This is the second game against Northwestern since Rutgers joined the Big Ten. When the teams played In 2018, points were at a premium and it wouldn’t be a shocker if this had a similar outcome. Sports betting odds make the visiting Scarlet Knights a slight favorite.
|Game: Rutgers 3-3 at Northwestern 2-3 |
Location: Ryan Field
Time: Noon ET
Television: Big Ten Network
The teams have not played since 2018 when both teams were held under 300 yards in total offense in Northwestern’s 18-15 victory. This will be the first game for Rutgers at Northwestern since joining the Big Ten. Avery Young led Rutgers with 10 tackles in that meeting as the Scarlet Knights have multiple defensive players who saw action in the 2018 contest when Rutgers was a 20½-point underdog according to the college football odds. Northwestern doesn’t have as many returnees from that game although Samdup Miller did have eight tackles in the game.
Next game: at Illinois
Rutgers gave up touchdowns of 63, 63, 65, and 94 yards in a 31-13 loss to Michigan State, listed on the college football spreads as the 4½-point favorite. It was the second game in a row that the Rutgers defense allowed more than 500 yards. Quarterback Noah Vedral shook off a three-interception game against Ohio State by recording his fourth game of the season without throwing an interception.
WR Bo Melton, WR Aron Cruickshank, OT Raiqwon O’Neal, LB Tyreek Maddox-Williams are all questionable. Melton and Cruickshank rank first and second on the team in receptions and receiving yards. They have combined for four of the Scarlet Knights’ eight touchdown receptions. The good news is Vedral appears good to go after getting injured in the Michigan State loss.
Next game: at Michigan
Northwestern has had an extra week to rebound from watching Nebraska run for more than 400 yards in a 56-7 blowout as Nebraska listed in the sportsbook as an 11-point favorite had no issues covering. Stephon Robinson was a bright spot for the Wildcats who recorded his third career 100-yard receiving game.
In two Big Ten games this season, Northwestern has allowed 753 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. Rutgers hasn’t been nearly as effective running the ball as either Michigan State or Nebraska ranking ninth out of 14 Big Ten teams with an average of 141.8 rushing yards per game so perhaps this could be a bounce-back effort by the Northwestern defense.
Betting on the Game
Northwestern has failed to cover in four of its first five games while Rutgers started the season by covering in each of its first four games but the Scarlet Knights lost on the field and in the sports betting book the last two times out.
Northwestern ranks last in the Big Ten in rushing defense. The Wildcats have allowed nearly 450 yards per game. The offensive numbers are slightly better as the Wildcats rank just ahead of Rutgers in the Big Ten total offense rankings.
If the teams have one thing in common, it is the tendency to allow big plays. Eight FBS teams have allowed at least seven plays from scrimmage of 50 yards or more and two of them are in this game.
Rutgers senior receiver Shameen Jones had eight catches for 109 yards against Michigan State. He could be in line for another big game depending on the availability of the injured Rutgers receivers.
The Scarlet Knights are undefeated against the spread in their last seven road games. This is a matchup of teams ranking in the bottom half of the Big Ten in most offensive categories so it could be another low-scoring affair. A large number of those betting online have been taking this game to go under the 46-point total.