Rutgers Scarlet Knights College Football Preview 2021: Keys To The Season
Rutgers Scarlet Knights Biggest Key: Offense
The offensive line has to keep getting better. The offense made a night-and-day improvement. However, there wasn’t much of a downfield passing game. It was sort of by design, but that has to change.
There weren’t enough third down conversions, and the O didn’t grind out enough drives. That has to change, too.
It all starts with an offensive front that’s full of experience, but can’t be dead last in the Big Ten again in tackles for loss allowed. The front five have to give QB Noah Vedral and the skill guys more time to work.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights Biggest Key: Defense
The secondary has to stop getting bombed on. The defense was good at taking the ball away – the Knights came up with two interceptions in three separate games – but even with a good pass rush there were too many big pass plays allowed.
Fortunately, there aren’t a slew of big passing teams on the slate, but that didn’t stop the defense from having issues last season.
The D wasn’t all that horrible on third downs, and it wasn’t always giving up really big plays down the field, but three teams were able to get to 300 yards through the air and four others hit 230 or more. Illinois was the one team that didn’t do a thing through the air against this D – and Rutgers lost.
The D needs to get the yards-per-pass down a bit after giving up almost eight per toss, and allowing teams to complete 67% of their throws isn’t good enough.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights Key Player To A Successful Season
QB Noah Vedral, Sr.
The rest of the skill guys are good enough, and the O line is at least experienced now and should be a bit more consistent.
The defense has a ton of good veterans and will take the ball away a ton, and the special teams will be among the best in the Big Ten. Now the team needs its quarterback to come through.
The 6-1, 200-pound Vedral is mobile enough to get by, but he only threw for more than 170 yards twice and the team lost both games.
The three picks given up in the loss to Illinois were a killer, and he threw three against Indiana, too. He’s got to make more big things happen down the field, he has to stay healthy, and …
The QB play has to be better.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights Key Game To The 2021 Season
Michigan State, Oct. 9
Of course Rutgers wants to be up there with Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State in the Big Ten East, and it almost pulled off a win over the Wolverines last year, but as the program keeps on improving under Greg Schiano, being better than some of the other teams in the division is a must.
The Indiana game is on the road, and there’s no excuse to not beat Maryland in the regular season finale, but Michigan State will be the measuring stick.
Rutgers should beat Temple and Delaware, and going to Syracuse is a bit of a toss up. Figure it loses at Michigan and against Ohio State, and then MSU comes to town.
The takeaway-fest win over the Spartans to open up last season was one of the shockers of 2020. Now to it again.
2020 Rutgers Scarlet Knights Fun Stats
– 2nd Quarter Scoring: Opponents 101 – Rutgers 38
– Time of Possession: Opponents 31:51 – Rutgers 28:09
– Average Yards Per Game: Opponents 449.1 – Rutgers 339.1