The battle trudges on, as Rutgers football visits Maryland on Saturday. After a 1-5 start, it’s hard to be optimistic about this game. The Terps have been solid so far this season, despite all of the off the field issues they’ve dealt with. Despite little hope for the Scarlet Knights in this game, as they are around a 23 point underdog as of now, our dedicated staff is back with our honest predictions for this week. Let’s kick it off and hope for the best.
Dave White: Honestly, I don’t really care anymore. And that stinks, because last year Rutgers vs. Maryland was the highlight of the schedule, a great back-and-forth game that had some juice. But with a 1-5 record, a ton of blowouts on the ledger, and a Maryland team that should be rife with chemistry and distraction issues that is really good... how can you look for anything optimistic. You want optimism and excitement? Here it is: On Saturday morning, Steve Pikiell and the Rutgers basketball team is working through an open practice for season ticket holders. Last year was very educational and a lot of fun. This year I’m bringing my son with me. After that, I’ll probably check the score of the football game and that’s about it. Oh, you’re here for a score prediction. This one is gonna be ugly. Maryland 44 Rutgers 7
Jim Hoffman: I never thought that writing for On the Banks would be a chore, but having to post on the weekly prediction has become the worst sort of drudgery. Its like having to go to dinner with your crazy relatives where you KNOW no good will come of it. Rutgers’ football team has absolutely imploded, and I don’t think there is anyone in the tri-state area who thinks they have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning. The failings on both sides of the ball are appalling, and I don’t see it getting better as the opposition gets progressively tougher for the rest of the season. Dave, I’ll be joining you on Saturday at the open practice at the RAC and dreaming 2019 will be better for the Scarlet Knights. That’s my prediction. For the game, it’ll be Maryland 41 Rutgers 17.
Nick Kosko: The only positives I can offer Rutgers fans is that Art Sitkowski has shown glimpses of what can make him a longtime starter for the Scarlet Knights. Plus, Rhaheem Blackshear is an absolute playmaker, but unfortunately, he can not do it all himself. Other than that, everything else needs to be looked at for the remainder of the season and beyond. Regardless of what anybody thinks of Chris Ash as the head coach, he’s not going anywhere. The buyout is too much and barring something unforeseen, expect him on the sidelines in 2019. I find it fascinating that no one talks about defensive coordinator Jay Niemann. I, like most, thought his initial hire was solid. I know depth issues and inexperience have plagued the defense, but how does a team, with a defensive minded head coach, the same DC for three seasons, look this bad? The offense changes regularly and they’ve had more bright spots this season. I can’t honestly predict any sort of win for the remainder of the season; I didn’t even pick a win last week, but what I can say, Jay Niemann should be coaching for his job. Maryland 45, Rutgers 14
Patrick Mella: Maybe in a weird way it’ll be good for the team to play away from home. I’m really just grasping for something, anything here but it might be nice for the team to play in front of a stadium with you know more than 10,000 people there? Will it change the outcome? No. But a change of scenery could spark some sort of energy in a team that (much like this prediction) is struggling to find anything to hold on to. Of course playing on the road could have the exact opposite effect and Rutgers loses by 105 points. Side note: every week we hear this team had a good week of practice. My God- could you imagine what they’d look like after a bad week of practice? Ok back to prediction time. New week, same result. The Rutgers offense struggles to move the ball, the few times they do, costly penalties negate any kind of momentum. Sitkowski continues to show some flashes of improvement but still struggles turning the ball over. Defensively buckle up for more poor tackling, penalties, a panache for giving up huge plays and a general lack of intensity. Sorry folks. Maryland 52, Rutgers 14
David Anderson: Art Sitkowski is starting to “get it”. Seeing a few moments where it clicks has been a joy in an otherwise brutal last few weeks. Eddie Lewis is a great check down option and there’s a bunch of tight ends who can be effective, so there is a chance that Rutgers flashes a passing attack down the stretch here. Of course the offense needs to block better. The defense also may play more inspired if the O is scoring more points, plus get more rest.
The biggest Maryland strength is the biggest Rutgers weakness. Because of that, if RU can contain the running game like they did during the 2017 matchup, this will be a lot more interesting than the 24 point spread. If not, it may be a lot worse. So I will go with what will be the prediction probably every week for a while. Maryland 41, Rutgers 17
Aaron Breitman: This matchup has been the most unpredictable of any opponent Rutgers has played annually since joining the Big Ten in 2014. The series is tied 2-2 and three of the four games have been wild, back and forth contests. Maryland has dealt with so many off the field issues this season but has performed admirably and come into this game with a 3-2 record overall. They destroyed Minnesota 42-13 and beat #9 Texas, while crapping out against Temple, losing by three touchdowns. Motivation should be high in this game, as Maryland is looking for payback after last season’s defeat and it is Homecoming in College Park. The biggest factor in the game is that Maryland has the fourth best rushing attack in the Big Ten and Rutgers is awful at defending the run. This series has the potential to become a true rivalry down the road, but this year’s edition will be the most lopsided so far and I’m just sad. Maryland 52 Rutgers 16
Are we being too negative or just being realistic? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section, as well as your prediction for Saturday’s game.