Rutgers Football cruised to a win against Wagner to improve to 4-1. The non-conference slate is now finished and the Big Ten gauntlet begins with a trip to Madison to take on Wisconsin.
Can the Scarlet Knights pull off a big upset?!
Below, check out how the staff at OTB sees this game playing out.
Greg Patuto: Rutgers fans, how do we feel? By the looks of it, many believe this is a chance for the Scarlet Knights to earn a signature victory. Where is that feeling coming from? Honestly, who knows. Rutgers is improved, especially on the defensive side of the ball, but nothing has shown that the offense can go on the road and score points against a team like Wisconsin. The Badgers look a bit different than previous years. They do not give off the same hard-nosed, rugged persona but it is still a rock-solid team that should come out of the West.
This game is conflicting because the score prediction will contradict what was said above. The Wisconsin defense has a few holes and hopefully Kirk Ciarrocca exploits them. Still, the Badgers should be able to outscore Rutgers in a slightly-higher scoring game than expected. Wisconsin 34, Rutgers 17
Jack Schocket: Wisconsin is a good team, but so is Rutgers, and this is potentially the biggest game of the Schiano 2.0 era thus far. A win would put the Scarlet Knights at 5-1 and do all but lock up a bowl bid for the season, but it won’t be easy to come by. Wimsatt is going to need to play well with both his arm and his legs, but the key to the game is Rutgers’ ability to run the ball. If the offensive line can create holes for Monongai, then this is seriously a winnable game. Defensively, the Scarlet Knights’ front seven needs to create pressure on Tanner Mordecai and stop running back Braelon Allen. Without Chez Mellusi for the rest of the season, Wisconsin’s rushing attack should take a hit on Saturday, and Rutgers needs to capitalize. Lean on the defense and don’t turn the ball over. Rutgers 24, Wisconsin 21
John Dean: I want to start off by saying hopefully I am wrong with this prediction. However, I think that Rutgers fans are starting to underestimate how good Wisconsin is. Wisconsin averages over 400 yards a game on offense, and has weapons all over the field. Its running back Braelon Allen is a star, and their quarterback Tanner Mordecai is a legitimately good starting college quarterback. Its wide receiver room goes five deep and it can make plays all over the field. Its offensive line is not as good as in past years, but it is still a quality Big Ten unit. On defense, Wisconsin has been susceptible to giving up plays through the air, but that's not the strength of the Rutgers offense. Rutgers should be able to have some success on the ground as the Wisconsin defensive front is not as stout in years past, but I’m not sure if that will allow Rutgers offense to keep up. Look for this game to play out similar to the Michigan game. Rutgers covers until late in the game. Wisconsin 28, Rutgers 13
Matt Forno: Here comes foolishly optimistic Forno!! I truly view this game as Greg Schiano’s most pivotal game in his second stint at Rutgers. Rutgers has struggled against the juggernauts of the Big Ten, that’s not a surprise. Wisconsin may not be included in that elite level, but Rutgers has struggled just as bad or worse against the Badgers since joining the conference. Luckily, I think this matchup is different for a number of reasons. Wisconsin is coming off of a bye, which doesn’t bode well for the Scarlet Knights, but Rutgers had the closest thing to bye last week (playing Wagner). The team isn’t rusty and I expect them to open up the playbook WAY more than what they showed against Wagner. Why? Wisconsin has the worst passing defense in the conference. It’s very possible Rutgers can find success throwing the ball downfield. Tanner Mordecai does worry me, but not because of his arm, because of his legs (he’s still a great passer). He’s been able to make some really great plays on designed QB runs and scrambling out of the pocket. Braelon Allen is a monster and must be respected, but so is the Rutgers front seven. This should be an exciting matchup and I do bELieve Rutgers wins this game. 5-1 5-1 5-1!!!! Rutgers 23, Wisconsin 20
Francis Hearne: Wisconsin has a good football team, I would not call them great but very good. Madison is a tough place to play, and it shows as Rutgers have not beaten the Badgers as a member of the Big Ten. Luke Fickell is an excellent coach. Braelon Allen might be the most talented running back in the country. I respect their team and program (which is more than I can say for some members of the Wisconsin faithful), but now it’s time for my (maybe delusional) optimism. Wisconsin is the worst passing defense in the Big Ten, giving up 256 ypg. Rutgers offensive line has only given up two sacks this season. Gavin Wimsatt has a huge opportunity to take another step forward and win one with his arm, and I love the potential for Jaquae Jackson hitting on those deep crossing routes. Jackson, Christian Dremel, and Kyle Monangai JUMP AROUND in the endzone, and Rutgers shocks the world. Rutgers 24, Wisconsin 17