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Rutgers Football Game #2 Preview vs. no. 17 Indiana

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The 1-0 Rutgers Scarlet Knights will host Indiana in Week 2.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 12 Rutgers at Indiana Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

How To Watch, Stream & Listen

Indiana at Rutgers

Where: SHI Stadium, Piscataway, New Jersey

Kick-off: Saturday, October 31 at 3:30 PM ET

Weather: 48 degrees, sunny with a 0% chance of rain, 4 mph winds

TV: FS1 with Joe Beninati (play-by-play), Matt Millen (color), and Coley Harvey (sideline)

Stream: FOX Sports App

Radio: RWJBarnabas Health Rutgers Sports Network (WCTC 1450-AM, WOR 710-AM, WENJ 97.3-FM, XM 195, Sirius 136) with Chris Carlin (play-by-play), Eric LeGrand, Ray Lucas, and Anthony Fucilli (sideline).

Current Spread: Indiana -11

Series History: Indiana leads 4-2; last season Indiana shutout Rutgers 35-0.

SB Nation Indiana site: The Crimson Quarry

Statistical Leaders

Rutgers

Passing: Noah Vedral - 18-for-29, 62%, 169 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception

Rushing: Isaih Pacheco - 61 yards on 19 carries, 3.2 ypc, 2 touchdowns

Receiving: Bo Melton - 4 catches for 50 yards, 12.5 ypc, 0 touchdowns

Defense: Tyshon Fogg - 14 tackles, Mohamed Toure - 2 sacks, Tre Avery and Brendon White - 1 interception

Indiana

Passing: Michael Penix Jr. - 19-for-36, 52.8%, 170 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception

Rushing: Stevi Scott III - 57 yards on 20 carries, 2.8 ypc, 2 touchdowns

Receiving: Miles Marshall - 4 catches for 46 yards, 11.5 ypc, 0 touchdowns

Defense: Micah McFadden - 11 tackles, Devon Matthews - 1 sack, Jamar Johnson and Jaylin Williams - 1 interception

What to watch for

When Rutgers has the ball

Rutgers has a chance to pick up their first ranked win since 2009 in this one. The offense premiered their new offensive style against Michigan State. Offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson has the offense moving quickly from the opening touchdown drive. Noah Vedral looked comfortable in the offense and that is encouraging moving forward.

The Scarlet Knights picked up a 38-27 victory in the season-opener. Now that we have had a week to celebrate and process the win, it is clear that Rutgers did not play a perfect game. They turned the ball over three times and committed nine penalties. Rutgers rushed for 106 yards but only averaged 2.6 yards per carry.

“It’s always good to start off with a victory,” head coach Greg Schiano said following their Week 1 victory. “We got a lot of work to do. We know that but this team, we learned about ourselves. I think we learned that we’ll work hard and we’ll stick together. We’ll take work from the practice field and be able to put it on the game field. It’s a good start but that’s really what it is, it’s a start. We won’t lose perspective on that.”

It is definitely a work in progress but 1-0 is 1-0. In this matchup against Indiana, the Scarlet Knights will have to establish the run. The Hoosiers allowed 250 rushing yards to Penn State in Week 1. This allowed the Nittany Lions to win the possession battle 40:25 to 19:35. Indiana was outgained 488-211 in their season-opening victory.

This is an Indiana defense that is vulnerable. There are holes that can be exploited and it is up to Rutgers to do so. Pacheco could be in line for a big game in this one. The offensive line for Rutgers held up better than expected in their game against the Spartans and that will be one of the biggest x-factors in this one.

The dual-threat abilities of Vedral will also come into play. He will get better week-by-week this season as he grows with this Rutgers’ offense.

When Indiana has the ball

Rutgers will have to weather the storm in this one. Indiana is coming off an emotional victory in Week 1 so this game could go one of two ways. The first way is that they have an emotional hangover and come out flat. The other way is that they ride the momentum they gained from the end of last week and break out offensively.

Indiana was not good offensively a week ago. They gained just 211 total yards and 41 on the ground. They were stuck on 20 points with 1:42 left in the fourth quarter. Penn State had just gotten the ball back and were in position to take three knees and win the football game. Instead, James Franklin decided to run the ball and Devyn Ford took it in for a score. This is where the Hoosier offense got rolling.

Penix Jr. led Indiana on a seven-play, 75-yards touchdown drive in one minute and 20 seconds. They converted the two-point conversion and went to overtime. They would eventually win the game on a Penix Jr. two-point conversion run.

“The bottom line is, this has been a huge opportunity for our program, a great opportunity to get recruits on the phone and parents on the phone,” Indiana head coach Tom Allen said. “Just talking to them, they all watched the game, they all are buzzing about how everything finished, the way we handled the finish, the way we were prepared for the finish, the way we executed everything at a at a very high level, at a very intense time and under a lot of difficult circumstances.”

Momentum is clearly shifting towards Indiana and it is up to Rutgers to take it back on their home field. This can be done on the defensive end.

The Rutgers’ defense will have to come up big once again. They forced seven turnovers against Michigan State and held the Spartans to just 50 yards on the ground. This is a unit that looked completely different under Schiano. The aggressive play will have to keep up if Rutgers wants to slow down the offense of Indiana.

Can Rutgers win this game?

We said that the beauty of the first game is that every team has the same record and there is hope surrounding each program. For Rutgers, there is still hope heading into Week 2. This has not happened in a long time. Hope will grow stronger each week but the Scarlet Knights are taking a step up in competition. Rutgers was a big underdog in Week 1 but to be fair, no one expected Michigan State to perform so poorly. In this matchup, we have seen Indiana and what they are able to do. Heading into the season, Indiana was considered a team that could make some noise in the Big Ten. If Rutgers did win this game, it would provide a huge spark moving forward.

Final thoughts

Indiana will be on the road in this one. The last two times they played in New Jersey, they were only able to defeat Rutgers by one score. The Scarlet Knights have played well on their home field in this matchup and that is what they are hoping for once again.

The goal for the season has not changed after one win. The only thing it does is change the expectation on wins from one or two to maybe two or three. If Week 1 in East Lansing was a measuring stick game, we will need a yard stick to measure this one. Indiana is ranked 17th in the nation so this game will really show where Rutgers is.