The latest Ray Rice news has been a dark cloud over the buildup to the second week of NFL games, but some of the fallout can be felt just up the interstate from Baltimore at his alma mater in New Jersey. Rice is arguably the most well-known and accomplished alumnus of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights football team, and word of his legal and professional troubles must be a serious blow to an otherwise excited atmosphere as the university prepares for its Big Ten Conference home opener.

The Rutgers offense fired on all cylinders against PAC 12 member Washington State.

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Saturday’s game against Penn State is the first on Rutgers’ home schedule that shows one way how the move to the Big Ten could be significant for the Scarlet Knights. Through Thursday morning, fans have paid an average of $148 for a ticket to this game on the secondary market, more than double the previous high we’ve seen for a Rutgers home game ($72 for the 9/21/2013 vs. Arkansas). That $148 figure makes Rutgers-Penn State the 5th-most expensive ticket of the weekend in college football behind only Oklahoma-Tennessee ($201), South Carolina-Georgia ($179), Texas-UCLA ($158) and Notre Dame-Purdue ($155).

Rutgers has tough runners for their 2014 BIG TEN debut, not just fast ones.

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The top three home games for the Scarlet Knights this season in terms of average ticket price are all against members of their new conference. The Michigan game is the most expensive of the season with an average of $158 of the secondary market, and the Wisconsin game ranks third with an average ticket price of $83. If Rutgers can continue hanging serious points on these more established football programs and be sturdy on defense, expect to see prices for these later Big Ten conference home games to continue rising.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights Football Tickets & Game Dates

Ticket Demand For Rutgers Football – Big Ten Home Opener

The secondary market has also been far more active for Saturday’s game than for any past Rutgers home game. We’ve already seen about 6,000 tickets change hands for this game and expect that number to be closer to 8,000 by kickoff; prior to this season, the highest number of tickets we’d seen trade for a Rutgers home game was about 5,500 (11/29/2012 vs. Louisville). Most Rutgers home games before their move to the Big Ten saw 3,000 – 4,000 tickets move on the secondary market. Among this weekend’s games in college football, only six have had busier resale markets (Michigan-Miami(Ohio), Alabama-Southern Miss, Texas-UCLA, Texas A&M-Rice, Ole Miss-Louisiana and Maryland-West Virginia); the home teams in all of those games play in Power Five conferences, as well.

Not a bad way to start your season, eh Rutgers?

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Interestingly enough, a lot of the buying activity we’re seeing on the secondary market is coming from Penn State fans. We’ve seen 60% of buyers coming from NY/NJ and about 25% from Pennsylvania. To draw a comparison to a game Rutgers played last season against another Pennsylvania school, the split was about 70% NY/NJ to 10% PA for the Temple game on Nov. 2. Of course, when you consider the proximity of the two schools and the relatively large alumni base Penn State has in New Jersey, it’s almost to be expected. Rutgers was selected as a Big Ten anchor in the New York metro area for a reason; while cable subscriptions for the Big Ten network make more money for the whole conference, Scarlet Knights home football games will benefit from increased demand from visiting teams’ alumni bases living and working in NJ.

2014 Rutgers Football Highlights

Rutgers Defeats Washington State 41-38

Rutgers Looks Forward to Joining B1G TEN