Time – 3:30 p.m., Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, Ind.
TV/Radio – Big Ten Network, 1450 AM WCTC, 710 AM WOR
Series – Rutgers leads 1-0
Last meeting – Nov. 15, 2014, Rutgers won 45-23
Coaches: Rutgers – Kyle Flood (4th season, 25-19); Indiana – Kevin Wilson (5th season, 18-36)
Whatever Flood Pun Strikes Your Fancy – Rutgers coach Kyle Flood is back on the sidelines after the end of his three-game suspension and media blackout. Flood does not call plays for the Scarlet Knights, but his role as a game manager becomes even more important with the recent struggles and mental lapses. Rutgers cannot be wasteful when it comes to timeouts. That comes down to the head coach.
Bowl or Bust – Sandwiched between the two toughest home games in the Flood era, Indiana became a must-win the second time expired against Washington State. Rutgers needs four wins in the final seven games to keep the bowl streak alive. The same can be said for Indiana, which needs two more for bowl eligibility with three consecutive top-20 opponents after the Scarlet Knights.
Spread the Love – Can Rutgers offensive coordinator find a role for junior receiver Carlton Agudosi? Agudosi stepped up his game big time during Leonte Carroo’s suspension, but did not see the field against Michigan State. Agudosi provides value at 6-foot-6, and deserves more opportunities in his teammates’ eyes.
Matchup to Watch
Indiana would be smart to provide some level of safety help against Carroo after seeing how the Rutgers star shredded Michigan State in single coverage. Dutra is a solid coverage safety, who needs to help out the defensive secondary against Carroo.
Scarlet Knights win if …
Norries Wilson’s Position Group Gets Work – Rutgers is 26-6 since 2011 when it attempts at least 35 rushes. With an impressive trio of Paul James, Josh Hicks and Robert Martin, Rutgers should ride its weapons accordingly against a defense that gives up 4.8 yards per carry. The Rutgers running game needs to continue its success on the heels of Kansas and Michigan State.
Hoosiers Win if …
They Clone Tevin Coleman – Well, not literally. If the Indiana running game finds a weapon that is almost as effective as Coleman, then Rutgers is in trouble. Coleman exploded for more than 300 yards against Rutgers last year. Rutgers outlasted Indiana last year with an impressive showing away from the run defense. But Indiana could not have been worse at quarterback last year, and whatever option shows up Saturday will be more effective than the 2014 edition in Piscataway.
WR Leonte Carroo – Carro checked in with “something to prove” last week, and he did so accordingly with career touchdowns 23, 24 and 25.
Something to Prove
RT J.J. Denman – Were games against Penn State and Michigan State a situation where Rutgers gives credit where it is due to elite defensive linemen? Or are pass protection struggles by Denman cause for concern? This is the week to prove it because it only gets tougher against Ohio State and at Wisconsin.
Looking to Build
OLB Quentin Gause – A season-high in tackles against an impressive Michigan State offense has Gause’s stock up both as a team captain and as an NFL prospect.
Freshman to Watch
CB Isaiah Wharton – Indiana loves its running game and high-tempo attack. Wharton is at his best when he sheds blocks against wide receivers, so it will be a unique matchup on the edge. He has enough experience now to be prepared for as many snaps as the Hoosiers get off Saturday.