After a complete domination of Wagner at home last Saturday, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights have their best start to a season since 2014. They come into their game against Wisconsin this weekend as 14-point underdogs. Rutgers has never won a football game against the Badgers, being defeated in all four matches by a combined score of 168-30. Here are three things that Rutgers will need to do to change that.
1. Force Turnovers
Rutgers needs to create turnovers to punch above their weight class. Stolen possessions have helped the Knights in all four of their wins this season. Giving the offense extra chances to score will provide the offense with the spark it might need to start rolling against Big Ten competition. In addition, as the saying goes, the team that wins the turnover battle usually wins the game.
2. Pressure Tanner Mordecai
So far this season, Mordecai has been sacked six times. In addition, he has also thrown three picks compared to just two touchdowns. If Rutgers can pin the Wisconsin offense back with some sacks, it will help get the defense off the field quicker, and it will also give the offense a better field position to score with. With pressure, they can also force Mordecai to make some bad throws. These uncalculated throws could lead to interceptions which plays into key No. 1. In addition, when a quarterback feels stressed that can often throw off an entire team’s game plan.
3. Stretch the field
Now that the Knights are fully into their Big Ten schedule, expect them to open up the playbook a little bit and start to run plays that hit all different parts of the field. With that being said, Wisconsin has a very formidable front seven which could cause problems with Rutger’s running game. The best way to solve this for Rutgers is to stretch the field with their passing game and outside running game. This will help keep unnecessary defenders out of the box and it might generate some big plays for the Knights. At the very least, stretching the field will keep the defense honest which will open up holes for the Knights inside running game.