Rutgers enter’s Saturday’s game against Indiana as 11 point underdogs. Here are five things that Rutgers needs to do to win at Indiana tomorrow.
Get to halftime tied up or winning
This is a winnable opponent in Indiana but it’s also a Big Ten game on the road which is never easy. Anytime you’re on the road in the Big Ten, it’s important to not get down early, limit big plays and hope a couple breaks go your way. I love the heart of this team on the road and I expect a consistent dose of Gus Edwards shoved straight down Indiana’s throats. On defense, limit plays downfield and sure up the tackling with the hopes of producing a turnover by way of fumble or interception.
Limit the pass of Indiana
Indiana is basically the antithesis of Rutgers when it comes to offensive strategy. They rarely run and will look to exploit the secondary of Rutgers. Luckily, the defensive backs of Rutgers are considered to be the heart of the defense. I expect Indiana to throw early and often but I could also see them getting too pass happy and opening up themselves to an easy pick. Rutgers has an above average secondary that could really bate Indiana into throwing the ball.
Rush for at least 200 yards
Offensive Coordinator Jerry Kill has made no secret his intent on running the ball and controlling the clock. Don’t expect much deviation this week. With the weather forecast expecting rain late Friday night into early Saturday morning, this could fall exactly into Rutgers’ wheel house. They currently rank sixth in the conference in rushing yards at 166.4 yards per game and they’ve rushed for 200+ yards in Big Ten play twice this season, winning them both. Don’t be surprised if you see Robert Martin break out like he did in 2015 to the tune of 124 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Keep it to third and manageable
Rutgers needs to get to get to third downs that are within manageable distances for an offensive that relies heavily on the run game. This means situations such as third and fewer than five yards. The pass game is inconsistent and very tricky. Gio can extend plays with his feet but all too often the relationship between him and the wide receivers comes off as interjected. He’s at his best in short yardage situations where he has the luxury of running or passing in manageable situations.
With the possibility of less than stellar weather conditions, Rutgers will look to own the field position this week. Punter Ryan Anderson has been arguably the best punter in the Big Ten. He’ll look to continue that trend this week and tilt the tables of field position. Anderson has shown not only power but also precision that has made him one of the most valuable players on this team. He may not get the headlines but he can be a real difference maker this week.