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2021 Rutgers Football Game Preview #10 at Indiana

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The Scarlet Knights will travel to Bloomington Saturday to take on the Hoosiers.

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

How To Watch, Stream & Listen

Rutgers (4-5; 1-5) at Indiana (2-7; 0-6)

Where: Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, IN

Kick-off: Saturday, November 13 at Noon ET

Weather: 41 degrees, cloudy with an 8% chance of rain, 10 mph winds

TV: BTN with Cory Provus (play-by-play), Matt Millen (color), Elise Menaker (sideline)

BTN GameFinder

Stream: FOX Sports App

Radio: RWJBarnabas Health Rutgers Sports Network (WCTC 14-50-AM, WOR 710-AM, XM 387) with Chris Carlin (play-by-play), Julian Pinnix-Odrick (analyst) and Anthony Fucilli (sideline); WRSU 88.7 FM - Dylan Allen & Dennis Geissler

Current Spread: Indiana -7

Series History: Indiana leads 5-2, Indiana defeated Rutgers 37-21 last season.

Indiana SB Nation Site: The Crimson Quarry

Indiana Scouting Report

Statistical Leaders

Rutgers

Passing: Noah Vedral - 144-for-236, 61.0%, 1,493 yards, 7 touchdowns, 5 interceptions

Rushing: Isaih Pacheco - 475 yards on 125 carries, 3.8 ypc, 3 touchdowns

Receiving: Bo Melton - 43 catches for 473 yards, 11.0 ypc, 3 touchdowns

Defense: Olakunle Fatukasi - 81 tackles and 3.5 sacks, Max Melton - 2 interceptions

Indiana

Passing: Michael Penix Jr. - 87-for-162, 53.7%, 939 yards, 4 touchdowns, 7 interceptions

Rushing: Stephen Carr - 600 yards on 155 carries, 3.9 ypc, 6 touchdowns

Receiving: Peyton Hendershot - 38 catches for 481 yards, 12.7 ypc, 4 touchdowns

Defense: Micah McFadden - 55 tackles and 6.5 sacks, Josh Sanguinetti, Noah Pierre, Devon Matthews, Marcelino McCrary-Ball, Raheem Layne II - 1 interception

What To Watch For

When Rutgers has the ball

The fate of Rutgers depends on who is under center over the course of 60 minutes against the Hoosiers. Vedral was banged up against Wisconsin but is expected to start. Over his two years in Piscataway, Vedral has taken his fair share of hits and has been forced to miss some time.

While there have been some calls by fans to move Vedral to the bench, what comes next might not be as good.

While exciting because of the unknown aspect, Evan Simon or Cole Snyder do not have much experience and they haven’t done much in spot duty this season. Even Gavin Wimsatt, who is the future of the program under center, is not guaranteed to be productive right away. It does seem likely multiple or even all four quarterbacks will have a chance to make their mark on this game.

Rutgers is currently 11th in the Big Ten in both yards (327.2) and points (21.3) per game. They have scored a hair over 11 points per game in six Big Ten contests. There is a lack of explosiveness and the Scarlet Knights have been unable to get the run game going.

Isaih Pacheco and Kyle Monangai have been sharing a bit of the duties in the backfield over the last two weeks and this is something that should happen once again. The Hoosiers struggle defensively allowing 31.3 points per game. Despite a strong linebacking group, Indiana’s defense is vulnerable and Rutgers needs to be able to put together drives in this game.

Indiana is not a team that will outscore the Scarlet Knights unless they turn the ball over. This is how Wisconsin scored 52 points a week ago by forcing four turnovers. The Scarlet Knights need to take care of the ball and establish the run early on.

When Indiana has the ball

There is not much that has gone right for Indiana on the offensive side of the ball. Coming into the season, Michael Penix Jr. was expected to be one of the best quarterbacks in the conference but he has struggled with injuries once again.

Penix Jr. has been limited to just five games this season because of a shoulder injury. Jack Tuttle played two games before suffering a foot injury and the Hoosiers were forced to move to their third quarterback. Freshman Donaven McCulley was thrown into the fire and has actually performed well. Heading into the Rutgers’ matchup, Indiana will have multiple quarterbacks ready.

Tom Allen addressed the issue and said that both Penix Jr. and Tuttle have gotten reps during the week. This prepares Indiana to have options but it is unknown how snaps will be distributed. Either way, Rutgers should find some success because of the nature of Indiana’s offensive line.

In nine games, Indiana has allowed 23 sacks this season. The Hoosiers have trouble protecting the passer and display an inconsistent rushing attack. In Big Ten play, Indiana is averaging just 104 yards on the ground. This makes the team one-dimensional in its attack.

Indiana has trouble maintaining long drives and this is why Rutgers needs to take care of the ball. The only way for the Hoosiers to run away in this one is to be handed short fields on a regular basis.

Could Rutgers win this game?

Coming into the year, this was viewed as a definite loss but as the season went on, it became winnable. Indiana is a team struggling just as bad as Rutgers at the moment. While the answer might be yes, this is a winnable game — it’s hard to predict how this team will perform. A significant variable is injuries as we don’t know much about the health of several starters that left the game last week, including Olakunle Fatukasi.

Final thoughts

Rutgers has gone backwards in certain ways since 2020 and it has been a difficult year to watch at times. With that being said, the Scarlet Knights are hanging on by a thread when it comes to bowl eligibility. Rutgers finishes the season with what will be a likely road loss to Penn State followed by a major opportunity at home against Maryland. If Rutgers wins this one, it will set up a potential matchup at the end of the season for their bowl lives.