Schiano returns to Columbus as Rutgers tackles No. 3 Ohio State
Greg Schiano was a part of several mismatches in this series as an assistant coach for Ohio State, but the Rutgers head coach will have a different perspective facing the No. 3 Buckeyes on Saturday in Columbus, Ohio.
Schiano was the Buckeyes’ associate head coach and defensive coordinator under head coach Urban Meyer from 2016-18 when Rutgers lost by combined score of 166-3 in those three games.
Now, in his second stint at Rutgers (1-1, 1-1 Big Ten), Schiano is coaching against Ohio State (2-0, 2-0) for the first time.
He is looking forward to returning to Ohio Stadium, even though it won’t be the same game-day experience he remembers because the crowd will be limited to about 1,600 people because of COVID-19 regulations.
“It’s a great experience,” Schiano said Monday. “I think that’s what we aspire to, right? So, it’ll be a little different because it won’t be 100,000 people there. It won’t be the traditional gala of college football that happens in our conference, but it’s still a tremendous opponent.”
The game will also be a homecoming for two former Ohio State players now playing for Rutgers — defensive back Brendon White and defensive tackle Malik Barrow.
Rutgers must find a way to contain quarterback Justin Fields’ pursuit of the Heisman Trophy. He has completed 87.3 percent of his passes for 594 yards, six TDs and zero interceptions and Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson each have topped 100 receiving yards in consecutive games.
“It gives you great measuring stick,” Schiano said. “Ohio State is one of the best in the country if not the best.”
Schiano, who had a 68-67 record at Rutgers from 2001-11 before coaching the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two seasons, is trying to rebuild the program to a level where the Scarlet Knights went to six bowl games in seven seasons, winning the final five.
He was not retained by Ohio State when Ryan Day replaced Meyer for the 2019 season.
“I think he’s going to build something really good there,” Day said Tuesday. “This team (Rutgers) would want nothing more than to come in and get this game into the fourth quarter.”
Rutgers opened this season with a 38-27 win against Michigan State to end a 21-game Big Ten losing streak before losing 37-21 to then-No. 17 Indiana on Saturday.
“The culture’s growing by the day,” Schiano said. “As I told the team, we’re running out of firsts. We had our first win together. We had our first loss together.”
Ohio State’s greatest opponent could be complacency following last Saturday’s 38-25 win over then-No. 18 Penn State. The Nittany Lions were perceived as the Buckeyes’ biggest challenge for an unblemished record until playing Michigan in the final regular-season game, but that theory is in question after the Wolverines’ loss to Michigan State.
“Do we want to be great? If we do, we’ve got to bring it every week,” Day said. “We’re not there. We have to prove it in all three phases. We have a long way to go. We’re not great right now.”
–Field Level Media