Report: Rutgers to Accept Gator Bowl Invite After Texas A&M Drops Out Due to COVID-19

Doric SamDecember 23, 2021

PISCATAWAY, NJ - OCTOBER 09 : A Rutgers Scarlet Knights football helmet sits on the field before a game against the Michigan State Spartans at SHI Stadium on October 9, 2021 in Piscataway, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Wake Forest has reportedly found its new opponent for the Gator Bowl after Texas A&M withdrew from the game because of COVID-19 issues within its program.

Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic reports that Rutgers will receive and accept a bid to face the No. 17 Demon Deacons on Dec. 31 in Jacksonville, Florida.

Auerbach noted that the Scarlet Knights have the highest APR among 5-7 teams. The NCAA oversight committee is expected to make the news official on Thursday.

Rutgers was 3-0 in non-conference games but ended the season with three losses in its last four contests. The team's last win was a 38-3 victory over Indiana on Nov. 13. In their last two losses of the season, the Scarlet Knights surrendered a combined 68 points while scoring only 16. 

Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson said on Wednesday that his team hoped to find a new opponent by Friday. After a stellar 10-3 season, the Demon Deacon players let Clawson know they still want to play in the game. It would be the program's first Gator Bowl appearance since 1946.

"Overwhelmingly, the captains, they want to play in the Gator Bowl," Clawson said. "That's what they said. We've worked really hard to get to a bowl of this caliber, of this prestige."

Clawson added that over 90 percent of the team has received a COVID-19 booster shot and the team is taking extra precautions such as wearing facemasks indoors, social distancing and limiting contact to ensure they'll be able to play.