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August 27, 2012

Isaac threatening Rutgers' season opener

Rutgers' season opener slated for this Saturday at Tulane will kick off a brand new season of football, but the threat of an impending hurricane expected to hit New Orleans could put a crimp into those plans.

As of now, Tropical Storm Isaac is expected to make landfall in New Orleans late Tuesday night. The Tulane campus, located in New Orleans, will be shut down tomorrow and Wednesday.

The Tulane football is relocating to Birmingham, Ala., for the next couple of days.

Earlier today, Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood stated that the game is expected to be played as scheduled.

"As of right now, as of this minute we don't have any plans to change our itinerary. We have heard nothing of postponing or changing the game or anything like that. But as of today, as of this minute everything is going to go forward on schedule. But it's going to be an hour to hour process."

Rutgers practiced this afternoon in Piscataway and is expected to take the field inside the Superdome Saturday night.

"We have to prepare like the game is going to happen," said senior defensive tackle Scott Vallone. "I'm pretty optimistic. I don't know if we're worried about the game being cancelled but we're aware of what's going on."

Vallone, a native of Long Island, N.Y., has never lived through a hurricane. The same could not be said of fellow defensive lineman Marcus Thompson.

As a small child living in Carol City of Miami-Dade County, Thompson saw the devastation of a hurricane firsthand.

"I've been in some real bad hurricanes. Hurricane Andrew destroyed my whole house, just totally destroyed it," said Thompson, who is now a starting junior defensive end at Rutgers.

Thompson was only a small child at the time, but the memory of that catastrophe is still very clear.

"I remember it so vividly," Thompson said. "I was in the hallway and I was too scared to cross the hall into the back room, because normally they tell you to get into the bathroom. So I was trying to get to where my grandparents were at. "

The damage to Thompson's home was so severe, he and his family were forced to move. Thompson also has a physical memory from the storm.

"I have scar on my leg because a board came down and actually sliced my leg," he said.

Having lived through numerous hurricanes, the start of the 2012 season could be washed out for Thompson and the rest of the Scarlet Knights. However, Thompson is confident that disaster will not derail this week's itinerary.

"The game is definitely going to happen, just be ready for Rutgers to come out on top," he said.

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