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OTB Staff Predictions: Rutgers at Indiana

Our contributors make their picks ahead of Saturday’s game.

NCAA Football: Indiana at Rutgers Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers travels to Bloomington, Indiana with an opportunity to earn its second Big Ten win of the season and keep the Hoosiers winless in conference play. It would be a satisfying result if it happens, but the odds are not in the Scarlet Knights’ favor. They are about one touchdown underdogs and have been outscored 76-0 in their last two trips to Memorial Stadium. How many starters will miss this game or be playing with an injury is unknown, but it is likely to be a factor. Of course, Indiana has had a terrible season and this is definitely a game Rutgers can win. Our contributors try to make sense of it all and make their predictions here.

Dave White (4-5): Pentatonix is an American a Capella group that very much reminds me of the group that sang the theme to “Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?”. They were aptly named Rockapella because, of course, they rocked. Pentatonix, however, is a way more popular group than Rockapella, even with a not as cool name. Pentatonix is extremely popular at Christmas time because they have released a ton of Christmas albums, and only seem to sing Christmas songs, unless you count their appearances on some show called The Sing-Off. They are kind of catchy if you are into that sort of thing. Rutgers 24 Indiana 16

Sean McGrath (3-2): I do not have a good feeling about this game at all. The entire team seems to be banged up and the morale cannot be very high after last Saturday. This will be one of those games where we make a backup look like Joe Montana which seems to happen time and time again. I see this game not being close as Rutgers sleep walks through the first half. Indiana 24 Rutgers 9

Fred Gaudios (7-2): My heart tells me to pick Rutgers in the mild upset, but I’m not going to. I think Rutgers is too banged up physically to win this one on the road, with big question marks at skill positions. I think the team also has to be a bit of a mess mentally right now, coming off that 52-3 shellacking at the hands of Wisconsin. To be totally, completely, 100 percent transparent, I am extremely bullish on the long-term prospects for this football team. It’s the rest of this season I’m worried about. These are still (mostly) Chris Ash’s players, and what’s happening right now is kind of what I expected—Rutgers has been at too much of a recruiting disadvantage for far too long, and you see that as the team wears down a little bit later in the year. Brighter days are ahead, I’m just not sure Saturday is going to be one of them. Prove me wrong, Rutgers. Indiana 31 Rutgers 10

Art Stein (7-2): This is a very hard game to prognosticate. As of Thursday morning we still don’t know who will trot out at center for either team. Indiana’s top running back is questionable with an ankle injury and if he can’t go, then they are down to walk-ons. At the end of the day, this is two struggling football teams meeting: one for a possible bowl game and the other for developing an upward trend going into the 2022 season. All things being equal, Rutgers should want this one much more and has shown itself to be a decent road team. Rutgers 28 Indiana 16

Lawrence Krayn (2-3): Very torn. I like Rutgers to bounce back against a beatable opponent and keep their bowl hopes alive. On the other hand, I like a desperate Indiana team with some key players finally returning from injury, at home and playing for respect. Rutgers is beat up physically. I’m not sure I’m ready to buy into the idea that they are done mentally. Had they lost to Illinois, I might have said differently. The Wisconsin game got out of hand after several blunders by Rutgers, and then the Knights were just man-handled, as expected. I’m not sure I’m ready to extrapolate the second half of that game to the whole team’s mental state. I don’t know. Its a toss-up to me. How about this?: I picked Rutgers to lose to Illinois, and the Knights proved me wrong. Maybe its a good omen. Indiana 31 Rutgers 17

David Anderson (6-3): This is one of the toughest predictions I can remember making in my years on the site because even if we don’t know the score often we have some semblance of what to expect. We don't know which of any of three quarterbacks will be starting for either team due to injuries, and Gavin Wimsatt should get some time, so seven different quarterbacks at least could be the difference maker in this matchup. Last week I was hoping for win but this week will be extremely disappointed if we see their 3rd or 4th dud of the year. No need to talk film, this game will come down to which QB plays, plays well at all, and if none do, which teams wants it more. I think Indiana just has more juice, but I hope I am wrong. Indiana 27 Rutgers 16

