It’s only the third game of the 2019 campaign, but Saturday’s game against Boston College puts Rutgers at a crossroads for this season and the Chris Ash era. It’s really a must win for this team to have a chance at making significant improvement in Ash’s fourth season. They’ve lost its last fourteen games against power five opponents. Boston College comes in as slightly more than a touchdown favorite, despite being embarrassed at home last weekend against Kansas. They’ll be looking to dish out the same against Rutgers and have 12 players on its two deep from New Jersey to do it with. With Artur Sitkowski officially starting, whether he can show some growth in his game becomes a major story line as well. Our staff give their thoughts on what we think will happen on Saturday.
Dave White: I have a weird, weird feeling about this game. It’s the most important game in the Chris Ash era and despite Ash’s coach’s talk, he knows it and the team knows it. I expect them to come out fired up and hand the ball off as much as possible to control the game and keep it close. This game—to the Scarlet Knights—is going to be all about field position and holding on to the ball to keep the defense fresh and the score down to a manageable deficit. That said, it’s Rutgers and its Chris Ash. Boston College can put up points for sure. They might even be a quick strike team. There are too many weapons. So, as much as I want to pick a Rutgers win, I can’t, until they show me otherwise. Seven days ago I had this as a blowout and now my mind is trying to play tricks on me. This isn’t an Al Skinner BC team—they can score. Rutgers can’t. Boston College 42 Rutgers 10.
David Anderson: Speaking of feelings, I texted Aaron before to the Iowa game that I unconsciously felt the same way that I did prior to the Kansas game last year. My gut was right as the opponent was not as good as expected and yet Rutgers was just terrible on the offense. Most college games or more of a toss up than we think IF both teams have competent coaching and quarterback play. However, there is absolutely no reason to believe Rutgers has an edge or even average output in either of those areas against an “average” BC team, without the wildcard of a gunslinging McLane Carter. As I’ve said before, I think Art could be average long term but you don’t all of a sudden go from no pocket presence one week to magically chucking the ball all over the yard even with nine men in the box. The Eagles may not be as good as we thought, but they already got their wake-up call and will deliver what is now the norm in college football; 28-31 points. Hopefully Rutgers can join that party sooner than later. Boston College 30, Rutgers 13.
Adam Ross: I don’t want to be optimistic about this team. I don’t want to look at BC’s loss to Kansas last week and say “hey, they look beatable!”. I don’t want to get my hopes dashed again... but I’m gonna do it anyway. Heck, this is going to be the last chance to do that for a while. The Knights’ strength is the running game. BC is giving up 214 yards per game on the ground. Our defense should be able to hold its own again a bottom-tier ACC team. Let the running game keep the offense on the field, if nothing else to give the defense a breather for more than 90 seconds. Rutgers 16, Boston College 14.
Danny Burrick: With Rutgers having two weeks to prepare for this game, they should be well rested and ready to go out and fight. Now will they? Rutgers has been known to not start games with the highest of intensity and have it fade even more as the game progresses. This game will be close until the half and then Rutgers will begin to show signs of being worn out which will allow Boston College to capitalize and ultimately come out on top. Boston College 24, Rutgers 10
Patrick Mella: I could give you statistics to illustrate why I think Rutgers will lose this game. But it comes down to one simplified truth. This is a bad Rutgers football team, even by Rutgers standards. And sadly enough, it doesn’t take a Power 5 juggernaut to take this Rutgers team down. BC is a mediocre team at best but before the fan base jumps me, let me say I’d kill for Rutgers to be mediocre. The defense looks like it’s regressed from last season and the offensive is as inept as ever. If Carter is able to suit up, which does not seem likely, I think they have a punchers chance. If Art plays all four quarters I think their fate is sealed. Boston College 35, Rutgers 10.
Aaron Breitman: Two reasons I’m skeptical that Rutgers can win this game is A.J. Dillon and Anthony Brown. I think BC head coach Steve Addazio is going to try and beat Rutgers the old fashioned way by running it down their throats. The RU defensive line hasn’t proven to be able to generate pressure in the gaps on a consistent basis. Giving up big plays in the run game was a major issue last year, at times this season and they’ve traditionally struggled against dual threat QB’s. Add in that Brown will be extra motivated to prove his home state school wrong by not offering him a scholarship and BC most likely angry after a bad loss to Kansas, I just think this will be more of the same that we’ve seen in the previous 15 games against power five teams. If Rutgers doesn’t start fast, it could get ugly in a hurry. Boston College 38 Rutgers 9
Fred Gaudios: It feels like the Rutgers Football-related news since the Iowa game has been a downward trickle of depression. As we know, last week BC got blown out at home by Kansas, and is likely extra motivated to come into Jersey and return the favor at Rutgers. Last night, we learned Carter is definitively out, and Sitkowski is in at QB. I hope Art does well, but I just don’t see enough here to predict a Rutgers victory. BC can run the ball very well, which, in doing the math, is one measure of competent offensive production above what we can likely provide. I’m surprised to see an over/under line in the mid-to-upper-50s for this game, this usually means odds makers think both teams can score points. I’m not so sure we can, but I hope I am wrong. Boston College 27, Rutgers 10.
Cara Sanfilippo: I wish I could say I think Rutgers will win, especially because I have season tickets and will be at the game Saturday. I think these kids work hard, and they deserve to get a morale booster. With Artur Sitkowski starting, he still has not shown any presence in the pocket or chemistry with his receivers, so I fear the offense will be mostly stagnant and the defense will tire out. Same old story. I do think, they will come out with something to prove, so it will be a bit closer than some of my colleagues are predicting. Prove me wrong, Rutgers, please. I will be there to support either way, but at least make it interesting. Boston College: 24, Rutgers 13.
Have we lost too much faith and too negative? Is Adam a prophet? Let us know your thoughts on Saturday’s matchup in the comment section.