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OTB Staff Predictions: Indiana At Rutgers

Our staff gives their thoughts on how tomorrow’s matchup will unfold.

NCAA Football: Iowa at Rutgers Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Matthew Pisani: This is a game Rutgers could and should win. The Scarlet Knights are 2-0 against Indiana since joining the Big Ten and they blew them out two years ago here at the High Point. Indiana does have an extraordinary running game as showcased in their 414 yard performance last Saturday against the Terrapins. Rutgers, though, is due. They played very well in Giovanni Rescigno’s first start and lost on a last second field goal to a very good Minnesota team. Coming off of their bye, Rutgers is refreshed and pretty healthy. Their linebackers seem to be feeling great and Rescigno says he feels good, too. If we can get Robert Martin back for this game, I believe fans and the team should be very confident about their chances. Rutgers comes out swinging in this one, getting a lead and making Indiana throw the ball. It will be a shootout in the end, though. Rutgers 42 Indiana 38

Dave White: I think Rutgers can win this game. I really do. But they are now in show me state. I need to see it first. Indiana 42 Rutgers 28

Bob Cancro: Head? Heart? Head? Heart? I agree with my young colleague above that Rutgers could win this game. Should win? Well, we need to prove - again - that the Minnesota game was the norm, not the aberration. And, yes, coming off a bye gets people healthy and feeling good about themselves. All good. The Hoosiers can run; they have horses up front and I hope that our DL can maintain against that assault. If Rutgers can get its ground game going, keeping the defense off the field, then we are going to see a pretty good game. A win? Ma-a-a-aybe. Hoosier Daddy, Indy? Rutgers 32 Indiana 30

Jim Hoffman: I actually have a good feeling about this game. Two weeks ago, a resurgent offense showed a lot of heart, and Rutgers came within a minute of beating Minnesota on the road. I honestly do not think that Indiana is better than the Golden Gophers, and so with the home advantage, I think we can squeak one out here, and go 3-0 against the Hoosiers. It all depends upon the offensive line’s ability to create some holes for Martin, Goodwin, Sneed, or Hicks (not to mention Rescigno) to get some yardage. If they do that, it will open up the secondary, and let some passing plays develop. Also, our defensive line needs to be able to stop Indiana’s backs AND quarterbacks (Zander Diamont had some good yardage against the Terps last week) from running up and down the field all day. Rutgers 39 Indiana 36

Scott Logan: I've learned to always keep my expectations in check with this team, but there's plenty of reason for optimism here. Rutgers played far and away their best game of the season a couple of weeks ago in Minnesota, albeit in a loss. The offensive line needs to do a better job protecting Gio, but it looks like the Scarlet Knights have finally found a way to move the ball without Janarion Grant. The O isn't a huge issue if they keep doing what they did against Minnesota. Defensively, Rutgers needs to be able to prevent the big play, something that has befuddled them quite a bit this year. The talent is there, let's hope they can execute. And special teams... Be better. Coming off a moral victory, having rested up during the bye week, and heading out of the tunnel to play in front of a home crowd hungry for a win, the coaching staff has to get this team fired up and ready to go. Bowl berth hopes are fading, but Rutgers still has a lot to play for in this final month. There are a lot of variables and Indiana is no slouch, beating then-No. 17 Michigan State and pushing Nebraska to the limit. Unfortunately, I think Rutgers falls just short, but I'm still way more confident going into this game than I have been since the Big Ten schedule opened. Indiana 31, Rutgers 24

Bill Tharp: To the average fan, Saturday's Rutgers-Indiana matchup does not offer much but, the entire Garden State will have their eyes on High Point Solutions Stadium. Sitting at 2-6 and 0-5 in the Big Ten, Rutgers is desperate for a win to validate what Chris Ash is preaching and, to keep a solid recruiting class together. Indiana is coming off a 42-36 win over Maryland in a game that should be very similar. After using a solid air attack for the first seven weeks, Indiana pounded Maryland for 414 yards on the ground to the tune of 7.3 yards per carry and, had three players rush for over 100 yards. One player of note who rushed for 100 yards, was backup quarterback Zander Diamont. Diamont, a poor mans Baker Mayfield, has shown flashes of excellence in the past. Rutgers has struggled against the run all season and the front seven will once again be put to the test. Rutgers, who is coming off a bye, had their best showing of the season against Minnesota, offering hope this weekend. The passing game, led by Gio Rescigno, had its best game of the season, and the running game still thrived even in the absence of top rusher Robert Martin. Indiana is coming off a 4 sack game against Maryland so the Rutgers o-line will need to do a good job opening running lanes and protecting the quarterback. The Indiana defense is vulnerable and if Rutgers can establish the run, and produce big plays in the passing game, they have a legitimate chance to win their first Big Ten game of the season. RUTGERS 35 INDIANA 31

Aaron Breitman: I hate to say it but I don’t have a good feeling about this game. Indiana has the 3rd best offense in the Big Ten and our defense is going to have to play their best game of the season in order to win. While the bye week was much needed, I’m concerned it wasn’t enough time for this team to get truly healthy. Robert Martin is a game time decision, which worries me even more regarding Gio. It’s unfair to expect marked improvement from the inexperienced quarterback each game and Rutgers is going to need to score a lot tomorrow to have any chance. Plus, Ash’s admission that Gio probably wouldn’t have been healthy enough to play last week is very concerning. Hamstring issues can linger and I suspect his mobility will be somewhat limited tomorrow. Nothing would make me happier than a shifting of the tide this season with a win over Indiana, sparking a possible November run. Throw in a little paranoia that karma will be on the side of Hoosiers after last season’s collapse, much like it was for Maryland against us last year, and I think there is too much to overcome for the home team. Indiana 45 Rutgers 31

Griffin Whitmer: I don’t like Indiana. I don’t like their fans. I don’t like how they think their football team is Alabama because they went to a bowl game last year. I don’t respect them or their fan base for calling us “Rutger” because we “haven’t earned the S”. Rutgers is 2-0 against Indiana and I refuse to pick against them after seeing what happened last year. Screw the Penn State “rivalry”, screw the Maryland “rivalry”, if there is one game left I want to win, it’s this one. Rutgers 37 Indiana 30.

Andy Egan: Rutgers has looked like a different team on both sides of the ball since Gio Resicgno took control in the second half of the Illinois game. If he's healthy (a big if, because hamstrings are tricky), Rutgers should be able to do enough on offense to win a dogfight with Indiana, and more importantly, should be able to move the ball and give the defense a breather here and there. The Hoosier rushing attack is no joke though. This will be a big test for the Knights' conference-worst rush defense, and especially Rutgers' beleaguered linebacker corps. If the defense can keep Indiana under 30, I think this is a competitive game. If it turns into a track meet, I don't think we have the horses to keep up. Rutgers 28, Hoosiers 24.

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