It’s the first Big Ten conference game for Rutgers head coach D.J. Durkin, and it’s the first game for Iowa after losing to an FCS team. Check out the Iowa vs. Rutgers fearless prediction and game preview.
Iowa (2-1) vs. Rutgers (2-1) Game Preview
Date: Saturday, September 24th
Game Time: 12:00 pm
Venue: High Point Solutions Stadium, Piscataway, NJ
Why Iowa Will Win
Rutgers isn’t North Dakota State.
The Scarlet Knights have been running the ball fine, and the defense stepped up over the last two games against teams that can’t throw the ball a lick, but they can’t do much with the forward pass and should get buried by a jacked up Hawkeye D looking to make up for last week.
Rutgers QB Chris Laviano has been mediocre so far, hitting just 52% of his passes with four touchdown passes – three of them against Howard – and two picks. The Iowa secondary will allow the dink and dunk passes and won’t get beaten deep by anything the Scarlet Knight offense wants to do.
Load up against the run, sell out into the backfield, and generate pressure into the backfield – Iowa will come up with three sacks.
As long as C.J. Beathard is sharper than he was last week – there were way, way too many misfires, to go along with the three touchdown passes – and as long as O is able to get up early and make Rutgers try pressing, the Hawkeyes should be fine.
Why Rutgers Will Win
It’s quite possible that Iowa just isn’t as good at playing college football as it was last season.
The defense hasn’t been nearly as good at stopping the run, the offense hasn’t been quite as efficient, and if it’s possible to look just okay in blowout wins over Miami University and Iowa State – not exactly two programs knocking on the CFP door – Iowa did it.
How did North Dakota State pull off the shocker? It ran the ball effectively when it had to – the Scarlet Knights can do that – and it was a killer against the mediocre Hawkeye ground game, stuffing it for 34 yards on 25 carries. So far the Rutgers defensive front has been outstanding at getting behind the line, making just enough decent stops here and there to overcome an occasionally leaky overall D.
The stats are misleading – Rutgers has been better against the run than it might appear. New Mexico doesn’t do anything but run, while Rutgers was outstanding at ganging up on the Washington running game.
What’s Going To Happen?
This is a prove it game for Iowa.
Remember, even with all the wins, the Hawkeyes weren’t always lights out last season, having to grind their way through tough battles here and there. They weren’t miserable against North Dakota State last week – they were a missed kick away from pulling that out.
Rutgers will represent itself well at home – at least defensively – but the Iowa defense will step up and pitch a gem. It’s not going to be pretty, but after last week, the Hawkeyes will take it.
Iowa vs. Rutgers Prediction
Final Score: Iowa 34, Rutgers 17
Line: Iowa -13, o/u: 56
ATS Confidence: 5: Xmas in September – 1: Get out now … 3
Must See Rating: 5: The Magnificent Seven – 1: The Voice … 3