Rutgers football hosts Wagner on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET at SHI Stadium airing live on the Big Ten Network. The game may be televised on a BTN overflow channel and you can find where based on your service provider here.
Here are four things that we predict will happen on Saturday.
More run than pass
While I’ve seen some fan sentiment for letting quarterback Gavin Wimsatt airing out the ball against an FCS opponent, I doubt that will be featured prominently. It would be nice to see him attempt a couple deep balls, which he did last season including a big pass play to Chris Long. However, expect a ground and pound approach with all five running backs expected to be available. Rutgers should dominate in the trenches and the biggest goal in this game should be to get deep into the bench in the second half. No need to mess around, just punish Wagner physically in the run game and wear them down as much as possible.
The defense will force 3 or more turnovers
Wagner is much improved with a 2-2 record. However, they have committed seven turnovers this season. The Seahawks have fumbled eight times, losing the ball four times. After not forcing any turnovers last week, the Rutgers defense has a prime opportunity to be disruptive and force multiple takeaways. The defense has been consistently swarming to the ball and Saturday is a chance to be more aggressive in trying to steal it away as well.
Special Teams will make a big play
Whether it’s a blocked punt or kick, a significant return or a well executed fundamental play, I think Rutgers will come up with a big play on special teams in this game. RU came close to blocking a punt earlier this season and I think they’ll bring the house on at least a few occasions. The return game has been limited in part to not having many opportunities. Wagner has only five touchbacks on 14 kickoffs this season, so Rashad Rochelle or someone else has a chance to make a big return. It would be nice to see the Scarlet Knights continue to play well on special teams and pull off a momentum changing moment.
The final score will be…..
As I said above, I expect Rutgers to lean on their physical advantages and attempt to run all over Wagner. They have the backs to do it and it’s a good opportunity for the offensive line to work on run blocking as well. The defense should be dominant and the key is to bring the same energy they’ve played with all season. It will be a telling game in the sense that Rutgers has strong leadership and hopefully that results in an all business approach from the start. Take care of business, rest the starters as much as possible in the second half ahead of a make or break October and get the younger players some live action reps.
Rutgers 45 Wagner 7
2023 Prediction Record
4-0 overall; 3-1 ATS
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