Time: 8 p.m., Florida International Stadium
TV/Radio:SNY /710-AM, 1450-AM
Series: Rutgers leads, 1-0
Last meeting: Sept. 19, 2009: Rutgers 23, Florida International 15
Coaches: Rutgers –Greg Schiano (10th season, 52-51); Florida International – Mario Cristobal (4th season, 9-27)
The offensive line was terribly inconsistent in the opener, and it needs to show it can run the ball when it has to run the ball. Also, so much of Rutgers' offensive success will fall on quarterback Tom Savage, who needs to be more accurate with his throws.
It is also a big recruiting game for the Rutgers in south Florida since the Scarlet Knights will be in the sports pages and on the minds of high school players, so a big effort would go far.
FIU is looking for a building-block win as it gets ready to get physically beat-up n the first month of the season since games at Texas A&M, Maryland and Pittsburgh follow.
Rutgers' offensive package should be expanded from what it showed last week against Norfolk State, and the return of fifth-year senior running back Kordell Young could make for a big change in the backfield rotation.
Young is the third-down back, and is a pass-catching threat and superb blocker. Schiano said Young's return means Joe Martinek won't have to play as much, which could mean freshman running back Jordan Thomas will remain in the role he held in the opener when he rushed 13 times and caught two passes.
Rutgers' offensive line remains the biggest question as it looks to sort out mental mistakes and physical missteps that led to only six first-half points in the opener.
So, the Scarlet Knights go under the premise FIU will start Mississippi State transfer Wesley Carroll at quarterback, and given new offensive coordinator Scott Satterfield ran the spread at Toledo, it is a fair assumption that will happen this season.
Defensively, FIU lists a 3-4 defense on its two-deep, but Schiano said he thinks that could be a ploy as defensive coordinator Geoff Collins could bring a 4-3 with him from Central Florida.
However, since this is FIU's first game, don't be surprised if there is something going on offensively and defensively the team has been working on since spring practice, which will cause Rutgers to adjust.
Hilton made 57 catches for 632 yards and five touchdowns last season, and will be FIU's prime pass-catching threat this season.
Savage has to get time from the offensive line, which he did in the opener, and deliver passes on time and accurately.
Also, with Carroll sitting out a year under NCAA transfer rules, he will not be used to the speed of the game. The defense needs to take advantage of that by making him play faster, and make decisions before he is ready to.
3. Run the ball with some consistency. Rutgers doesn't need to average seven yards a carry, but when it is third-and-1, it needs to get the first down. A few nice rushes on first down will also open up play-action, and that is where the offense can really excel.
2. Use the element of surprise for a quick start. If FIU does things offensively Rutgers didn't practice for, it can build a lead before adjustments are made and play from behind as well as slow the game down.
3. Ride the experience of Carroll, who played as a freshman at Mississippi State before transferring closer to home. He won't be intimidated by Rutgers, and had success in a much bigger atmosphere.