Aaron Breitman (6-3): Indiana has beaten Rutgers five seasons in a row and I have a hard time thinking the streak won’t extend to six after Saturday. Yes, the Hoosiers are 0-6 in Big Ten play and are the biggest disappointment in the East division this season. Who will be under center for Indiana is also in question. Noah Vedral declared himself healthy enough to play this weekend, but we’ll have to wait and see how many snaps he actually gets on Saturday. Gavin Wimsatt should get an opportunity to play just 144 miles away from his hometown of Owensboro, Kentucky and his performance could certainly change the complexion of the game. However, it is unfair to count on him to be the difference. The Scarlet Knights have been hard to figure out, but the amount of injuries this team is dealing with leaves serious questions about their current depth. That unknown in the overall impact that injuries has on this team, but with the certainty we know it is an issue to some degree is the biggest reason I am not confident the Scarlet Knights leave Bloomington with a W. Indiana 28 Rutgers 13

B Vincent P (5-3): Rutgers demonstrated they could not do absolutely anything on offense last week against Wisconsin. UW was not a game I picked them to win. This week they have Indiana. If you had asked me two weeks ago if I would be bullish on RU winning this game after the Illinois victory, I would say emphatically yes. Now, I am not bullish on them winning any of the remaining games (let’s not even consider a victory at Happy Valley). I am less concerned about the Penix Jr. as the Hoosier QB, though he torched the Scarlet Knights last year. My concern grows, like every RU Fan weekly, due to RU’s inability to move the ball on offensive and mostly regarding their anemic, dare we say nonexistent, passing game. Don’t be surprised if you see more doses of Gavin Wimsatt, as he can now maintain his redshirt playing the final 3 games of the season. This is the game offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson needs to dial up his offensive imagination and have his team execute a few sandlot plays to catch IU off guard. Indiana is a 7 point favorite, which could easily be higher if you believe RU cannot score more that 7 points (hard to believe they can). I am going with the fact Schiano and Gleeson need this game. Remember RU on paper should not have been victorious against the Illini. Rutgers 24 Indiana 21

Greg Patuto (7-2): Despite an 0-6 start in conference play, Indiana remains a touchdown favorite over Rutgers heading into the weekend. The Hoosiers have been extremely disappointing after starting the season as a top-15 team in the nation. With that being said, they should be able to make it six in a row against the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers continues to struggle offensively and Noah Vedral is banged up heading into the game. He says he will be able to play even though some might be calling for backups. Even if we see a new face under center, the lack of experience might not help in the short-term. Is this a winnable game? Sure but coming off a 52-3 loss, it is hard to back the Scarlet Knights. Indiana 30 Rutgers 14

Chris Banker (4-0): Boy, who could have seen this coming? Indiana, a 2020 AP Top-10 team led by stud quarterback Michael Penix Jr. and head coach/program savior Tom Allen is suddenly fighting to avoid postseason elimination in November at 2-7, resembling nothing like the, at times, other-worldly group we saw a year ago. Well, someone saw it coming. ”Regression is the Hoosiers’ biggest opponent in 2021 ... Penix Jr., while supremely talented, is injury-prone, and hasn’t completed a full season yet at Indiana ... Indiana is a completely different team by the time this [Rutgers] game rolls around.” If I were a gloating man, I would draw attention to my Nostradamus-like talent. However, I’m not, so I won’t. At the end of my preseason piece, however, I call for a “minor upset” of the Hoosiers on the road. I’m not sure if a Scarlet Knights win would still qualify as such at this point, but I’m sticking with the result. Greg Schiano gets his group back on track with some offensive trickery, multiple quarterbacks (Gavin Wimsatt, anyone?), and a defense that resembles the one we saw in the season’s first three games than the one we’ve seen in recent weeks. Rutgers 35 Indiana 17

Six picked Indiana while four of us picked Rutgers. Too optimistic or not skeptical enough? Let us know your thoughts and picks in the comment section.