Rutgers returns home for a Week 7 showdown with Michigan State. This is a must-win game if Rutgers wants a chance to get to a bowl game. Will the Scarlet Knights be able to get it done?!
Below, check out how our staff at OTB sees this game playing out.
Greg Patuto: Man contributors over here wore Scarlet glasses and picked Rutgers to beat Wisconsin so expect plenty of optimism heading into this week. The difference is, this is a game Rutgers has to win and will be favored to do so. The Scarlet Knights are not ready to take a step up in competition. That’s fine. The good news is, over the next two weeks, Rutgers has a chance to get to 6-2. We won’t put the cart before the horse so let’s focus on the Spartans.
Michigan State is down right now. It is a reeling team heading into this game. Both sides think they can win and neither side likes the other. Katin Houser is expected to get the start under center for the Spartans. He is a redshirt freshman who has played just nine snaps this season. This could be good news for an elite defense in Piscataway. Offensively, it is hard to be sold on Rutgers. It has shown an inability to adjust when needed. The game plan has been to run the ball and if that goes south, so does production.
This is a game I have gone back-and-forth on since May and it is finally here. After watching six weeks of football, it is hard to be confident in either side but right now, Rutgers defense could be the difference in a low-scoring affair. Rutgers 20, Michigan State 17.
Matt Forno: Fans of both the Spartans and Scarlet Knights are coming into this game believing they will win, as they should. For the second straight week, Rutgers will face an opponent coming off a bye. Will this be a factor? Possibly. MSU is expected to start redshirt freshman, Katin Houser, which I believe is the correct move for the Spartans. This game will come down to which team can run the ball more effectively. I truly believe the Rutgers defense, especially the front seven, is better than MSU’s. However, Rutgers is going need to the offense to do SOMETHING this game. When the script for Rutgers goes as plan, they win games. Control the clock, sustain drives, protect the ball. The defense will only continue to get better if the offense stays on the field. When the offense goes off script, things get muddy. Win the game. Get to 5-2. Fans will be very excited! KEEP CHOPPIN! Rutgers 20 Michigan State 13.
John Dean: This is a huge game for the Scarlet Knights. Homecoming weekend facing a team that has not lived up to its usual standard for the season. Getting to 5-2 would be massive for the Scarlet Knights chances to make a bowl game. However this game has me very nervous. Michigan State has not quit on the season despite all the outside noise about their program. They have a more talented team than Rutgers according to the recruiting rankings, and if they can fix their turnover issues they have a defense that can carry them to wins. Also the curse of the backup quarterback still lingers against Rutgers. I hate to be the debbie downer of the group, but my prediction is the Spartans win this one in a heartbreaker. Nothing would make me happier than to eat my own words. Michigan State 24, Rutgers 21.
Francis Hearne: All week Rutgers Nation has been buzzing about the importance of this weekend; bowl aspirations, homecoming, and recruiting visits. It looks like we will get a rainy Saturday in Piscataway, AKA football weather. I think that plays into both team’s strengths. Michigan State can run the ball and they do play pretty solid defense. A similar style to Rutgers, but I believe Rutgers is superior in both aspects. Michigan State’ offense is turnover prone and the Scarlet Knights will have to take advantage and set up some short fields for the offense to work, and it would be huge to see the defense cash one in themselves. Whether we see incumbent starter Noah Kim or freshman Katin Houser make his first career start under center, I don’t think the game plan changes a ton. Schiano will have to lean on the defense. The offense and special teams will paly complimentary football. CHOP for 60 minutes and this team is 5-2! Rutgers 24, Michigan State 16.