What’s Rutgers going to do this season? What’s going to happen in each game and how will the 2016 Scarlet Knight football schedule play out?
Will Rutgers’ new coaching staff make a big difference right away? Chris Ash should be an upgrade and the program will be headed in the right direction, but will it happen right away? Check out the preseason predictions for every game.
Sept. 3 at Washington
Rutgers split the last two early season games against Washington State, but this year’s Washington team should be at a whole other level. Chris Petersen’s team is good enough to win the Pac-12 title, and it’ll look like it right out of the gate.
Preseason Prediction: Washington 38, Rutgers 14
Sept. 10 vs. Howard
The Bison do the Big Ten Newer Guy Two-Step, starting out the season losing to Maryland before collecting a paycheck from Rutgers, who experiences the first of many wins in the Chris Ash era.
Preseason Prediction: Rutgers 45, Howard 6
Sept. 17 vs. New Mexico
Can the run defense handle the heat? You know exactly what New Mexico will do, and it’ll be a tough task for the Scarlet Knight linebackers. Rutgers’ offense will open it up a bit when needed to make up for getting pounded in the time of possession battle.
Preseason Prediction: Rutgers 30, New Mexico 23
Sept. 24 vs. Iowa
It’s the Big Ten opener for both, and while Rutgers will play well and give Iowa a run, it’ll be outclassed by the Hawkeye lines. It won’t be a bad performance, but the Scarlet Knights won’t be able to take advantage of the key opportunities.
Preseason Prediction: Iowa 27, Rutgers 17
Oct. 1 at Ohio State
Does Chris Ash know the Ohio State program well enough to come up with something special? No. Coming off a bye week, the Buckeyes will roll at will with the Scarlet Knights not having a defensive answer in an ugly first half. OSU will look ultra-efficient.
Preseason Prediction: Ohio State 40, Rutgers 17
Oct. 8 vs. Michigan
Once again, the offense just won’t work against a tremendous defense. Being at home will help for a little while, but the Michigan offense will be rocking and rolling at this point. The Scarlet Knights won’t be able to keep up the pace after keeping it close in the first quarter.
Preseason Prediction: Michigan 37, Rutgers 14
Oct. 15 vs. Illinois
This is only the third time the two programs have ever played, and it’s coming at just the right time for the Scarlet Knights. The offense will finally break out a bit at home, but the defense will have to come up with a stop late to hang on in a fun and thrilling game. Will it be the spark going forward? Not really, but it’ll be a much-needed win.
Preseason Prediction: Rutgers 30, Illinois 23
Oct. 22 at Minnesota
This is part of a nice and easy stretch for Minnesota, and it’ll play well enough to roll without too much of a problem at home. The running game will control things early for the Gophers, but it’ll still be a contest late in the third quarter. Minnesota will take over late.
Preseason Prediction: Minnesota 31, Rutgers 21
Nov. 5 vs. Indiana
Unfortunately, even after getting a week off, Rutgers won’t be able to keep up with an Indiana offense that finally busts out. The Hoosiers will spend most of the season trying to find their groove, and they’ll do it in Piscataway.
Preseason Prediction: Indiana 41, Rutgers 27
Nov. 12 at Michigan State
Once again, Rutgers will struggle against an offense that finds something that clicks at just the right time. The Scarlet Knight pass defense will get lit up after working way too hard to slow down the nasty Sparty ground game.
Preseason Prediction: Michigan State 38, Rutgers 17
Nov. 19 vs. Penn State
What kind of shape will Rutgers be in after the road game at Michigan State? Not good. The Scarlet Knights will try to get up for Senior Day and the final home game of the year, but Penn State will be coming off a stunning loss to Indiana – it won’t be pretty.
Preseason Prediction: Penn State 34, Rutgers 14
Nov. 26 at Maryland
All bowl hopes will be gone, and this is the season finale for the Scarlet Knights, while Maryland will be looking for a sixth win and bowl eligibility. It’s going to be a wild thriller with Rutgers bombing away doing everything possible to close with a bang, but the desperate Terps will do a bit more through the air in crunch time.
Preseason Prediction: Maryland 40, Rutgers 34
2016 Prediction: 3-9
2016 Big Ten Prediction: 1-8