With Indiana set to take on Rutgers in a must-win game during homecoming weekend on Saturday, we reached out to On The Banks with some questions about the Scarlet Knights.
Here’s what they had to say:
1. Rutgers is a win away from bowl eligibility in October. What would that mean for the fanbase after so many years since joining the conference?
It would mean a lot just to see the program heading in the right direction. Greg Schiano made many changes, and what were thought to be improvements, to his staff in the offseason. There was returning talent from last season but it had to get done on the field.
Rutgers is far from a finished product, especially offensively, but six wins is six wins and something that fans haven’t seen in a long time.
2. What’s Rutgers’ best unit in your eyes?
The defense as a whole but especially the front seven. Rutgers has controlled the run game well all season. It is a physical group up front that can compete at the first two levels. The secondary played well against Michigan State on Saturday but has been inconsistent. The offense, there is not much good to report other than the run game, which I will get to a little later.
The defense has proven to be a really strong unit – and not just strong by Rutgers’ standards. Even in games against Michigan and Wisconsin, Rutgers made offenses work at times. Against Michigan State, the defense adjusted and settled in after a long opening drive. There could be some plays to be made in the passing game against Rutgers but it will be difficult to get it going on the ground.
3. Which players should Indiana have to worry about on Saturday on offense and defense?
Offensively, it’s been Kyle Monangai and not much else. Monangai currently leads the Big Ten in rushing and has been a workhorse for the Scarlet Knights. He has been the lone offensive weapon that has really made a difference for Rutgers. Christian Dremel has emerged as the No. 1 option for Gavin Wimsatt but the receivers for Rutgers remain inconsistent.
Defensively, the middle is one to watch. Mohamed Toure returned this season after an injury in 2022 and has made an immediate impact. He can get after the quarterback, giving another aspect to the defense. Tyreem Powell and Deion Jennings are in their second years starting at linebacker for the Scarlet Knights. Both have solidified the front seven and the middle of the defense.
4. Where does this season rank for you since Rutgers joined the Big Ten?
Rutgers went 8-5 and won three Big Ten games in its first year in the conference. This was a strange year but it was the last time that Rutgers made a legitimate bowl game. This year will be one of the best since joining the conference if it can beat Indiana and get back to a bowl.
The main reason is that fans wanted Greg Schiano to be the savior in a big way. To this point, it has not happened. And it won’t even be complete if they finish with six wins. This is an imperfect team with plenty of holes and question marks. With that being said, 6-2 would make fans believe that the team is moving in the right direction.
5. Winner and final score prediction?
Rutgers has had Indiana’s number recently. Last time in Bloomington, it was a runaway for the Scarlet Knights. I don’t see it playing out like that again but I do see Rutgers winning the game. I’ll say Rutgers, 24-16.