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OTB Staff Predictions: Indiana At Rutgers

Is there any optimism for the Scarlet Knights to pull the upset?

NCAA Football: Rutgers at Indiana Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana visits Rutgers on Saturday in a Big Ten East matchup. It’s hard to call it a showdown after the past two weeks, as the Scarlet Knights were outscored 97-27 in losses to Kansas and Buffalo. Confidence is very low with the fan base and the same can be said with our contributors as well. Here are our predictions for this game.

Dave White: Call me crazy, but I think Rutgers has a chance in this one. After two weeks of hearing about 1-11, the team should be angry. And usually, even teams that do go 1-11 have some fight left in them somewhere, so let’s think of this game as the last stand at the Alamo (or High Point Solutions dot org dot com dot we have a problem but you have a solution dot edu Stadium). Rutgers has to know that if they want to have any kind of success at this point this season they have to win this game. And you know what? The Hoosiers at 3-1, but they aren’t exactly world beaters. They’ve beaten FIU, Virginia, and Ball State, and lost by two touchdowns to Michigan State. This game isn’t easy (when you’re a Rutgers fan, what game is easy) but it’s one that’s not super daunting (stop laughing). I say Rutgers comes out with their best effort of the season. I say they don’t get blown out. I say they’re in this game at least until the 3rd quarter. And if they’re not? Well, November 9 is almost here. Indiana 35 Rutgers 24

Jim Hoffman: OK, so this season, my optimism for the team has kicked me right in the teeth for two successive games. Those kicks have certainly gotten my attention. We have a porous offensive line, a defense that struggles to contain the pass, and a coaching staff that doesn’t seem to see how to best utilize the team. OK, OK, I get it. So, I don’t think Rutgers will beat the 3-1 Indiana squad on Saturday. And that is hard to say, as in order to look competitive, this is a team Rutgers needs to beat every year. But, not in 2018 they won’t. I think they will struggle to keep it close, but will fall in the end. Indiana 28 Rutgers 24

David Anderson: T.J. made a great comment during Lance’s podcast this week. Forget optimism, pessimism, whatever paradigm and just think of it this way; where would the betting line have to be for you to use your hard earned money to bet on RU? Of course that’s the same hard earned money that is used in donations, tickets, parking, food at the game, or things that have nothing to do with Rutgers Football like gifts for your wife to make up for how upset you are each Saturday. I know that at this point (and one game can drastically change perception) if I bet on Rutgers to keep this game close and they get blown out, I would have no one but myself to blame. You can count on one hand the number of signs that could even be leading indicators of success, nevermind sure signs of progress. There is no reason at this point to be sold on the fact that the team is ready to turn it around.

I’ve never felt more comfortable with my predicted score. Rutgers defense should give up less big plays than the last two weeks, but probably will force less three and outs. Even if Rutgers offense looks competent, functional, or whatever other adjective you prefer, Indiana has a good defense. The amount of improvement required to make this a game is tremendous, so I don’t see Rutgers winning. Of course it COULD happen as divisional games are always a crapshoot. Until Rutgers makes me a believer that they want to play a football game and turn it into a dogfight, the dice are a little too weighted against them though. Indiana 40 Rutgers 17

Nick Kosko: In year’s past, I’d say Rutgers has a decent shot against Indiana. After all, they are 2-2 lifetime, including that crazy comeback on the road back in 2015. However, nothing in the last three games gives me any confidence in the offense to score points. I understand the Hoosiers haven’t played the big boys, aside from Michigan State, but they can put big numbers up on the scoreboard. It could be another tale of the Rutgers defense being unable to stop the run game. In this case, it’s Stevie Scott. He leads the way with 406 yards on the ground and 3 TD. He is also averaging five yards a pop and for a Rutgers defense that has been giving up big chunks, that could be a recipe for disaster. Indiana will spread the ball around with quarterback Peyton Ramsey but he’s not necessarily going to air it out down field but the offense with him will get guys in space. However, against this porous Scarlet Knights defense, they could open things up.

I already advocated for Art Sitkowski to start for the rest of the year. The offense won’t get any better with a quarterback change so they’ll have to deal with what they have. Maybe the coaching staff can finally put something together that will ease the offense into easy yards but it’s hard to be confident. Rutgers might keep this one close in the beginning like last week but Indiana just has more firepower at the moment. A competitive game will at least prevent a tailspin end to the season...for now. Indiana 35, Rutgers 14

Aaron Breitman: Indiana has played relatively well this season, but has been missing their top rusher and are playing their first road game in four weeks. Even in Ash’s first season when Rutgers went 2-10, the Scarlet Knights only lost to the Hoosiers team that went bowling by just 6 points at home. Even so, there isn’t a lot to be optimistic with this football team right now. The offense has been stagnant, the defense has been porous and the intensity level of the entire team has been low. If this team has any pride at all, this game would be a good time to show it. After losing to Indiana 41-0 last November and with the horrible start to this season, making a statement at home when most fans have given up on this team would be huge. Sadly, I don’t see it happening. Indiana 48 Rutgers 12

Let’s us know what you think will happen in this game in the comment section.