Bob Cancro: Here we go. My first prediction is that we should be 1-1 by around 3:30 pm on Saturday. Yes....we will go 1-0 this week. The Knights get their feet back under them against a team that they should beat regardless of the new system, talent built for a different system, yada yada yada. Maryland - the measuring stick down I-95 - topped Howard by 39 at home to open the season. There should be little question that we will, too, although the score might be a bit different. This team has something to prove to the fans and itself. The sub-text is the real story this week. First, don’t get anybody hurt. Then the trickier points: first, how long will Laviano play? I think until he builds up a three TD lead...or maybe only the first half. There will not be many more opportunities after Saturday for Ash to test out the others waiting behind Lavs. And who comes in behind center next? Will they open up the play book and try stuff? Will Jay Niemann channel the insanity of Greg Schiano and blitz constantly against an overwhelmed and outmanned team? We should be much better than Howard, and if it turns out a lot better, we’ll see what kind of thinking Ash has in terms of managing the score and getting players into the game. Rutgers 38 Howard 14
Matthew Pisani: This is somewhere in the range of the third or fourth time we have played Howard since I had first started attending Rutgers in Fall 2010 (I always seem to confuse them and Norfolk State as we always play one or the other the second game...I blame those great tailgates). Lets just say that the only battle Howard or Norfolk State had ever won against us was their halftime marching band performances. I never really remember it ever being a close game for more than a half. I am hoping Rutgers doesn’t even let them get a good half in on us. I hope we come out embarrassed about Seattle and lay a beat down on a team we scheduled to beat down on. Will that actually happen? I do not think it will to the extent that it should on paper (Power 5 school against Howard). Rutgers will clearly be victorious but we will not score 50 points and practically shut them out. We will score 41 points (close, but no cigar on the 50) and give up 14. We could potentially score up to 50 this Saturday if Janarion Grant, Justin Goodwin, Josh Hicks, and, yours truly, Chris Laviano all turn up to play their A game. Also, having Robert Martin ready and healthy definitely could not hurt matters. I think the Banks will be a’rocking Saturday and Rutgers will win decisively 41-14
Jim Hoffman: This is the easiest pick of the year! It is not a question of if Rutgers will win, but only by how much. However, that margin is an important one, at least psychologically for both fans as well as players. Squeak by a MEAC team, and the grumbles will be so loud you would think there was an earthquake throughout the Garden State. However, I honestly do not see that happening. I think we have a team that after the last 3⁄4 of a pretty good game against Washington want to prove something, and they will. However, like Matt Pisani stated above, you do NOT want to miss seeing the Howard Band. They are a treat for the eyes and ears. I’m also calling for everyone to be in their seats prior to kickoff, to demonstrate support for the team and the coaching staff. I’m calling for a reverse play: That is, the final score will be the reverse of last week. Rutgers 48 Howard 13.
Griffin Whitmer: Let’s be honest, regardless of losing to Washington being nearly a given, Chris Ash and his team are pissed off. These players worked harder than they ever have this offseason and are no doubt angry with how they played. They get to take out their anger on poor Howard, who will have the ball run straight down their throats for 4 quarters. Justin Goodwin and Josh Hicks will get 100 yards apiece, while Robert Martin rests himself in a game he is not needed for. Chris Laviano will be able to run the offense smoothly and will not let off the gas pedal. We should get to Gio Rescigno and get to see how he runs as well. I’m taking the Scarlet Knights big in this one: Rutgers 63 Howard 3
Aaron Breitman: It would have been a heck of lot better had Howard been the season opener, followed by Washington, but such is life. Rutgers will want to come out of the gates and dominate from the opening kickoff. It’s reasonable to expect that they will and it will be important to do so. Jumping out to a commanding lead will build confidence and allow the coaching staff to rotate personnel in order to get less experienced players more game action. While I agree the run game will be the focus, I expect Drew Mehringer to experiment some in the pass game and try to get more receivers involved in this contest. This team needs to take a step forward in their progress against Howard. I think they will, but by working on areas that need attention, the final result will probably be a less impressive score than most hope for or expect. Rutgers 35 Howard 13
Dave White: I hate games like these coming off a tough loss. No matter what Rutgers does, it’s not going to make me feel better. Of course, if the unimaginable happens, it can make me feel worse. Rutgers is going to win this game. They will win it going away. But against a team like Howard, I’m not sure how much that is going to tell us about the team. The good thing is it will make the players feel better and give them some confidence going into the New Mexico game. With luck, Laviano will rebound and hold on to the ball. Rutgers 30 Howard 7
Andy Egan: I always expect 50+ point blowouts in these types of games, but Rutgers never seemed to do that too much under the previous regimes (and Flood came WAY too close to actually losing to Howard in 2014). I’m not sure Chris Ash is the type to put up a score in the 60s against an overmatched opponent like this either. I hope he is, at least for three quarters. I want Rutgers to score so many damn touchdowns that we run out of cannon ammo and fireworks in the second half. Sorry Howard -- it’s nothing personal. But last week sucked, and we are paying you $350k in part to vent some frustration and to see our shiny new offense and allegedly tough new defense actually work to demolish someone. Here’s your standard issue firing squad blindfold and cigarette, and the priest will be here shortly to read you your last rites. Rutgers 143, Howard -6, and no injuries to either side.
You can weigh in below and make your own prediction as well. Go RU!