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2023 Rutgers Football Game: Week 1 Preview vs. Northwestern

The Scarlet Knights will open the 2023 season on Sunday!

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

How To Watch, Stream & Listen

Northwestern at Rutgers

Where: SHI Stadium in Piscataway, NJ

Kick-off: Sunday, September 3 at 12:00 PM ET

Weather: 92 degrees, sunny skies with a 5% chance of rain, 8 mph winds

TV: CBS with Tom McCarthy (play-by-play), Jason McCourty (color), and Tiffany Blackmon (sideline)

Stream: Paramount+

Radio: Radio: RWJBarnabas Health Rutgers Sports Network (WFAN 101.9 FM/660 AM, Fox Sports New Jersey 93.5 FM/1450 AM) with Chris Carlin (play-by-play), Eric LeGrand and Mike Teel (analyst), and Anthony Fucilli (sideline); WRSU 88.7 FM - Dylan Allen & Alec Crouthamel; Audacy app, SiriusXM 84, Scarlet Knights app

Series History: Rutgers leads all-time 3-2; Northwestern won last matchup, 21-7, on Oct. 16, 2021

Northwestern SB Nation Site: Inside NU

Returning Statistical Leaders


Passing: Gavin Wimsatt - 65-for-145, 44.8%, 757 yards, 5 touchdowns, 7 interceptions

Rushing: Kyle Monangai - 445 yards on 109 carries, 4.1 ypc, 2 touchdowns

Receiving: Johnny Langan - 31 catches for 296 yards, 9.5 ypc, 1 touchdown

Defense: Deion Jennings - 87 tackles, Wesley Bailey - 3.5 sacks, Robert Longerbeam & Max Melton - 2 interceptions


Passing: Ryan Hilinski - 144-for-258, 55.8%, 1,644 yards, 6 touchdowns, 7 interceptions

Rushing: Cam Porter - 286 yards on 87 carries, 3.3 ypc, 2 touchdowns

Receiving: Bryce Kirtz - 19 catches for 212 yards, 11.2 ypc, 0 touchdowns

Defense: Bryce Gallagher - 100 tackles, Xander Mueller - 3 sacks & 2 interceptions

What To Watch For

When Rutgers has the ball

Just show something.

It has been talked ad nauseam about the inept abilities of the Rutgers offense last season. There is no need to rehash it but Kirk Ciarrocca needs to show fans something here.

Gavin Wimsatt will takeover as starting quarterback and have a loaded backfield and some new weapons on the outside. Johnny Langan is the team’s leading receiver returning but he should not be that this season. Both Jaquae Jackson and Naseim Brantley can make a difference right away. The running back room will be a focal point all year long.

Samuel Brown V helped Rutgers develop an identity last season before suffering an injury that kept him out for the rest of the year. If healthy, he has the ability to be a bell cow but the Scarlet Knights have other options as well. They will get back dual-threat Aaron Young as well, who brings the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. This was nonexistent in 2022. Kyle Monangai and Al Shadee-Salaam also played a role last season in different ways.

This is not to say that Rutgers will come out and score 40 points in this game but it is important that they get in the 20s and win the game. Even with a win, Rutgers scoring 14-17 points will not make fans feel good moving forward.

When Northwestern has the ball

It was an ugly offseason for Northwestern with plenty of turnover. David Braun will now take over as interim head coach with a tall task ahead of him this season.

The Wildcats hit the transfer portal and landed Ben Bryant from Cincinnati. This is an upgrade at the quarterback position but will it be enough to make up for losses? In each of the last two years, Northwestern has had an anchor at left tackle to lead the offensive line. Peter Skoronski, along with running back Evan Hull, is now in the NFL and it will be difficult to make up for those losses.

The arrival of Bryant means that the decision-making might be better but it does not make up for the lack of talent on the outside. Rutgers is a team that has struggled to get to the quarterback in recent years. It will return Mohamed Toure, the team’s sack leader in 2020 and 2021, from an injury this season. Along with Aaron Lewis, the defensive front for Rutgers should pin their ears back on Sunday.

Will Rutgers defense make an impact or will Northwestern weather the storm? This is an important storyline over the first quarter.

Could Rutgers win this game?

Let’s just say if Rutgers does not win this game, the sky will be falling in Piscataway. It is not every week that the Scarlet Knights are a touchdown favorite over another Big Ten team. All things considered, this feels like a must-win game for Rutgers.

READ MORE: Is Week 1 a ‘must-win’ game for Rutgers?

Final thoughts

College football is back. Week 0 was the appetizer needed before the big entree this weekend. The NCAA still crushes Labor Day weekend with games Thursday-Monday to make up for no NFL yet. For Rutgers fans, the 2023 season begins in a better way. There is no sweat of watching your team on Saturday. Sit back and enjoy the action from noon to after midnight. On Sunday, wake up and be excited for the beginning of Rutgers Football.