Rutgers football vs. Indiana preview

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Can Rutgers football pull off another conference win?

That’s the question on everyone’s minds. Following a weekend with exciting wins for Rutgers football and Indiana, this weekend’s matchup between the two teams should be interesting. Last weekend, Rutgers shocked the Big Ten by beating Michigan State 38-27, ending a 21-game conference losing streak for the Scarlet Knights. That same Saturday, Indiana beat Penn State in a close 36-35 game. In years past, it wouldn’t be a question of how this game would turn out. But, if Rutgers’ win over Michigan State was not purely luck, then it has proved that it can contend in the Big Ten.

What to watch out for vs. Indiana

So far, No. 17 Indiana has proved to really only like to throw the ball. In its one game, Indiana passed for 170 yards, while it had only 41 rushing yards. The passing yardage is courtesy of quarterback Micheal Penix Jr. The redshirt sophomore completed 19 of 36 passes to lead his team to victory. The outcome that Indiana ended up with was unlikely, as Penn State and gained 488 yards for the game, while the Hoosiers only gained 211. On paper, it doesn’t make much sense that Indiana was able to walk away with the win, but that’s more of a testament to the scrappiness that this team might be tapping into this season.

In 2019, Indiana shut Rutgers out 35-0, but it does not seem like it will be playing the same Rutgers team. If anyone can compete with scrappiness, its Rutgers. It has had to be scrappy for the last few years, and now it finally has some skill to back it up. There are a few important things the Scarlet Knights need to do in this game.

What Rutgers needs to do to win

A win against Indiana would be huge for the Scarlet Knights, who have not beat a ranked team in over 10 years. Rutgers is going to have to show up on the defensive side. Specifically, it needs to adapt to an Indiana team that just proved it can vary its offensive tactics a lot to win a game. Indiana is creative, which is how it beat Penn State even though the Hoosiers rushed 277 less yards. That’s what Rutgers needs to be scared of.

However, Rutgers’ defense proved to be strong on Saturday, specifically linebacker Tyshon Fogg, who led the team with 14 tackles. If he can step up and stop that Indiana offensive line, Rutgers has a good shot of keeping the Hoosiers to a low score. Linebacker Mohamed Toure also proves to be valuable to the defense with two sacks against Michigan State. This defense needs to step up and shut Indiana down early. This way, quarterback Noah Vedral can lead the offense and get points on the board. Rutgers plays well when it has some confidence from a lead, which they proved last weekend.

If Rutgers can play cohesively, as it did against Michigan State, it will do well. So long as it can capitalize on Indiana’s weaknesses and mistakes, it has a real chance of winning. Maybe the Scarlet Knights could start the season 2-0.

Photo courtesy of The Daily Targum