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Rutgers Football Game #11 Preview vs. Indiana

Including how to watch, key stats, x-factor, and more

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

How To Watch, Stream & Listen

Rutgers (4-6; 3-4) At Indiana (4-6; 1-6)

Where: Memorial Stadium (capacity )

Kick-off: Saturday, November 18th at 12:00 p.m. ET

Weather: 75%-100% chance of rain, 20 mph winds, thunder

TV: Big Ten Network - Cory Provus & J Leman

Stream: BTN2GO

Radio: Rutgers IMG Sports Network with Chris Carlin, Ray Lucas, and Anthony Fucilli - WCTC 1450-AM, WOR 710-AM, WENJ 97.3-FM, WNJE 920-AM

Current Spread: Indiana - 11

Against The Spread: Rutgers 8-2; Indiana 2-7-1

Series History: Rutgers leads the all-time series 2-1. The Hoosiers won 33-27 last season in Piscataway.

Indiana Statistical Leaders

Passing: (starter) Richard Lagow - 123 of 207 attempts for 59.4%, 1,327 yards, 10 TD, 6 INT; (backup) Peyton Ramsey - 134 of 205 attempts for 65.4%, 1,252 yards, 10 TD, 5 INT

Rushing: Morgan Ellison - 539 rushing yards on 119 attempts, 4.5 ypc, 4 TD; Cole Gest - 284 rushing yard on 57 attempts, 5.0 ypc,

Receiving: Simmie Cobbs Jr. - 63 catches for 716 yards, 11.4 ypc, 7 TD; Luke Timian - 59 catches for 485 yards, 8.2 ypc, 1 TD; Whop Philyor - 28 catches 256 yards, 9.1 ypc, 2 TD; Ian Thomas - 21 catches for 283 yards, 13.5 ypc, 4 TD; Taysir Mack - 15 catches for 175 yards, 11.5 ypc, 2 TD

Defense: Tegray Scales - 80 tackles, 10.5 for a loss, 5.0 sacks, 2 INT, 1 fumble recovery; Chase Dutra - 79 tackles, 0.5 for a loss, 1 forced fumble; Chris Covington - 74 tackles, 10 for a loss, 3.0 sacks, 3 pass break-ups, 1 fumble recovery; Jonathan Crawford - 51 tackles, 2 for a loss, 1 INT, 8 pass break-ups, 1 fumble recovery; Robert McCray III - 16 tackles, 7 for a loss, 5.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble

Kicking: Griffin Oakes - 30 of 31 PAT’s, 13 of 14 FG attempts, long of 51

Indiana Statistical Comparison Versus Rutgers

S&P+ Advanced Stats Profiles: Indiana I Rutgers

Rutgers Advanced Stats Win Probability - 32% (per Football Study Hall)

Projected Score per Football Study Hall: Indiana 27.3 Rutgers 19.4

S&P+ Team Ranking: Indiana 65th; Rutgers 96th

S&P+ Offensive Ranks: Indiana 101st; Rutgers 121st

S&P+ Defensive Ranks: Indiana 30th; Rutgers 42nd

(conference ranks noted below)

Scoring Offense: Indiana 25.7 ppg (9th); Rutgers 20.9 ppg (13th)

Scoring Defense: Indiana 27.3 ppg (11th); Rutgers 25.9 ppg (10th)

Notable Stat Comparisons

Kickoff Coverage: Rutgers (1st) vs. (Indiana 12th)

Sacks: Indiana is 3rd in the Big Ten, averaging 3.1 sacks per game. Rutgers is 1st in the Big Ten in sacks against, allowing just 1.2 per game.

3rd Down Conversions: Indiana has a 35.7% conversion rate (8th) on offense and allows 31.2% conversion rate (3rd) on defense. Rutgers has a 35.0% conversion rate (10th) on offense and allows 32.4% conversion rate (6th) on defense.

