Rutgers returns to High Point Solutions Stadium this Saturday in search of a mammoth upset. The reigning champions, the undefeated No. 1 Ohio State Buckeyes, are coming to town, and the anticipation for this matchup is unmatched by the hype for any Rutgers from the past couple years. Get everything you need to know about this huge matchup right here!
Rutgers released its weekly injury report on Monday (which I wrote about in full right here), and there are a few big names whose statuses for Saturday's game are in question.
On the offensive side of the ball, wide receivers Leonte Carroo and Janarion Grant are questionable with lower body injuries. Carroo left last week's win against Indiana when he appeared to injure his ankle while catching a touchdown. He did not return, but insisted after the game he will "definitely be playing next week." It is not clear when Grant's injury occurred.
Defensively, the Scarlet Knights could be without three starters. CB Blessuan Austin, SS Davon Jacobs and MLB Kaiwan Lewis are all questionable with upper body injuries. Rutgers will need all hands on deck against the Buckeyes' prolific offense, so hopefully all three are able to give it a go Saturday.
Here are the most notable names from this week's injury report.
* WR John Tsimis (lower body)
* RB Desmon Peoples (upper body)
* DT Darius Hamilton (lower body, out for season)
* WR Leonte Carroo (lower body)
* WR Janarion Grant (lower body)
* MLB Kaiwan Lewis (upper body)
* CB Blessuan Austin (upper body)
* SS Davon Jacobs (upper body)
* WLB Steve Longa (lower body)
Kyle Flood spoke to the media on Monday ahead of Saturday's colossal matchup. Here are the highlights of his press conference.
* Flood opens by calling this an exciting week for the program, and calls Rutgers' environment for night games "one of the best in the country."
* The first question from a reporter is about how the team prepares for the OSU quarterback duo of Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett. Flood says it is clear they have to prepare for both, noting that Barrett can run and has seen play time in the red zone. No matter who is in, they have to be ready to defend both. (Note: Urban Meyer has since announced J.T. Barrett will make his first start of the season on Saturday against Rutgers)
* He praises FS Anthony Cioffi, saying they moved him to safety so he could make more plays on the ball. He adds Cioffi has done a great job mentoring the young defensive backfield.
* Flood is asked about Ohio State QB-turned-WR Braxton Miller, and says he is not surprised at all by his seamless transition, citing his excellent athleticism. He says it will be key to defend against Miller in one-on-one matchups.
* A reporter asks if other receivers need to step up with Carroo, Grant and Tsimis all on the injury report. Flood says everyone at the position has to be ready, because they are "one play away from being in the game." He specifically names Carlton Agudosi, Vance Matthews and Jawuan Harris as receivers who may see more snaps Saturday.
* Flood praises the play of Laviano against Indiana, saying each week he gets experience against quality opponents, and Laviano succeeded in the challenges Indiana presented. He says there will probably new challenges this week.
* Flood says RT J.J. Denman got better last week against Indiana, and now he will face off against Ohio State DE Joey Bosa, who Flood calls "possibly...the best player in college football."
* When asked about Agudosi, Flood calls him mature and mentally tough. He says Agudosi did a great job stepping up after Carroo's injury last week.
* Flood declines to reveal whether or not Longa will act as a spy on Barrett Saturday, but praises Longa's productivity and consistency.
* A reporter points out that two strong safeties were injured against Indiana. He asks if Najee Clayton and Greg Jones could be options if Hester and Jacobs go down. Flood says he anticipates Clayton seeing the field at some point this season, and they would likely go to him and Andre Hunt in that case.
* Flood says Jones asked if he could get some work in the secondary. He praises Jones' work as a running back in the preseason and his athleticism, but says he's still learning the system.
* Flood calls MLB Isaiah Johnson one of the best kickoff coverage players on the team. He expresses confidence in him should he need to start in Lewis' place on Saturday.
* Flood says CBs Jarius Adams, Ronnie James and Brian Verbitski could all see playing time on Saturday, depending on what personnel groups they choose to use.
* A reporter points out Rutgers committed just one penalty against Indiana after Flood harped on the excessive penalties in the first couple games. Flood says he is most pleased they limited penalties on the road, where it's tougher to communicate.
* Flood says the game being aired nationally on ABC is "a great showcase for our program", and says he is expecting an electric environment and the fans to do their part, and the team is excited.
* Last week's 25-point comeback at Indiana was the largest comeback in college football this season, as teams had been 0-121 when trailing by 25 points before Saturday.
* Following last year's 25-point comeback against Maryland, Rutgers put a beatdown on North Carolina in the Quick Lane Bowl, at one point taking a 40-7 lead. The Scarlet Knights ended up winning 40-21.
* This is just the second time the Scarlet Knights and Buckeyes have met. Last year, Ohio State topped Rutgers in Columbus 56-17.
* Saturday will be the first time Rutgers has played the No. 1 team in the nation since hosting Miami in 2002.
* Ohio State enters Saturday's game having won 27 straight regular season Big Ten games. Their last regular season conference loss came on November 26, 2011 at Michigan.
* Ohio State starting DT Tommy Schutt will miss Saturday's game after undergoing surgery for a broken wrist.
Will you be in attendance for Saturday's huge game? Does Rutgers have a real shot at taking down the national champs? Sound off in the comments below.