Rutgers vs. Indiana Preview
Last Saturday, Rutgers got embarrassed by Wisconsin by a score of 52-3. A game that started with an Avery Young interception for Rutgers, ended with the Knights defense counting the seconds until the game finally ended. To put it simply, Rutgers did not show up. They struggled in every aspect of the game, and fans headed for the exits by halftime. Greg Schiano and the Knights have yet to give the home fans any reason to stay until the end of a Big Ten game as Rutgers is continually overmatched.
Noah Vedral completed just half of his 16 pass attempts for 81 yards and 2 interceptions. After his first interception, “We want Gavin” chants came from the student section, pleading with the coaching staff to put freshman QB Gavin Wimsatt in Vedral’s place. When Vedral returned to the field for the next drive, fans booed. It’s safe to say that fans have moved on from Vedral, and it's time for the coaching staff to follow suit.
According to NCAA rules, Gavin Wimsatt could play in every remaining game while still retaining his redshirt status. Indiana should be a winnable game, but if things go bad, it's time to let Wimsatt get experience. On a kickoff return against the Badgers, Aron Cruickshank suffered a nasty knee injury, and the Knights will be without their second receiver for the remainder of the season. Without the firepower of Cruickshank, Noah Vedral will not do well and Wimsatt should be the starter by the end of this weekend. This is assuming Vedral does suit up Saturday as he did leave the game with an injury against Wisconsin.
The way the Knights played against Wisconsin does not deserve further discussion, so it’s time to look forward to this week’s matchup against the 2-7 Indiana Hoosiers. Indiana is currently the last place team in the Big Ten, yet they are still favored over Rutgers by a touchdown.
This game is a must win for Rutgers if they want to be eligible for a bowl this season. They must win two of their final three games, and Indiana is the worst of their remaining three opponents. Allowing 31.3 points per game, the Hoosiers have been the easiest team in the Big Ten to score on. Whoever the Knights have at quarterback will have a great opportunity that they must take advantage of. At this point, I think fans are hoping it’s anyone but Vedral under center, making Saturday a chance for an inexperienced quarterback to make a statement.
In terms of offensive production, the Hoosiers are right behind the Scarlet Knights in points per game, with 20.3 for Indiana and 21.3 for Rutgers. We will be watching a matchup of two bad offenses and two bad defenses. While the stats show that Rutgers is slightly better on both sides of the ball, Indiana has the luxury of not coming off a game where they gave up 52 points to one of college football’s worst offenses.
Indiana cannot attain bowl eligibility this season, so they really have nothing to play for. Rutgers’ slight edge statistically has potential to look a lot more lopsided if Indiana decides to throw in the towel this season. But the likelihood of Indiana rolling over and letting Rutgers walk all over them is low. I honestly just don’t see this being a good game. I apologize for the overwhelming pessimism, but these are probably the two worst teams in the Big Ten right now. I’m not saying it won’t be close, but this will just be a poorly played, hard to watch football game.
Indiana will win 28-20, making Rutgers’ bowl hopes very bleak. I don’t necessarily see Wimsatt starting this game, but by the end of it, he should be the Knights new quarterback. Whether it be Noah Vedral, Cole Snyder, or Evan Simon, whoever starts under center for the Knights will have a few interceptions that help Indiana get on the board quickly. Wimsatt will enter in the late third quarter and lead a late game push, but the Knights will fall just short.
Tune in to Big Ten Network at noon this Saturday 11/13 to watch the Rutgers Scarlet Knights take on the Indiana Hoosiers at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, IN.