Nobody could say it better than coach Scott Goodale himself, Rutgers wrestling just got bigger. The Scarlet Knights take the mats outside for their first performance at High Point Solutions Stadium, announced Monday as the first half of a major day in Piscataway.
Goodale leads Rutgers wrestling into a match against in-state rival Princeton on the same day as a primetime football battle between Chris Ash's Scarlet Knights and Penn State.
“it's a pretty unique experience,” Goodale said. “It's an event. It's an event that just got a whole heck of a lot bigger. It's something we're trying to do, and the reality is, you're going to see a really good match. You're going to see a bunch of nationally-ranked guys.”
Rutgers explored multiple dates and multiple teams before it selected Nov. 19 and Princeton as the perfect fit.
“We needed to find somebody who is going to put forward that work just like we are going to on our end from a marketing standpoint,” Goodale said. “We needed to find a staff that is going to do the same thing. It makes sense with Princeton-Rutgers football. It makes sense because it is a New Jersey wrestling. It’s not really Rutgers vs. Princeton so to speak. It’s about New Jersey wrestling.”
The logistics include mental toughness against the cold and what Goodale called “an attraction” with an enormous JumboTron in the South endzone to track the action.
The wrestling mat will be in the redzone of the North end zone for the most convenient seating possible for football tailgaters.
Seating is general admission.
“We need the Rutgers football fans to be involved in what we’re doing, to draw, to bring more people into the stadium,” Goodale said. “And that’s what we’re trying to do: Wrestle in front of the biggest turnout we’ve ever wrestled in front of. We’re going to need help from the football fans. We needed a night game. They’ll be here for sure. They’ll be in the parking lots. We need to get them in the stadium.”
Iowa set the standard with its outdoor wrestling match last year, and Goodale quickly saw a special opportunity to discuss with athletic director Pat Hobbs.
“We look forward to providing our fans, students and alumni a very special and unique double header on November 19th," Hobbs said in a statement. "Wrestling in the afternoon in front of what we hope will be a record crowd, combined with prime time Rutgers football that night. What could be better that that."
The match begins at 11 a.m., with Rutgers football and Penn State set as the 8 p.m., nightcap on the Big Ten Network.