Tomorrow, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights search for their first B1G win of 2016 against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Rutgers is 2-5 and coming off a 24-7 loss against Illinois. Minnesota is 4-2 and most recently took care of business against Maryland to the tune of a 31-10 victory.
Rutgers @ Minnesota
Location: TCF Bank Stadium | Minneapolis, Minnesota
Time: 12pm ET
Radio: WOR 710-AM, WCTC 1450-AM, WENJ 97.3-FM, WNJE 920-AM, WRSU 88.7-FM
Line: Minnesota -19
Other On the Banks previews
The Tale of the Tape
Like Illinois, Minnesota will be without their starting QB. Comparatively, there is a bigger drop off for Minnesota than there was for Illinois. Conor Rhoda did not play well against Michigan and is not really a dual-threat who could give Rutgers fits. This definitely gives Rutgers an advantage, as low scoring games are definitely better for them considering the way their offense has looked. The Rutgers offense should also be improved with Gio Rescigno at QB, given not only his ability to run but the spark and energy he provides for the team.
How Rutgers wins
Rutgers wins this game by keeping the numbers on the scoreboard low. The good thing is Rutgers is used to not scoring a lot of points. The big thing will be to hold the ball enough on offense so the defense isn’t worn out. This has the looks of the Iowa game, and should feature a lot of downhill running. Minnesota will try to pound the ball all game, and if Rutgers can stop the running game, they neutralize Minnesota’s offense. On the flip side, Robert Martin is the only bright spot on the Rutgers offense. They need to rely on him to carry the offense tomorrow. Martin should be getting 30 touches/game, especially with Janarion Grant out for the year. Additionally, establishing a running game will take a lot of pressure off Gio Rescigno, who is making his first career start in a B1G road game. The main focal point is to control the line scrimmage and have a better run game. If they can do that, they position themselves well for a win.
How Minnesota wins
Minnesota is the more talented team by far, even without Mitch Leidner. They will be limited on offense, but have a superior offensive line and are a great power running team. They will look to run the ball all game and wear down the Rutgers defense. However, the main key for Minnesota will be their linebackers. They are very deep at linebacker at that is the key for shutting down the Rutgers offense. They will be responsible for tackling Robert Martin in a game where he should get lots of carries. They are also responsible for defending the read option in a disciplined matter. Gio Rescigno is an actual threat to run and they need to respect him as that. If they can contain him and Martin, they way the receiver/QB play has been, the Rutgers offense is doomed.
Rutgers should play better than a lot of people expect and I think they’ll finally put up some offense. I believe the team will rally around Gio Rescigno and it will make a difference and I’m really excited for what he can do. With that being said, Minnesota is so clearly a better team and I can’t see them losing to Rutgers at home on homecoming. Minnesota is a team that wins the games they should and this is one of them. Also, I love Tracy Claeys. I really do. It’s really hard to pick against that man, but I’ll sure as hell be rooting against him on Saturday. At the end of the day, Minnesota should come out with the win like everyone expects. Minnesota 17 Rutgers 14.