Another Saturday is approaching and Rutgers (1-4; 0-3) will face Indiana (3-2; 0-2) on the road for Homecoming in Bloomington. After keeping it close with Maryland midway through the second quarter last week, the Scarlet Knights ultimately saw the Terps run all over them the rest of the way en route to a 48-7 victory. The Hoosiers are coming off a bye week after giving Michigan State a difficult time in East Lansing, ultimately falling to them 40-31. Will Rutgers be able to give Indiana a legitimate challenge on Saturday, or will more of the same type of blowouts occur in what is looking like a lost season for the program? Our staff make their picks on what we think will happen.
Nick Kosko: No Art Sitkowski, no Raheem Blackshear, and no resemblance of an offense. It’s pretty much a recipe for disaster against an Indiana program that Rutgers, until recently, was regularly competitive against. The basic expectations for Rutgers within the Big Ten are: beat the fellow bottom feeders/middle of the pack teams (Maryland, Indiana, Purdue, Illinois, Northwestern, and Minnesota) and compete against the big boys: Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, and Wisconsin. It’s blatantly obvious, but it hasn’t been done aside from 2014 and parts of 2015 and ‘17.
I do like Nunzio Campanile. I appreciate he tried something different against Maryland and it brought some buzz to the stadium before the wheels came off. But with a limited offense, outmatched offensive and defensive lines, and lack of a passing defense, the Scarlet Knights are going to be up against it every single game. It certainly doesn’t bode well that these are the sentiments when they’re on the road against Indiana before playing the likes of Ohio State and Penn State. Indiana 49, Rutgers 7
Cara Sanfilippo: For the sake of these players, I wish I could predict a win. Maybe this will be the surprise of the season. However, I second everything that Nick mentions above, and add to that McLane Carter’s medical retirement announcement. The hits keep on coming for the Scarlet Knight football team. I do believe that Nunzio Campanile will do his best to bring some excitement to the offense, so hopefully we are able to get more than one touchdown on the board. Hopefully the missed short field goal by Justin Davidovicz was a fluke, and we can put some points on the board that way. However, Andy Buh couldn’t even get the advantage on defense of a team he just coached, so I do believe the score will get away from them in the second half again. Best of luck to the kids still out there playing for this team. Indiana 42, Rutgers 20
David Anderson: Indiana isn’t that good, but they have no glaring weakness. For Rutgers to win a game the rest of the way, they probably need to face a team that struggles against the run and just pound it until the other squad says “uncle.” Indiana won’t I don’t think. The Rutgers defense played a great half of football against the Hoosiers last year, but I don’t think they can shut them out all game which is close to what would be needed here. Indiana 38, Rutgers 10
Fred Gaudios: For each of the last two weeks, I’ve predicted Rutgers to perform much better than they actually performed. I honestly don’t see much hope for this season right now -- maybe we beat Liberty, maybe? -- but I hope I’m wrong. The shred of hope, if there is one, is that the new coaching staff has had a quieter week to prepare for Indiana (last week must have been super rough on everyone, players and coaches alike). But we continue to play without arguably our two best offensive skill players, and it’s an away game against a pretty decent team in Indiana, so my game prediction bears this into account. I wouldn’t be lying if I said I’m already looking forward to basketball season. Indiana 40, Rutgers 7
Dave White: Nunzio has me fired up after listening to a couple of his press conferences and while the talent is lacking, I think the fire is there. He only had a week to prepare for Maryland and less than that before two of his best offensive players decided to explore their options. He had more time for Indiana and I’m hoping the defense can be tightened up. I think this is a close affair. Indiana 27 Rutgers 18
Jason Spiro: Prediction . . . Pain.
Aaron Breitman: I will say no matter the score ends up being on Saturday and as difficult it was to watch the wheels fall off last week against Maryland, this is a likeable group to root for based on the extreme adversity they have dealt with and how Nunzio appears to be leading them. I’m interested to see what new wrinkles the offense utilizes this week and I loved seeing more aggressive play on special teams, which led to two blocks. However, the defense continues to surrender big plays and with a dual threat quarterback in Michael Penix, I don’t see that stopping against Indiana. The last time Rutgers visited Indiana they were embarrassed 41-0. I think this time the team will play harder, but the result won’t be too much better. Indiana 38 Rutgers 13
Are we too pessimistic or right on target? Let us know what you think of our picks and your predictions as well in the comment section.