Scarlet Report Game Preview and Predictions: Indiana at Rutgers

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Rutgers fans get to see a new starter at quarterback in the return home. While Giovanni Rescigno's spark was not enough to end a losing streak, he improved alongside a growing offense. Can they match the powerful Indiana ground attack? Scarlet Report previews and predicts the action.

Indiana (4-4, 2-3) at Rutgers (2-6, 0-5)

Time – Noon, High Point Solutions Stadium, Piscataway, N.J.

TV/Radio – Big Ten Network, 1450 AM WCTC, 710 AM WOR, Tune In App

Series – Rutgers leads 2-0

Last meeting – Oct. 17, 2015, Rutgers won 55-52

Coaches: Rutgers – Chris Ash (1st season, 2-6); Indiana – Kevin Wilson (5th season, 24-45)

Projected Starters:

Offense: QB Giovanni Rescigno, RB Justin Goodwin, WR Jawuan Harris, WR Andre Patton, WR John Tsimis, TE Nick Arcidiacono, LT Tariq Cole, LG Dorian Miller, C Derek Nelson, RG Chris Muller, RT Kamaal Seymour

Defense: DE Darnell Davis Jr., DT Darius Hamilton, DT Sebastian Joseph, DE Julian Pinnix-Odrick, OLB Trevor Morris, MLB Deonte Roberts, OLB Tyreek Williams, CB Isaiah Wharton, CB Blessuan Austin, FS Saquan Hampton, SS Anthony Cioffi

Storyline Central

The Next Step – Quarterback Giovanni Rescigno has legitimate playing experience and starting experience. Now it's time to take care of the football. Responsible for four turnovers in less than two games as a starter, Rescigno focused on ball security during the bye week. If Rescigno (hopefully healthy) cuts down on the turnovers with the same output offensively, Indiana is in trouble.

Remember, Remember the 9th of November – On the week of “the Louisville game's” 10th anniversary, Rutgers honors the 2006 Scarlet Knights Saturday for their magical season. With double-digit NFL draft picks on the roster and twice as many free agents, the Scarlet Knights won 11 games under Greg Schiano that year including the first bowl victory in program history.

Fix Special Teams – Special teams is in no way a strength for Rutgers football in 2016. As coordinator Vince Okruch assertively put it during the bye week, there are no excuses in Chris Ash's program. Between gashing kick returns, an inconsistent punting game and limited range on field goals, Rutgers faces a problem is special teams play as key a role as they did in last year's win over the Hoosiers.

Matchup to Watch

Rutgers DC Jay Niemann vs Indiana's Run-Game Wrinkles

In case you missed it, Indiana whipped out quite the surprise for Maryland last week, and the formation can grow again tomorrow. Niemann's defense can't start slow, and perhaps the best move is to counter with defensive wrinkles of their own. To go along with an already-dangerous conventional run game, Indiana uses backup quarterback Zander Diamont as a backfield rusher and the beefy Tyler Natee as the other part of a powerful read option. The Hoosiers ran for touchdowns with five different players against the Terps.

Scarlet Knights win if …

Rescigno goes all out – Indiana is fresh off 414 rushing yards against Maryland heading into a game against the Big Ten's worst run defense. The Hoosiers are going to put up a lot of points. Rescigno's Rutgers offense needs explosive plays, extended drives and continued success on third downs.

Hoosiers Gophers Win if …

They play for four quarters – Kyle Flood's Rutgers was 2-0 over Wilson's Hoosiers. And in both games, Rutgers surged late while Indiana fell flat, including the epic comeback in Flood's lone Big Ten win of 2015. Rutgers is too hungry for a win for Indiana to check out mentally at any time.


Impact Player

QB Giovanni Rescigno – Rescigno's impact on the Rutgers offense is obvious, and it is time to go from spark to full-blown fire. Rescigno rested his hamstring in the bye, and starts for the first time in a home game with a ton of responsibility on his shoulders

Something to Prove

PK David Bonagura – Regardless of a missed extra point, the Minnesota game was not a strong one for the Rutgers kicking game. With Bonagura in over Jared Smolar for kickoffs, he has to be more accurate and consistent with his leg.

Looking to Build

RT Kamaal Seymour – The transition from defense to offense is both fast and impressive for the red-shirt freshman New Yorker. Ash and offensive line coach AJ Blazek both speak highly of Seymour's future after his display at Minnesota in his first career start.

Freshman to Watch

OLB Tyreek Williams – Williams has been Rutgers' best linebacker in 2016. A last-minute flip from Buffalo, his speed made him an instant contributor after Najee Clayton's departure and Greg Jones' injury. Williams is fifth on the team with 33 tackles with tomorrow as his fourth start.

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