscataway town officials were prepared to host the game this evening without fans in attendance.

“While Piscataway is a strong supporter of Rutgers University and fervent fans of Rutgers Football if the Rutgers-Temple football game is still going to take place this evening, the Township is calling on the University to do so without fans,’’ said Piscataway Township officials this morning.

“Township infrastructure is overwhelmed by the damage of Hurricane Ida and evacuations are still taking place this morning. Most importantly, search and rescue operations are ongoing. Piscataway Public Works and our first responders worked through the night to help residents and significant work continues today. Roadways in the Township cannot handle an influx of tens of thousands of people coming to the football game.”

The game is set to kick off at noon on Saturday at SHI stadium.

“I said all summer that we went through a lot last year and that has prepared us for anything,” said Temple head football coach Rod Carey in a statement. “My thoughts are with those families who have lost their homes due to this storm. Delaying our football game for 48 hours is not as devastating as their situations.”

For updates on the Rutgers football team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter

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