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OTB Staff Predictions For New Mexico At Rutgers

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The last non-conference game of the season is a big one for the Scarlet Knights. Our staff gives their thoughts on how the game will play out.

NCAA Football: Howard at Rutgers Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Bob Cancro: Now it starts to get interesting. One, two, three quarterbacks? Wild Knight formations? A very slight home favorite. A pretty decent opponent coming in minus a star on each side of the ball. I may have to think this week. This is a winnable - and a lose-able - game. As was noted earlier this week, if Rutgers comes out sluggish or working to find its rhythm for a chunk of the first quarter, we have serious problems. If it comes out and runs the ball effectively, regardless of the QB, we have a decent chance to make a very good showing. And its the same on the other side of the ball. If we don’t tackle, if we don’t contain, if we don’t pressure the quarterback, we’re in trouble. We don’t know whether this team can climb out of a hole against a somewhat comparable team (talent-wise). Likely it can’t, but I don’t want to find out. At least not with all the questions at QB. And if a team makes its biggest strides between games one and two, what did we really learn last week? I’m not sure. Oy! When in doubt, go with your heart. On offense, Ash finds a way for Janarion Grant to touch the ball at least 35 times (seriously) and for Hicks and Martin to each carry another 15 times each. We look for short passes to the TEs and look to control time of possession. On defense, we up the ante and blitz....a lot. Rutgers 32 New Mexico 28

Matthew Pisani: As Coach Ash said at his post game press conference last week, New Mexico is a "real team." They may not be the greatest of the "real teams," but a "real team" nonetheless. The Lobos had three people on their team average more than 67 yards a game last season. As a team, they averaged 252.2 yards a game as a team, which is pretty good. They are keeping up this dominant running game this season as they are currently 7th in the country at almost 325 yards a game. Unfortunately for the Lobos, they lost their leading rusher, Teriyon Gipson, for this game due to concussion protocol. The Lobos are also losing Linebacker Dakota Cox for the game for the same reason. Cox is easily one the New Mexico’s better defenders as he has their only interception of the season. Not having their best runner or one of their better defenders, the Lobos will be competitive but losers when they come to the banks. I think Rutgers has momentum and motivation to win this game before conference play begins. I think the Lobos will score points as they average almost 40 a game, but our defense will finally be a solid unit if they learned how to tackle this week and hold them below that mark. This will be a game won in the trenches and on the ground. Luckily, we are a little better than this team and in a better conference. Oh yeah, and someone by the name of Janarion Grant. He’ll get fed the ball all day and do miraculous things. The final score will be something around Rutgers 38 New Mexico 31.

Aaron Breitman: I will be honest, this game scares the hell out of me. With New Mexico missing their best offensive and defensive players, Rutgers has a golden opportunity to dominate this game and get a comfortable win ahead of the Big Ten season starting next week. However, this is exactly the type of game that Rutgers has blown over the years, with the Washington State loss from last season still leaving a bitter taste. If this team wants to be competitive at all in their next three games against Iowa, Ohio State, and Michigan, they need to make a statement against New Mexico. They need a balanced, complete effort for the entire game and win in convincing fashion. I do think the defense will perform better this week and I’m excited to see Jawaun Harris get more looks on offense. I do think Rutgers will focus on a ground and pound attack led by Robert Martin, Josh Hicks and Janarion Grant, including a package for Gio and Oden to run. I also think we will see the best performance from Chris Laviano so far this season. Ultimately, they wear down the Lobos and it leads to a relatively comfortable win, aside from a tense first half. Rutgers 42 New Mexico 24

Jim Hoffman: Like Aaron, I think this game has all the earmarks of a trap game: following a fairly easy win, prior to three successive games with ranked opponents, against an opponent who is upset after a close loss to an in-state rival. Yuck! Despite that, I think that Rutgers will pull this one off. The Lobos will also be without their primary offensive and defensive weapons this Saturday, and will be taking the longest journey for a game just about anyone on the team has ever made. Their next longest trip was when they played in Hawaii in 2012. With all of that against them, and the fact that Coach Ash will be pushing for a first quarter without the team sleepwalking, I think the fans are in for a great afternoon of Scarlet Knight football. I think the trip and lack of leadership will tell as the afternoon progresses. Rutgers 34 New Mexico 21

Griffin Whitmer: Rutgers should have no problem winning this game, but I don’t expect it to be a flawless effort. i think the young and inexperienced linebackers will struggle defending the triple option and will give up a few points. However, New Mexico is missing their best linebacker and the Rutgers offense should be able to move the ball pretty easily and be able to control the game on the ground. I think Rutgers wins big, but I would not be surprised if New Mexico puts up a bit of a fight in the beginning. I’ll go with Rutgers 41 New Mexico 20.

Dave White: This is a game that scares me. New Mexico has the look of a terrible team, and Rutgers is coming off a dominant game against Howard... or dominant second half, I should say. But this team could be looking toward Iowa and the spread is worrisome. I'll say Vegas knows: Rutgers 28 New Mexico 24.

Scott Logan: Last week was great and all, but I still remember the pain of watching that Washington game and know better than to take anything with this team for granted. But Washington New Mexico is not. Nor are they Howard. I anticipate this will be a semi-competitive game that Rutgers should ultimately pull away with. After Gio looked good and Odin burned his redshirt last week, Laviano has a lot to prove with those two breathing down his neck, so hopefully he responds. Overall, I expect we'll see a solid performance that will act as a nice tune-up before the beefy Big Ten schedule kicks off next week. Rutgers 31, New Mexico 17

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