Things couldn't have gone much worse for Rutgers in Happy Valley last Saturday, as the Scarlet Knights looked lifeless in a dreadful, rainy 28-3 loss. Normally, Homecoming is a time of celebration and excitement, but with the program facing some of its darkest days, Rutgers will hope they can secure a win before entering the meat of the Big Ten schedule. Here's everything you need to know to get geared up as Rutgers hosts Kansas.
I wrote about the injury report in more detail yesterday, which you can check out here.
DT Darius Hamilton made a surprise return against Penn State, but played sparingly and admitted afterwards he was still hurting. He is considered questionable for Saturday's game, and while that's not super optimistic news, it's a huge relief to know his mysterious injury wasn't something that would keep him out for the whole year.
Here are the most notable names from yesterday's injury report:
* RB Desmon Peoples (lower body)
* DT Darius Hamilton (lower body)
* DE Djwany Mera (lower body)
* G Chris Muller (lower body)
* RB Paul James (lower body)
* DE Kemoko Turay (upper body)
Flood Wilson Speaks
Interim head coach Norries Wilson made headlines on Saturday night with a unique postgame press conference. On Monday, he had a more typical meeting with the media. Here are the highlights.
* Wilson begins by discussing the annual event "Coach to Cure Muscular Dystrophy", and encourages those interested in donating to the cause to text the word "CURE" to 90999 to make a $5 donation.
* When asked when he plans to choose a quarterback for Saturday's game, he refers to the depth chart that Coach Flood put out Monday morning, and "as of right now, that's how everything stands." That depth chart had Chris Laviano as the starter.
* Wilson expects the practice reps between the quarterbacks to remain the same. Sounds like Laviano will get another start.
* Wilson says he was unhappy with the lack of production from the running backs against Penn State, but says the offensive line and pass game have to play better in order to open up opportunities for the running backs.
* Wilson praises the play of Laviano, and says improving the play around him will help him improve as a quarterback.
* When asked about the challenges Kansas presents, Wilson notes the quarterback and running back both average over five yards a carry on designed runs, so improved run defense will be important. He also says the Kansas defensive line has some athletic guys, and the offensive line will be tasked with blocking them.
* Wilson hints that he has the power to make in-game changes while Flood is suspended. He says, "If you feel like a player is playing bad, the position coach will speak with the coordinator about it, and we'll make the change if we feel like a change is necessary."
* Wilson is mum on Hamilton's status, telling reporters to refer to the injury report, and if there is a change in his status, it will come at the end of the week.
* Wilson praises the receivers who have stepped up in Leonte Carroo's absence, verbally expressing confidence in Andre Patton, Carlton Agudosi, Janarion Grant, John Tsimis, and the tight ends.
* Wilson tells an interesting anecdote about three coaches giving him an opportunity after he was fired at Columbia: Tom Coughlin, Joe Philbin and Kyle Flood. When Wilson interviewed with Coughlin, Wilson mentioned that Flood offered him a job, and Coughlin suggested Wilson take the Rutgers job. He's glad he did.
* Saturday will be the first ever meeting between Rutgers and Kansas. The teams will square off again in 2018, that time in Lawrence, Kansas.
* While Rutgers has a 6-35-2 record against current Big 12 teams, 39 of those games were against former conference foe West Virginia. Rutgers is 2-2 against the rest of the Big 12. Their last game against a Big 12 opponent was their win over Iowa State in the 2011 Pinstripe Bowl.
* Kansas has struggled so far this year, dropping a 41-38 loss to South Dakota State, and falling to Memphis 55-23, both at home.
* Rutgers will be Kansas' first road game of the 2015 season. The Jayhawks were 0-6 on the road last season.
* Rutgers is 52-28-2 in Homecoming games, but have struggled lately. Since 2010, Rutgers is just 1-4 in its Homecoming games, with the lone win coming in a one-point win over Navy in 2011. During that time, the Scarlet Knights have suffered Homecoming defeats at the hands of Tulane, Kent State, Houston and Wisconsin.
What do you think? Can Rutgers finally get a win at Homecoming? Would a big win over the Jayhawks start to turn the season around? Is Laviano deserving of another start? Sound off in the comments below.