Time of Possession: Rutgers 30:17 (6th) vs. Indiana 27:48 (14th)

Additional Analysis

Indiana Offense vs. Rutgers Defense

Five Keys To The Upset

Common Opponents Comparison

What To Watch For

While Indiana is a solid favorite and are higher ranked with both its offensive and defensive units, there isn’t major separation between the two teams. In terms of strategy, Indiana has a fast paced offense that has close to a 2 to 1 pass to run ratio. Starting quarterback Richard Lagow, threw for 394 yards (6th most in school history) and 3 TD’s in the win over Rutgers last season. Sammie Cobbs Jr. is a dangerous weapon and has at least one catch of over 20 yards in seven of the nine games he has played this season. When the Hoosiers do run it, Morgan Ellison is the featured back. The true freshman has been solid at times, but he has only averaged more than 3.8 yards per carry once in his last five games.

On defense, their strength is upfront in creating pressure in the pass game and stopping the run with solid line play. Indiana’s secondary doesn’t grab many interceptions, but the Hoosiers are one of the best defenses in the country in passing down situations. The Rutgers offensive line will have to win the battle in the trenches or Jerry Kill’s gameplan will be ineffective. Rutgers needs to get positive yardage in early down run plays in order to control the game and have an edge in time of possession. If Gio Rescigno and the offense have many 3rd and long situations, the odds will be against them.

Minimizing mistakes is always important, especially on the road. If Rutgers fumbles it away three times like they did against Illinois, it will undoubtedly lead to a loss against Indiana. With bad weather conditions expected, Rutgers will need to maintain its composure and avoid unforced errors with penalties.

Special teams play could be a deciding factor and Indiana has a great kicker in Griffin Oakes. Although Rutgers has the tops kickoff coverage unit in the Big Ten, Indiana has the 13th best special teams unit in S&P+, while the Scarlet Knights are just 66th.

Numbers aside in this matchup, the talent level is similar and both team’s results on the field have been as well this season. This game should be close and it could simply come down to which team wants it more. Both schools are fighting for that fifth victory on the season, which would ensure they would be playing for a bowl game in the regular season finale. A loss and the hope for a winning record goes away. While either was not expected for Rutgers this season, just the fact that they are playing such a meaningful game in mid-November demonstrates progress in Chris Ash’s second season as head coach. A win would ensure a 5th place finish in the Big Ten East, which would be significant after everything this program has gone through in recent years. A loss would be disappointing, but it wouldn’t negate the positives already achieved this season.

For Rutgers to win, they’ll need to control the game through running the football, hit a few big gains in the pass game through play action and dominate time of possession. The defense will need to continue to bend, but not break and firm up in the red zone. With Indiana likely to pass often, even with the wind and rain, the secondary needs to force turnovers. Field position will be critical as well. The style that Rutgers wants to play is old school and rainy, windy, and muddy conditions could certainly work in its favor. It should be an interesting game and one that will be closely played.

My X-factor pick for this game is running back Robert Martin. Rutgers is 2-0 against Indiana with Martin on the field, as he missed last season’s matchup. In 2014, he ran for 83 yards on 11 carries and 3 touchdowns. In 2015 at Indiana, Martin ran for 124 yards on 17 carries and another 3 touchdowns. He is averaging 7.4 yards per carry against Indiana in the two games against the Hoosiers. Martin is also playing the best football of his season in the last two games, running for 140 yards combined on 25 carries for 5.6 yards per carry and 1 touchdown. There is no doubt Martin is looking to finish his Rutgers career, one in which he has run for 2,251 yards and counting, on a high note.

Rutgers should have confidence playing on the road for the last time this season, as they held Penn State scoreless midway through the second quarter last week at Happy Valley and were competitive in the Big House this season as well. We all know what happened the last time Rutgers went into Memorial Stadium two years ago. If the Scarlet Knights are to be victorious again, the score and pace of the game will likely be the opposite of their previous trip to Bloomington. Let’s hope it’s a positive result just the same.