Photo Credit - Scott Wyden

IU Football Game Day: Rutgers Primer and Prediction

Two teams coming off major week one upsets meet on Saturday.

And of course only one will maintain their early momentum.

Indiana stunned Penn State with a furious fourth quarter rally and overtime game-winning two-point conversion.

Rutgers swarmed Michigan State, forcing seven turnovers in an impressive opening act for new head coach Greg Schiano.

Who is a contender and who is a pretender in the Big Ten East?  We are about to find out.

No. 17/19 INDIANA (1-0) at RUTGERS (1-0)

  • Kickoff:  3:30 p.m. ET
  • Location:  SHI Stadium (no fans), Piscataway, New Jersey
  • Television:  FS1
  • Series:  Indiana leads the series 4-2 (last meeting: IU 35-0 in 2019)
  • Odds:  Indiana is a 13 point favorite
  • Weather at kickoff:  46 degrees, wind 2 mph, 0% chance of precipitation.

Tom Allen is 19-20 and now in his fourth full season as the head coach at Indiana.

Greg Schiano is in his second stint as Rutgers head coach. He posted a 68-67 record with the Scarlet Knights from 2001-11 before taking over as Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach from 2012-13.


See Also:

TALE OF THE TAPE 

BTN GAME PREVIEW

(Note:  The game has been moved to FS1)

WHEN RUTGERS HAS THE FOOTBALL

Under new offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson the Scarlet Knights run a spread offense with an emphasis on playing up-tempo.

Indiana fans will remember Rutgers quarterback Noah Vedral, who started against the Hoosiers for Nebraska in 2019.  The 6-foot-1 dual-threat quarterback was a serviceable 18-for-29 through the air against Michigan State, with 169 passing yards to go with a touchdown and in interception.  A major threat to escape the pocket, Vedral added 24 rushing yards and another score.

Vedral spread the ball around to six different receivers last weekend with Bo Melton and Aron Cruickshank leading the way among wideouts with 4 catches apiece.  Melton is thought to be the top receiver and will likely see IU corner Tiawan Mullen much of the day.  Cruickshank is a good athlete and was an All-Big Ten special teams player at Wisconsin last year.

Tight end Jovani Haskins transferred from West Virginia was an all Big XII selection two seasons ago and should make an impact as well.

Rutgers’ offensive line is suspect, leading them to get the ball out quick via a short passing game.  Indiana’s defensive tackles are team strength, and disruptive penetration by the Hoosiers could have an impact.

Isaih Pacheco is back and the lead ball carrier in the running game.  He had 19 carries for 61 yards against MSU and has a respectable 4.5 yards per carry average for his career.

WHEN INDIANA HAS THE FOOTBALL

Rutgers’ defense was the story in their week one win.  The unit forced 7 turnovers (5 fumbles, 2 interceptions) — a result that reflects their new head coach.  The Scarlet Knights only had seven takeaways total in nine conference games last season.

Schiano’s defenses at Rutgers during his first stint were known for being aggressive, with multiple blitzes while mixing up coverages play to play. An emphasis on speed and a ball-hawking mentality will give the Scarlet Knights a completely different look than what IU saw in recent years.

Rutgers stifled MSU with 12 tackles for a loss, while allowing  just 1.6 yards per carry and 60 yards rushing overall.

The leader of the defense is middle linebacker Tyshon Fogg. Last season’s leading tackler led the way with 14 stops on Saturday.

A couple key transfers, defensive lineman Michael Dwumfour (Michigan),and safety Brendon White (Ohio State) were impressive in week one.

Indiana’s offense struggled for most of the game against Penn State until the late rally.

With its offensive line playing poorly both in the run and pass game, the Hoosiers managed just 211 total yards and held the ball for less than 20 minutes.

It will be interesting to see if quarterback Michael Penix, Jr. is able to shake off some rust, sustain drives and produce more big plays in week two.  With Rutgers likely dialing up the blitzes, Penix might need to attack via the run like he did late against Penn State.

PREDICTION

It feels safe to say that Rutgers probably isn’t going to force another 7 turnovers on Saturday.  If they do they will pick up another well earned victory.

It also feels relatively safe to predict that Indiana’s offense will be able to deliver a bit more production than it did against Penn State.

We think Indiana is the deeper and more talented team here.

While Schiano was a great hire, and long-term projects to be a real problem in the Big Ten East, the Hoosiers should be able to grind this one out and move to 2-0.

INDIANA 27

RUTGERS 17


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