Rutgers football (6-3; 3-3) travels to No. 22 Iowa (7-2; 4-2) on Saturday at 3:30p.m. ET in Iowa City airing on the Big Ten Network. Here are four things that I predict will happen on Saturday.
Jai Patel will make the biggest kicks of his career
The first year starting kicker has been steady all season in making 11 of 13 field goal attempts. Even though all three makes were within 22 yards last week against Ohio State, the urgency of the kicks were high. Patel clanged an attempt from 38 yards off the right goal post in the season opener and missed a 50+ yard attempt at Michigan. He’s a perfect 3 of 3 from 40-49 yards and also made a 51 yard field goal against Temple. In a game with a historically low over/under, points will come at a premium. His counterpart for Iowa, Drew Stevens, kicked a game winning 52 yard field goal in the final seconds against Northwestern last week. Both kickers will be x-factors in this game. I think Patel has shown poise and Saturday will mark the most pressure he’s faces so far. I think he will deliver on whatever opportunities come his way. I predict a 2 for 2 day for Patel. And who knows, perhaps one will be the game winner.
The record under hits
The over/under of 28 points for Rutgers-Iowa is the lowest in college football history. I think both coaches are going to stick with conservative game plans with the hope of capitalizing on the others mistakes. Whichever team flinches first and turns it over, commits a killer penalty, blows a coverage or anything else that could change the game, will be at a disadvantage. Neither offense is built to come from behind. Despite Rutgers having the better offense with its run game, that’s no guarantee they can do it against a stout defense of Iowa. RU was effective running it against the Ohio State defense, but playing on the road and a second straight top defense could be factors. This could very well be a game with a final score that is single digits for both teams. Whatever the final score it, I think the historic under delivers.
Something weird will decide the game
I don’t know when and don’t know what exactly, but this game has the feel to me that something out of the ordinary will factor into the outcome. Let’s be honest, the Rutgers defense is due a pick six after the offense has surrendered THREE already this season. Will either team empty the playbook with a trick play that works to flip the script? Is it a safety? A botched snap, a missed extra point, or dare I say it, a terrible call by the referees? This game is going to be very close and the margin for error is razor thin. Be on the lookout for the unexpected to change this game for good.
The final score will be…..
Rutgers has a tremendous opportunity against No. 22 Iowa. They’ve never beaten a Big Ten team with a winning record and the Hawkeyes are in first place in the West division. It’s also been 14 years since the Scarlet Knights defeated a ranked opponent. This team should have confidence after playing No. 1 Ohio State very tough and better than ever before. It will be another physical battle but the talent level is more even this week. It’s been a fun season so far for Rutgers and I think they can run at times on Saturday. This includes quarterback Gavin Wimsatt, who I think will make an impact with his legs in this game. It’s going to be a tense battle that is decided late. Strap in folks, this has the makings of a classic Big Ten war. In the end, I think Rutgers pulls out the signature win it’s been looking for.
Rutgers 13 Iowa 12
2023 Prediction Record
9-0 overall; 6-2-1 ATS
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