Okay, we are going to take a break from our weekly predictions post ahead of Rutgers taking on undefeated and 20th ranked Minnesota on Saturday. Instead, a few of our contributors wrote about positive developments we are hoping to see in this game. It’s been a difficult season to watch so far, but we are trying to look for progress any way possible. It’s Homecoming and hopefully Rutgers can put together solid performance in front of the home faithful. Here is what we hope for on Saturday.
David Anderson: A defensive or special teams touchdown. The defense and special teams have been doing plenty of heavy lifting these last few years, with nothing more difficult than this current campaign. If the D or ST can put up 6 points, that avoids the shutout and removes a little pressure on the offense while providing a lifelong story for those who were in on the play. Opponents have no reason to gamble against RU, but if there is a coach who simply has to do something crazy for no reason other than to do it, it’s P.J. Fleck. So perhaps this is the week the defense can get on the scoreboard themselves.
Danny Burrick: I’m hoping to see a run that breaks loose for a touchdown by Pacheco. After working hard all season, Isaih deserves to have a breakout play against Minnesota. By doing this, it will be a huge confident booster to him and his teammates allowing them to know that they are capable of scoring these big plays against top teams. Hopefully the offensive line can create a big enough hole for him to squeeze through to initiate the run.
Nick Kosko: Just anything positive offensively. Whether it’s a big play from Bo Melton or Isaih Pacheco, this offense needs SOMETHING. I understand that Art Sitkowski and Raheem Blackshear are not playing but interim head coach Nunzio Campanile has to pull out all of the creativity in the playbook. We saw a double reverse, flea flicker two weeks ago and if it weren’t for an under thrown ball, it would have been a walk in touchdown. Play ball control and time of possession and Rutgers could keep this one reasonable. One last thing, it’s a 3:30 pm kickoff and it’s homecoming. There has to be a decent crowd. That might be wishful thinking, but alumni coming back might be the saving grace of this game to just make the stadium look presentable. Side note, anyone else excited for these long sleeve throwback uniforms? I am.
Cara Sanfilippo: I will not be able to make it to the game this weekend, and so I am sad I am missing those old school uniforms Nick mentioned. In terms of what else I am hoping for, I would like to see at least one sustained series for a touchdown on the offense. Johnny Langan has been put into a bit of an impossible situation, and so for him and the kids still playing their hearts out, I would like a confidence boost in knowing they can move the ball against top B1G teams. Oh, and better tackling and less mistakes. But mostly the sustained drive.
Aaron Breitman: Make it to halftime within one score of the Gophers. I know, that’s both a sad hope to have and probably an unrealistic one at that. Unfortunately, at least this week, it’s simply insane to think Rutgers has a chance in this game. Minnesota is 6-0 and with half the coaching staff having coached in Piscataway previously, I can’t imagine them not playing full tilt most of the way. Remember, teams also travel with less players, so it’s not like they could sub in the true end of their bench anyway. This one could certainly get ugly, so I’m keeping it basic and hoping that the halftime score is such that Rutgers is within one score, allowing for the delusional fans among us to have a splinter of hope after the break.
What positives are you hoping to see from Rutgers this weekend? Also, be sure to follow us on twitter because we’ll provide therapy tweets if things get out of hand. Also here are tips for surviving the rest of the season.