Rutgers wrestling outdoors paired with football vs. Penn State – Asbury Park Press
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PISCATAWAY – Rivalry day at Rutgers is about to get twice as big.
Plans are nearing completion for an outdoor wrestling match pitting Rutgers against Princeton to be held on the field at High Point Solutions Stadium, sources told Gannett New Jersey.
The concept has been in the works for months, and the expected date would be a Nov. 19 separate-admission doubleheader with the much-anticipated Rutgers-Penn State football game – provided that Big Ten Network places the football game into primetime later this week.
The last two Rutgers-Penn State games have aired in primetime on BTN.
Since joining the Big Ten, wrestling has been a hot ticket at the Rutgers Athletic Center, but an outdoor match in the football stadium against an in-state rival should shatter program attendance records by reaching five digits. Rutgers and Princeton wrestle for the B1G-Ivy Rivalry Trophy.
Princeton is expected to purchase wrestling tickets to resell in helping promote the unique day-night event. The football game requires its own ticket.
In theory, Lehigh would have made the ideal wrestling rivalry opponent for the event but is believed to have a scheduling conflict.
The hope is to draw football fans who might not otherwise attend a wrestling match – even fans of Penn State, which has won five of the last six wrestling national titles – and to provide tailgaters with a reason to come early. Southern New Jersey is home to Rutgers and Penn State football fans.
The wrestling match likely will start at noon or earlier.
Rutgers wrestling held an outdoor practice in conjunction with football Homecoming last season, but the blueprint for a football-wrestling pairing was established by Iowa in November.
Iowa edged Oklahoma State in a wrestling match between two national powers. The crowd of 42,287 for the self-called Grapple on the Gridiron – paired with an Iowa-Minnesota football game – nearly tripled the previous NCAA record of 15,996 set by Penn State on Dec. 8, 2013.
It was the first time that two programs of such stature wrestled on a college football field, according to NCAA.com.
Rutgers wrestling coach Scott Goodale and several members of the new football coaching staff – several of whom have ties to the wrestling-crazed state of Iowa – made fast friends
Goodale addressed the football team before a recent spring practice with a message about changing the culture. In his ninth year at the helm, the former Jackson Memorial High School wrestling and assistant football coach led Rutgers to a No. 10 ranking and two All-Americans.
The last Rutgers-Penn State football game in Piscataway sold out in record time ahead of the season and resulted in an all-time high crowd of 53,774. Rutgers’ last win in the series came in 1988 – 70 years after it won the first meeting in 1918.
Rutgers has defeated Princeton the last 20 times the schools met on the mat, including in January at Jadwin Gym. The series dates back 89 years.
Rutgers wrestling finished last season ranked No. 10 in the nation and produced two All-Americans in the same for the first time.
Rutgers football will have at least one other primetime home game as it was announced Monday that the Oct. 8 game against Michigan will be played at either 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. and televised by ABC, ESPN or ESPN2. The stadium atmosphere was electric and fans stormed the field when Rutgers beat college football’s all-time winningest program at home in 2014.
Staff Writer Ryan Dunleavy: email@example.com