Greg Schiano discusses Bo Melton and Raiqwon O’Neal’s health


At the Monday match week press conference for Michigan State, Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano discussed the health of two key offensive starters. Wide receiver Bo Melton left Saturday’s game against Ohio State with a shoulder injury while left tackle Raiqwon O’Neal came out early and was seen carrying a boot to his left foot on the sidelines in second period.

“They’re both screwed,” Schiano said. “I hope they can go on Saturday. We’ll have to wait and see. They are receiving treatment and I hope they will be okay.

The fact that neither player has been declared absent for an extended period is obviously positive. Beyond that and whether they could actually play this weekend remains to be seen.

Melton leads Rutgers with 24 catches, 253 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns this season. He had totaled nearly a third of the team’s receptions and receiving yards after the first four games. Melton left in the first quarter without a catch against Ohio State and did not come back. He ended his streak of 25 games of at least one reception and 14 games with at least three catches.

Last fall, the fifth-year senior hit team highs of 47 catches, 638 yards and 6 touchdowns. He also rushed for two scores and returned one punt for another. The captain has started 36 games and has played in all 50 games he has been eligible for in his Rutgers career. Melton was named to the Biletnikoff Awards Watchlist ahead of the season and was an honorable mention in the All-Big Ten selection by coaches and media last fall. He is ninth in school history with 133 career receptions and has been a major factor for the Scarlet Knights under the direction of offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson. Every time he misses will be a significant loss.

O’Neal has started more than a dozen games in his career after playing immediately as a true freshman in 2018. The fourth-year junior has been a key part of the offensive line during his time on the banks. before leaving the Ohio State game after the first playoffs. His experience and abilities will be sorely missed if he can’t go on Saturday. He was named an Honorable All-Big Ten selection by the media last season.

Both Melton and O’Neal were on the Rutgers depth chart starters list released Monday ahead of Saturday’s game against Michigan State.

Melton’s replacement is listed as Josh Youngblood, who caught a late-game 12-yard touchdown pass against Ohio State. Kansas State’s move hasn’t had much of an impact this season, but could see a bigger opportunity against the Spartans if Melton doesn’t play. Other key receptors could also intervene. Aron Cruickshank is second on the team with 17 receptions for 206 yards and one touchdown. Shameen Jones and Brandon Sanders are the only other receivers with double-digit receptions at 11 apiece.

Matt Rosso is listed as O’Neal’s replacement and has played three games this season, most notably against Ohio State. However, Brendan Bordner has started on two tackle points this season, including on the left side against Delaware. Rutgers’ coaching staff have shuffled and tied along the offensive line all season, so they have several options to replace O’Neal if he can’t go on Saturday.

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