The Scarlet Knights are preparing to hose Iowa in their Big Ten opener for the 2022 season.
The game is officially sold out and set to kickoff at 7:00 PM ET. The atmosphere will be electric and this is something Rutgers needs to feed off. Will it be enough to will the team to victory?
Our staff has made predictions for the upcoming game below.
Greg Patuto: The non-conference portion of the schedule is over. The Big Ten gauntlet begins on Saturday night. The good news is that Rutgers took care of business and was able to navigate the first three weeks without a loss. The bad new, the offense scored nine points (touchdown on defense) and totaled 201 yards.
The total is set at 34. We all know what kind of game we are expecting. Give me a lot of Adam Korsak and Tory Taylor in this one. Something will have to give. Will Rutgers be able to get anything going against the elite Iowa defense or will Spencer Petras continue his strong play on the road? Let’s not forget that Rutgers can play a little defense themselves.
Previews are out and discussions have been had so I will not get into it too deep but as of now, Rutgers has to prove they can win this type of game. Is it possible? Of course. The Iowa offense has left plenty to be desired. I talked with Black Heart Gold Pants and made a score prediction of 23-10. This could be the night that the Scarlet Knights prove they can win this type of game but we have to see it first. Iowa 23, Rutgers 10.
David Anderson: Time to put up or shut up. Rutgers will have the home crowd, Iowa having traveled halfway across the country after a marathon game last week, and the novelty of this being the first big game in a while. Both teams have bad offenses despite being conservative thus far alongside good defense and special teams units. I don’t think much of that will matter. There are some stubborn coaches in the Big Ten, but these are the two biggest. The Iowa fan base has zero confidence in their offensive coaching staff at this point.
This game to me comes down to which coaching staff is going to be willing to take some (even moderate) risks first. Starting fast is great, but Rutgers led Michigan 17-0 in 2020 which caused the Wolverines to completely abandon their game plan, change QBs, and things got wild. Both these teams seem to have enough internal fortitude not to get overwhelmed by the moment, which is why I think the team that sees their coaches playing to win (rather than just not lose) should have the energy. I don’t know which coach that is. If they both open things up, I’ll be shocked and it will come down to turnovers. Prior to last week, I would have put more faith in Schiano, but after last week I probably have to side with Kirk Ferentz with what Iowa did against Nevada and his career-winning record. Since I have to actually make a pick I’ll guess (guess) that Rutgers goes up early, Iowa decides to actually take some risks, and then makes a red zone stop in the final minutes after Rutgers makes some adjustments. Again, I am hoping to be wrong. Iowa 17, Rutgers 13.
Lawrence Krayn: I’m taking Rutgers. It’s great to be back after road trips to Boston and Philly for our first two road games, and I’m excited about the atmosphere that we are going to see on Saturday. I can’t remember the last time Rutgers was undefeated and had a night game against an opponent they could actually be competitive against. I expect the crowd to be electric and the players to be energized.
Both these offenses have struggled mightily this season, and I don’t expect this to be a high-scoring game. While I do think the Hawkeyes have an edge on Rutgers on paper, expect the Knights to open the offensive playbook up a bit this week and to feed off the environment. This is Iowa’s first road game of the season, and they have struggled against two of their three opponents at home. Rutgers on the other hand has played two tough road games and has found ways to win. The game could come down to turnovers, big plays, and special teams. This thing could go either way, and I’m looking forward to being able to get loud on 3rd downs in a great autumn defensive struggle. Rutgers 14, Iowa 10.
Cara Sanfilippo: I am very excited to be back to what is hopefully an electric atmosphere on Saturday night. I hope that energy, and a crowd that is excited to potentially have the Scarlet Knights secure their first B1G win of the season. This is going to be a battle of the defenses, as evidenced by the current over/under of 34.5. Wild, but neither team has shown any strength on offense. I have been hoping all along that Gleeson has been so conservative as to save the goods for the Big Ten with the element of surprise in his favor. I hope he proves me right and we start to see the playbook open for this one. As of now, I don’t know who else but Evan Simon to line up under center but let’s hope at least one of the two other scholarship quarterbacks is available. To me, it's going to come down to who wants it more and who is able to be a bit more creative in their offensive playcalling. Let’s let it all hang out under the lights and shock the Vegas oddsmakers. I’m going with Rutgers purely because I want them to be victorious. Rutgers 17, Iowa 13
John Catapano: Full disclosure: I started writing an article on how to exploit Iowa’s defense, with the premise that you have to run against them to beat them. I scrubbed through replays I could find online and it appears the Hawkeyes’s main weakness is being susceptible to runs of four and five yards up the middle, right at their interior defensive line. Well, if this is their weakness... my goodness (see image below of total Team D). I just don’t see Rutgers winning a game against a Kirk Ferentz team without the ability to push the ball down the field. Evan Simon gives me little confidence. My lone hope is that OC Gleeson dives deep into his playbook and utilizes Cruickshank, Youngblood, and Rochelle to their fullest potential, to at least make the Hawkeyes run a bit for their tackles. The highlight of this game will be the two All-American punters. I’ve been here before: Winnable game, miserable result. Prove me wrong Rutgers. Iowa 16, Rutgers 3.