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OTB Staff Predictions: Iowa At Rutgers

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Do any of our contributors think Rutgers can take down the defending Big Ten West division champs?

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

Aaron Breitman: I do think Rutgers will be extra amped for this game, as there are several Iowa connections with the coaching staff. Ash is from Iowa, grew up a Hawkeyes fan and falls under the Hayden Fry coaching tree, which I wrote about here when he was hired. Rutgers defensive coordinator Jay Niemann’s son leads the Iowa defense in tackles. Rutgers offensive line coach A.J. Blazek was an All-Big Ten center for Iowa back in 2000, so I think they will be very familiar with how Kirk Ferentz operates, which will help with game planning for this matchup. I think the players are excited for the conference opener at home and will really want to rectify their slow starts early in games. Still, there is no denying Iowa has more talent and depth than Rutgers and I expect them to be fired up after last week’s loss at home. The run game for both teams will be key to the outcome of this game and while I’m hopeful Rutgers is improved on both sides of the ball, I fear C.J. Beathard will have a field day with our secondary. The best chance Rutgers has to win is to start fast and punch Iowa in the mouth early, jumping out to a multiple score lead. Otherwise, I see Iowa wearing down Rutgers and winning the game fairly comfortably in the end. I am hoping the actual game will be closer than what I think the final score will be. Iowa 38 Rutgers 20

Dave White: Iowa is mad after being ranked 13th last week and then dropping from the rankings. Rutgers hasn't shown they can stop a team early in a game before adjustments are made. That's not going to fly in the Big Ten. Rutgers will be, of course, fired up and hopefully the stadium is full and loud. That might help things. My guess is Iowa jumps out to an early lead, Rutgers tries to come storming back, but wears down late. Iowa 38 Rutgers 17

Bob Cancro: First, here’s hoping the protest over the closing of The Alley doesn’t materialize. A loud and supportive crowd could help and it seems that Pat Hobbs has addressed this. But likely not enough to change the final result, which I hope a majority of the fans in attendance will actually see because they’ll stay til the end. I saw hopeful things in the comeback against New Mexico: character, determination, coaching adjustments (yes, I wrote that!). But as has been said above and elsewhere, a slow start will not cut it, and it could be calamitous. Our secondary has been exposed a bit. The offense isn’t exactly a juggernaut, although it has shown some spark. If (if, if, if) we can play some ball control we can keep it close. But bad decisions at the QB spot , which have been an issue, will lead to changes. And what will that bring? Iowa is an angry lot after their embarrassing loss at home last week. The Big Ten opener will be recorded on the right-hand side of the ledger for RU. Iowa 35 Rutgers 17

Matthew Pisani: Although the new tailgate got shut down and Athletic Director Hobbs had to issue an apology, I do not think the student section will be short of support this Saturday. Yes, it is another noon game, but this time it is against a huge opponent. Iowa is the defending Big Ten Champions, and they only fell out of the rankings due to losing to a team that should arguably be in the FBS. North Dakota State has won five straight titles and is now 6-0 against FBS foes. I do not take the Iowa loss as they are a bad team, I take it as NDSU belongs in the FBS. Anyway, Rutgers should have good momentum coming into this game. If Chris Laviano can play good football and not turn the ball over or complete less than 50% of his passes, we may have a shot. We already know our run game and Janarion Grant will get their fair share of touches, but Laviano has to manage this game well. If he does, we may have a shot in the home stretch. Unfortunately, I do not see Laviano having a good game, especially after Iowa fell out of the rankings and is looking to come back strong in a conference game, in which they are looking to still defend their Big Ten title. It all starts with Rutgers for the Hawkeyes. I do not see Rutgers having a fun day, especially if they start off slow yet again. I think Iowa comes in and dominates, putting them back in the rankings. Iowa 38 Rutgers 13

Jim Hoffman: Iowa, despite last week’s loss to FCS Champ North Dakota State, is a solid, disciplined football team that benefits from a long-term staff that create a team that is a cohesive unit. Rutgers, under a first-year head coach has demonstrated none of those attributes. It is not solid, it is not disciplined, and it is not cohesive. What it has are several strong players that keep them in games, at least after the end of the first quarter. I am afraid that the first quarter on Saturday will be yet another example of what we have seen so far this year: a Rutgers squad that sleepwalks until they have about 15 minutes of football under their belt. Unlike Howard and New Mexico, you can not spot 2-3 touchdowns to the Hawkeyes and expect to come out ahead. And, because of that, they will not. I really hope they make me eat my words, but unfortunately, I think Iowa will win this game walking away. Iowa 42 Rutgers 12

Scott Logan: As most of these guys have mentioned, Iowa’s upset loss to North Dakota State isn’t doing us any favors. This is a strong team that’s probably going to come out mad as hell that they let one slip, and won’t let it happen again. As for Rutgers, they must must must be ready to go right out the gate. We’re talking about a team that had to overcome 14-0 and 21-0 deficits to Howard and New Mexico, respectively. A similar sluggish start against a team that was one stop away from representing the Big Ten in the College Football Playoff last year is going to be a lot harder to rebound from. Before the season, everyone talked about hoping Rutgers could look competitive in big games. That didn’t happen against Washington. This is their chance to give us some hope as we enter the meat of the Big Ten schedule. Iowa 34 Rutgers 24

Griffin Whitmer: I think this game could get really ugly. Iowa is a really good team that got caught off guard. Normally, I think Rutgers could put up a fight, but not when Iowa is this motivated. Iowa could cruise and beat Rutgers by a touchdown but I think they will turn it up this game and lay a beating on Rutgers. Their defense is definitely elite and the Rutgers offense has been less than stellar. I can’t foresee a good game for Chris Laviano. The experience that CJ Beathard brings at the quarterback position will allow to him to control the tempo of the game. Iowa 31 Rutgers 3

Andy Egan: This is the game Rutgers finally decides to show up in Q1. No sluggish start this time, and Rutgers is within a TD at halftime. That doesn’t mean I think Rutgers puts together 4 quarters of solid football for the first time this year. Q3 is the problem tomorrow, as the Iowegians roar out of halftime and dominate the third quarter, going up 3 scores. While Rutgers rallies a bit in the fourth, Iowa is a very strong deep team, and it’s not enough to overcome the lead they built. Children of the Corn 40, Rutgers 28.

Let us know what your prediction is for tomorrow’s game in the comments section below.