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OTB Staff Predictions for Rutgers v. Washington State

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Griffin Whitmer: Yes, i am keeping track of my record for these. Moving on, when I look at Washington State, I see an unmotivated team that arm tackles and can't stop the run. This team looks worse than last year's team, and has to travel cross-country this time. I think that Hicks, James, and Martin have a field day and combine for over 300 yards on the ground, easing the load on Laviano, who goes out and has a solid game, but still has to make room for Rettig at one point or another. I think this game doesn't really give Rutgers any problems, and they walk out with a big win against a P5 team. Rutgers 49-24.

Bob Cancro:  Not that I'm bragging, but I did say - contrary to most predictions here - that we would be running the daylights out of the ball against Norfolk State.  And we did.  And I also said that Laviano would be in there in the second half.  You're welcome.  Now for Wazzou.  Laviano is the starter, but I'm very comfortable in saying that Rettig will play, and not just in mop up or reliever roles, either.  I think Hayden will be in a semi-quasi-QB rotation by the middle of the second quarter.  It may not go all game, but I think he gets more than a few snaps with the ones. I also think we'll be taking the air out of the ball and running it....a lot; keep it out of WSU's passing hands and protect our DBs.  The WSU loss to Portland State is very significant; it wasn't all because of bad weather - it rained and was cold on both sides of the ball.  I'm thinking the Cougs aren't that good.  Although we need to prove a few things, too. The current line (Tuesday) is RU giving 2...hmmm. Rutgers 38-28

Kelly Montagna: This game is a tough call for me. Initially, I found myself leaning towards picking WSU: They have a prolific passing game that I expect to put up big numbers against Rutgers' inexperienced secondary. However, if last week is any indication, I believe Rutgers is structured in such a way that will help offset this passing attack. Building on the dominant home opener, I'm expecting Rutgers to use their trio of running backs to control the clock against WSU's porous defense. Having a running game like Rutgers will not only help Laviano, who is getting the starting nod this week, but also keep the defense off the field, which will be key. If Rutgers is able to do this, they will make bombastic WSU coach Mike Leach eat his words, after claiming "New Jersey has good players, but bad football." RU 45-35

Andy Egan: You know who isn't scared of an Air Raid offense? The guy riding a Kemoko Dragon, intent on burying the quarterback in the turf 25 times per game, that's who. Bob got it right above - this Cougar team just lost a really bad game, and it wasn't because it was raining. They have offensive line problems, and a (mostly) healthy Dragon is going to feast. This is his type of game, without a lot of run defense to worry about - just pin your ears back and go, young man. Wazzu will get yards on the Knight secondary, but it won't translate to as many points as it should, with the Scarlet Knights happy to trade Wazzu field goals for RU TDs all day. The Knights will play a bend-but-don't-break-defense with a ton of pressure, and I think we see more than 6 sacks, and a fumble or two caused by pressure. Laviano will give the Knights what they need in terms of a clean turnover game and effective play-action to set up big strikes to Carroo and company, before Rutgers rides James to close it out in the fourth. Scarlet Knights 48, Cougars 31

Aaron Breitman: I think it will be a close game with WSU having some success with the air raid, exposing our inexperienced secondary.  I expect our run game to have success immediately and for the teams to be within one score of each other at the break.  I think the secondary will catch their breath a bit and make some adjustments in the second half.  Not enough to stop the air raid, but enough to slow WSU and allow our running game to physically wear down their defense in the 4th quarter.  Paul James clinches it with a late touchdown to seal it. I think Laviano will play well but will be limited in his opportunities due to the focus on the run game. Rutgers 45-35

Ray Ransom: We saw what happens when this team plays mad. See Laviano to Carroo x3 last week. This team has been through the ringer the past few weeks and on top of that, Mike "Footmouth" Leach has disrespected Jersey football at every possible opportunity. Watch for this team to take out some aggression on an opponent who deserves everything it has coming. Rutgers is going to come out from the get go and dominate at the line of scrimmage, running the ball up and down the field on a rainy, windy, perfect-Big-Ten-football-weather day. Hicks and James go over 100 yards, Carroo scores another pair of touchdowns, Cioffi snags another INT, Turay feasts with 3 snacks and Rutgers sends Leach back to the west coast with his tail between his legs. Rutgers 55, Washington State 10

Dave White: I'm going to assume that the BOG isn't Rutgers enough to actually fire Kyle Flood on a Friday before a game, but that Flood should have picked Hayden Rettig.  It's clearly personal opinion based on nothing but what I saw last Saturday, but let's go with it anyway.  Washington State has potential to be an explosive team, and the lack of a secondary for Rutgers worries me.  If Laviano can't keep up with an angry team looking to make up for a devastating loss, trouble could be brewing.   Washington State 27 Rutgers 21

Scott Logan: Washington State comes out of the gate hot, determined to put the Portland State debacle behind them. Rutgers fires back, but the air raid offense proves to be difficult for the young Rutgers defensive backs to handle, and we have a shootout on our hands. Despite the pass-happy game, Paul James still manages to pick up 100+ yards rushing, plus a long touchdown born from a catch out of the backfield. Laviano has his highs and lows, but ultimately three picks (one returned for a touchdown) forces Flood to turn to Rettig in hopes for a fourth-quarter comeback. Rettig excels. Carroo does Carroo things, and Rutgers pulls out a victory. The quarterback controversy returns. But we are 1-0. Rutgers 45, Washington State 35