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(Photo courtesy of Rutgers Athletics. Credit: Ben Solomon/Rutgers Athletics)

Early Predictions for 2022 Rutgers Football Season

The college football buzz is back in the air all around New Jersey. Rutgers football's Week 1 matchup against Boston College at Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, is less than two months away. As the Scarlet Knights enter their third season with Greg Schiano at the helm since his return, the excitement is building in Piscataway.

With college football schedules and game lines officially released all over the country, let's take a closer look at what the Scarlet Knights will be up against this season.

Sept. 3: at Boston College 

Rutgers opens their season with a tough out-of-conference matchup against the Boston College Eagles. Phil Jurkovec will be healthy and under center for Boston College after missing much of the 2021 season with a hand injury. In 2020, he threw for 17 touchdowns and just five interceptions.

Rutgers' success hinges mainly on quarterback play, whether Gavin Wismatt or Noah Vedral is under center in week one. Rutgers could be looking at a hugely important game for their bowl game chances right out of the gate, but the Eagles and Jurkovec will be too much to handle for the Scarlet Knights on the road.

Result: Loss (0-1)

Sept. 10 vs. Wagner

The last time the Wagner Seahawks won a football game was on Sept. 28, 2019, against Long Island University. Since that victory, they have been amidst a 20-game losing streak. Regardless of who is under center for the Scarlet Knights, this should be a lopsided home opener as Rutgers should have no problem gaining momentum and coasting to their first win of the 2022 season.

Result: Win (1-1)

Sept. 17 at Temple

Last season, Rutgers steamrolled the Owls in a 61-14 week one victory. This season, the Scarlet Knights will travel to Philadelphia to take on a new-look Temple team that hired former Texas Longhorns running backs coach Stan Drayton to replace Rod Carey as the university's head coach. It is unknown who will be under center for the Owls. It could be four-star North Dakota State transfer Quincy Patterson or returning redshirt sophomore D'Wan Mathis.

Temple will be a much-improved team and the game could be closer than last season's matchup, but the Scarlet Knights should have no problem pulling out their first road victory of the year against the Owls.

Result: Win (2-1)

Sept. 24 vs. Iowa

Rutgers will welcome Iowa to SHI Stadium for their first Big Ten matchup of the season. Last year, the Hawkeyes peaked at number 2 in the AP poll and finished the season with a 10-4 record, earning a trip to the Citrus Bowl. Iowa will yet again be a contender to win the Big Ten West division.

Redshirt senior Spencer Petras will be back as Iowa's starting quarterback. Despite logging a lackluster ten touchdowns and nine interceptions last season, the Hawkeye defense remains one of the most dominant units in the Big Ten. This should be a low-scoring game and Rutgers might be able to keep it close, but ultimately the better team should come out on top.

Result: Loss (2-2)

Oct. 1 at Ohio State

2021 Heisman finalist C.J. Stroud will be back under center for the Buckeyes. Ohio State will enter the season as one of the favorites to win the Big Ten and contend for a national championship. The Scarlet Knights might keep it close early, but this one could quickly become lopsided. The Buckeyes should have no problem defending their ground at Ohio Stadium.

Result: Loss (2-3)

Oct. 7 vs. Nebraska

Despite most of their games being close finishes, the Cornhuskers posted a 1-8 conference record last season. After starting quarterback Adrian Martinez transferred to Kansas State, it is unclear who will be under center for Nebraska this season. It could be Texas Longhorns transfer Casey Thompson, who posted a respectable 24-9 touchdown-to-interception ratio in 2021.

If Thompson provides the Cornhuskers with a positive season and they get some better luck after being on the losing end of eight different one-possession games in 2021, Nebraska could give the Scarlet Knights some trouble. But that is a big if, and Rutgers should be able to defend its ground in Piscataway.

Result: Win (3-3)

Oct. 22 vs. Indiana

The Scarlet Knights will welcome Indiana to SHI Stadium after being well-rested coming off of their bye week. Everything went wrong for the Hoosiers in 2021 as they failed to register a single conference victory and finished the season with a final record of 2-8.

There is only one way to go after a season as the Hoosiers had, and while they should be a better team, it will not be by much. Rutgers will coast to their fourth win of the season.

Result: Win (4-3)

Oct. 29 at Minnesota

Traveling to Minneapolis to take on the Golden Gophers is never easy, and it will be even harder if Minnesota gets a bounce-back season from senior quarterback Tanner Morgan. In 2019, Morgan threw for 30 touchdowns with just nine interceptions. His last two seasons have been closer to average than elite, but he is a prime breakout candidate in his final season of eligibility for the Golden Gophers. Regardless of Tanner Morgan's performance, Minnesota should be able to take care of the Scarlet Knights at home. 

Result: Loss (4-4)

Nov. 5 vs. Michigan

Last season, the Scarlet Knights lost to Michigan by just seven points. The Wolverines would win the Big Ten Championship and earn a spot in the College Football Playoff. Rutgers will match up with the Wolverines much later in the 2022 season, which is not ideal. Michigan should win by a comfortable margin despite being on the road. Rutgers will have their back against the wall heading into the season's final three games.

Result: Loss (4-5)

Nov. 12 at Michigan State

The schedule doesn't let up for the Scarlet Knights as they travel to East Lansing to take on Michigan State. Payton Thorne will be back, who put up 339 yards against Rutgers last year. The Spartans will be without Kenneth Walker III, who was selected in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. 

Regardless of whether the Spartans are as good as last season, they should still comfortably defeat the Scarlet Knights at home, making it three straight losses for Rutgers late in the year.

Result: Loss (4-6)

Nov. 19 vs. Penn State

Sean Clifford is back under center for Penn State yet again in 2022, meaning the year that the Scarlet Knights can finally defeat the Nittany Lions for the first time since 1988 will not be this year. Clifford and Penn State are primed for a bounce-back season and will compete for a Big Ten championship appearance. James Franklin's Nittany Lions should have no problem taking down the Scarlet Knights in Piscataway again, making it four straight defeats for Rutgers.

Result: Loss (4-7)

Nov. 26 at Maryland

Last season, the Terps came into Piscataway and scored 40 points on the Scarlet Knights' defense. Rutgers will be hungry for revenge this time. Taulia Tagovailoa will be back under center for Maryland, who put together a respectable 26 touchdown and 11 interception season in 2021.

Rutgers will be desperate for a win after coming into the final week of the season riding a four-game losing streak. While Maryland may be the better team, Rutgers could be due for a road upset while playing spoiler to the Terps' bowl chances, earning a victory on the year's final week.

After a promising 4-3 start, the Scarlet Knights' late-season slide will keep them from reaching the six-win mark for the eighth straight year, failing to make a bowl game.

Result: Win (5-7)

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