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Rutgers football to face off against No. 11 Ohio State on Saturday

The Rutgers football team looks to bounce back from its first loss of the season as it faces Ohio State at SHI Stadium on Saturday.  – Photo by Emma Garibian

The Rutgers football team will face No. 11 Ohio State this Saturday in its third home game of the season. The Buckeyes (3-1, 1-0) are the second Big Ten team the Scarlet Knights (3-1, 0-1) will face this season as well as the second consecutive nationally ranked opponent for the program.

Rutgers enters this matchup against Ohio State after suffering its first loss of the season last week on the road against Michigan. In the loss, the Knights nearly rallied from a 17-point halftime deficit but ultimately could not score the game-tying touchdown as time wound down.

“I really love our football team,” said Rutgers head football coach Greg Schiano after the game. “They never let up, they kept believing, they didn’t judge because it could’ve gotten ugly there at 20-3 and they just kept playing.” 

Now four games into the season, the Knights have seen players appear on statistical leaderboards in the Big Ten. Most notably, senior linebacker Olakunle Fatukasi ranks fifth in the conference in sacks and top 10 in the Big Ten for total tackles. Meanwhile, senior wide receiver Bo Melton ranks 11th in the conference in receiving yards.

On the offensive side of the ball, senior quarterback Noah Vedral has found success leading the team on the field this season — but he has also been recognized for his work off the field.

This week, Vedral was selected as a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, an award given out to the best football scholar-athlete in the country. The Campbell Trophy combines academic success, football performance and exemplary leadership when choosing its winner. Last year’s recipient of the Campbell Trophy was Brady White.

Vedral earned an undergraduate degree in communications studies from Nebraska in May 2020 and is now pursuing a master’s degree in communication, information and media.

Looking at the Buckeyes, the program is entering Saturday’s game after defeating Akron 59-7. C.J. Stroud, the team’s starting quarterback, was sidelined for the game with a shoulder injury. Ohio State's head coach Ryan Day said that Stroud is on track to start against the Knights this weekend.

“I thought (Stroud) had a good week of work, so we’re looking forward to getting him back on the field this week,” Day said. “I think stepping away has been good, too. It allowed him an opportunity to heal up and rest his shoulder, but also (offered) a different perspective watching practice.”

Since joining the Big Ten in 2014, Rutgers has yet to beat the Buckeyes. In last season’s iteration of the matchup, Ohio State defeated the Knights 49-27.

“A lot of the players that are playing I still have knowledge of, but they’ve changed like we all change,” Schiano said on Monday. Schiano served as the Buckeyes' defensive coordinator from 2016-2018. “We played them last year though, so I think that’s as good of a tool to use for evaluation as anything.”

Saturday’s game will kick off at 3:30 p.m. and will be broadcasted on the Big Ten Network.

“This is the best league in America and we got a chance to go play another really, really talented team in a week,” Schiano said. "I can’t wait to get back with our fans and see where we measure up.”

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

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