PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) — The season-opening game between Temple and Rutgers scheduled for Thursday night has been postponed until Saturday after the remnants of Hurricane Ida dumped historic rain over parts of the Northeast.
Rutgers' stadium sits on the banks of the Raritan River and some towns in northern New Jersey reported receiving as many as 8 inches of rain on Wednesday night. Flooding was reported in many areas Thursday and some major roads leading to the stadium were closed.
The game was rescheduled for noon Saturday. Tickets and parking passes issued for Thursday’s game at SHI Stadium, which was a sellout, will be honored, Rutgers officials said.
The game was to be the first at the 52,000-plus seat stadium without attendance restrictions since 2019. Crowds were limited last season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think it was a prudent decision to postpone the game until Saturday, and that would allow everyone to get here by car instead of by boat,” Piscataway Chief of Police Thomas Mosier said in a video posted by the township.
Earlier in the day, Mayor Brian C. Wahler had asked that no fans be allowed if Rutgers decided to play the game as scheduled on Thursday night. He said Piscataway got more than 7 inches of rain and hundreds of customers were without power. After the postponement was announced, Wahler cautioned that some roads still may be closed Saturday.
Rutgers athletic director Pat Hobbs said the decision to postpone the game was made to keep people safe.
“We’re still learning the full extent of the damage, and sadly the loss of life,” he said in a statement Thursday afternoon. "I know our fans were eager to be in a sold-out stadium tonight cheering on their Scarlet Knights for the first time since the pandemic started, but everyone’s safety is our paramount concern. One thing I do know, however, is that New Jersey folks are resilient. I’m sure they will pack SHI Stadium on Saturday and we’ll put our Jersey grit on full display.”
Rutgers went 3-6 last season in Greg Schiano first season back as coach of the Scarlet Knights. Temple was 1-6 in Rod Carey's second season.
“I said all summer that we went through a lot last year and that has prepared us for anything,” Carey said 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.”
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