Rutgers hosts Iowa in prime-time Saturday night at SHI Stadium in Piscataway, New Jersey. Rutgers fans tend to show up for prime-time games, which have been a rarity of late. That tends to happen when you don't have much success. Is that perception beginning to change around Piscataway? A win, improving the Scarlet Knights to 4-0, would be a major step in that direction.
The major hurdle in this game will be scoring. Which team will put more points on the scoreboard? Both have struggled to do so so far this season, sporting lackluster offenses.
Rutgers enters Saturday's game averaging 34.7 points per through their first three games, good for 56th in the nation. At first glance, 34.7 points per game is not terrible. However, take away the 66 points scored against Wagner, one of the worst college football programs in the country, and Rutgers have only mustered 18.5 points per game in their other two contests (Boston College, Temple).
Offensively, Iowa may actually be even worse than Rutgers. Through three games, two victories, the Hawkeyes have averaged just 13.7 points. The Hawkeyes put up 27 in a shutout victory over Nevada last week. They only managed one touchdown in each of the two prior games.
Iowa is ranked last in the conference in total offense (217.7 yards per game). Rutgers (369.3) is only one spot ahead of the Hawkeyes. Rutgers sits second to last in the league in passing yards a game at 142.0. The Hawkeyes are last at 125.3.
Rutgers QB Issues
Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano is dealing with injury issues at quarterback. Noah Vedral is yet to play this season due to injury and now redshirt freshman Gavin Wimsett is a game-time decision. Evan Simon may be the starter on Saturday unless Vedral or Wimsett can go.
Top Defenses On Display
If numbers are true, Saturday could be a defensive battle that comes down to two of the best punters in the country battling out field position.
Rutgers defense is allowing just 14.0 points and 240.4 yards per game. Iowa has had no running game early on this season. The Hawkeyes are averaging just 32.3 rushing yards per game and a measly 1.1 yard per carry.
Is seems unlikely either team will have much room to establish much of a running game, or any offense for that matter. This game appears headed for a low-scoring, defensive battle. These types of games often times come down to a big play on special teams, or a costly mistake.
Rutgers and their fans will be energized Saturday night. Iowa is on the road for the first time this season. Something tells me the Scarlet Knights come up with a special teams play to grab the victory. Maybe it's an Aron Cruickshank or Joshua Youngblood return for touchdown. Maybe it's a blocked kick.
Prediction: Rutgers 17, Iowa 13
Gregg has lived in New Jersey is entire life and is a current resident of Somerset County. As a huge sports fan, he is passionate about NJ sports at all levels. The former owner of Double G Sports, Gregg has vast experience in sports media and journalism.