USA Today Sports Images

Five Players to Know From Rutgers

Dylan Burn of Hawkeye Insider gives you five Rutgers players to watch heading into Saturday.

It's always interesting to see how a team responds after a loss.  For Iowa, they haven't lost a regular season game in a long time.  So, it will be interesting to see how they respond going on the road to face Rutgers for the first time as Big Ten opponents.

Here are five Rutgers players to watch for Saturday afternoon.

Janarion Grant

Grant is without a doubt one of the more dangerous return men in the Big Ten.  He's extremely quick in small spaces and has the ability to make people miss.  

He played a WR2 role behind Leonte Carroo last year, but is primed for a bigger role this season.  It appears early that Chris Ash and staff will look to get him involved in every aspect of the game.  

He is returning kicks, punts, has caught 15 passes in three games, and has carried the ball 15 times.  He has already scored more touchdowns this season than he had in the prior three seasons combined, so he is definitely taking on a much larger role.  He's scored three times on the ground this season, but has yet to find the end zone as a receiver. 

He isn't a big receiver at 5'11" and 175 pounds, but he's so fast that he has the ability beat you deep.  Look for Iowa to possibly jam him at the line and bump him off routes. 

He caught nine passes for 56 yards in the opener against Washington and ran the ball five times for 105 yards to go along with two touchdowns against Howard.  He's a nice weapon for Ash in his first season.  

Robert Martin

Martin enters the season as the teams primary running back.  His workload has steadily increased over the course of his first three seasons.  His freshman season he carried the ball 87 times for 434 yards and seven touchdowns.  A year later he led the team in rushing with 141 carries, 763 yards, and five touchdowns.  

This season, he's played in just two of the three games for Rutgers, but he's averaging nearly seven yards per carry over the course of those two games. 

Now, his dominating performances have come against Howard and New Mexico, so I don't know how much stock you can put into Martin's early season success, but he's still a playmaker for the Scarlet Knights.

Martin isn't the fastest back, but he shows great vision, he sets up his blockers well, and he's fairly elusive.  Josh Hicks will see some touches, but Martin will be the primary back on Saturday.  

Julian Pinnix-Odrick

Pinnix-Odrick might be one of the more surprising guys on this Rutgers defense early on.  

He didn't have a huge impact during his first two seasons as a Scarlet Knight considering he racked up just 48 tackles and three sacks, but this year it appears to be a different story.  

Julian has already totaled three and a half sacks, 20 total tackles, and 4.5 tackles for a loss early this season.  He's a high energy player and with how poorly the offensive line has played for Iowa to start this season, he could find his way into the backfield quite a bit if Iowa is not careful. 

C.J. Beathard took a couple of shots last Saturday and this is the guy Iowa will need to hold in check to fix that problem this coming Saturday.

Chris Laviano

The opposing teams quarterback will always be a guy to watch on Saturdays.  Laviano is a guy that is now adjusting to new offensive coordinator, Drew Mehringer's system.  Rutgers ran a pro style offense for about as long as I've been alive, but Mehringer has switched it up with his up-tempo power spread attack.

I think Laviano is doing his best to adjust, but he's not a QB that fits that mold.  Right now, he's completing 52% of his passes, has thrown for 457 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions.  However, he's gotten worse since the season has started.  

For example, he completed 41% of his passes in this past weeks game against New Mexico.

It goes without saying, but Laviano will need to be much better this week against an Iowa defense that has struggled to start the season a bit, but they have more talent than the likes of Howard and New Mexico.

There are things that Laviano does well, but for the most part I think it's going to be tough for him on Saturday.

Jawuan Harris

I made mention of Rutgers going to more of a spread offense talking about Laviano and Harris is a guy that has really taken advantage of the Scarlet Knights spreading it out more.  Harris has played in two games for Rutgers this season and has five catches for 140 yards and two touchdowns.

He's another guy who has the ability to beat you deep.

Now, Iowa's corners are excellent cover corners, but they aren't the fastest corners in college football.  I think Harris and Grant both have the ability to beat them deep if Mabin or King get caught sleeping.

Harris could be a guy to watch out for if you see the Scarlet Knights looking for a man deep down the field.


Hawkeye Insider Top Stories