The Ohio State football schedule 2021: Meet the Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Joe Harrington
The Columbus Dispatch

Queue the "Sopranos" theme, because Ohio State is heading to New Jersey in October. 

Ohio State starts the Big Ten football season with two road games , and the second one will be in Piscataway, N.J. when the Buckeyes face the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Oct. 2. 

There is no kickoff time yet for the game. 

It is the second time the Buckeyes will face former defensive coordinator Greg Schiano during the coach's second stint at Rutgers. Schiano oversaw an improved Rutgers team last season, which is quite the statement consideringf the Scarlet Knights went 3-6 in the shortened Big Ten schedule. 

Rutgers went 2-10 in 2019 and 1-11 in 2018 under former Ohio State defensive coordinator Chris Ash. Schiano was the head coach of Rutgers from 2001-2011 before leaving for the NFL. He was with Ohio State from from 2017-2018. 

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Last season Ohio State jumped to 35-3 halftime lead, but was outscored in the second half 24-14 in a 49-27 win. 

Ohio State has never lost to Rutgers in seven meetings since 2014. The Buckeyes' biggest win came in a 58-0 victory in 2016. 

Here's what we know about the Scarlet Knights:

What Rutgers football did in 2020

Rutgers went 3-6 and was one of the few teams in the Big Ten to actually play its complete 9-game schedule.

The Scarlet Knights turned heads when they defeated Michigan State in East Lansing 38-27 in the first game, but upstart Indiana, followed by Ohio State, quickly brought Rutgers back to Earth. 

A near win at home in triple overtime against Michigan followed by a 2-1 stretch against Purdue, Penn State and Maryland gave some life to the season, but Rutgers finished the year with a 28-21 loss to Nebraska. 

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What the Scarlet Knights are expected to do in 2021

Rutgers is widely believed, if there's stock in preseason picks, to finish near the bottom of the Big Ten East this season . Athlon Sports has them finishing sixth, while Lindy's and Phil Steele projects a fifth-place finish in the division. 

After opening the season with Temple, Syracuse and Delaware, Rutgers faces Michigan and Ohio State in back-to-back weeks. 

They received a boost when one of the team's top defenders, Tyshon Fogg, announced his return earlier this year. 

The linebacker recorded 65 tackles in 2020 and had 96 tackles in 2019. The defense as a whole should be the signature unit for Rutgers with Fogg and an experienced secondary returning. 

Former Nebraska transfer Noah Vedral is expected to once again be the starting quarterback as he recovers from a brutal ankle injury he sustained against Maryland in 2020. 

Who is Rutgers coach Greg Schiano?

Greg Schiano is one of the most successful coaches in Rutgers football history. He rebuilt the program in the 2000s and churned out a handful of NFL players. When he took over in 2001, Rutgers was an afterthought in college football. 

He went 68-67 in 11 seasons and was 28-48 in the old Big East. He was 5-1 in bowl games, winning five from 2006-2011.

Schiano, who made a name for himself as an assistant coach to disgraced former Penn State coach Joe Paterno, left Rutgers for the NFL. In two seasons as head coach for the Tampa Bay Bu he was 11-21. 

Returning to college football in 2016, Schiano joined Urban Meyer's staff at Ohio State. He was reported to have an offer to be the next head coach at Tennessee in November 2017, but backlash for his connection to Paterno and Penn State squashed the deal. He remained at Ohio State where he was named "Recruiter of the Year in the Big Ten" by 247 Sports in 2018. 

After three years with the Buckeyes, Schiano was named the defensive coordinator for the New England Patriots in February of 2019, but he never coached a game.

He resigned in March and in December of that year took the Rutgers job. 

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