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Dissecting the Season: B1G Football at Rutgers

The fourth game of the Wisconsin Badgers B1G football season, much like last week, pairs Bucky against a brand-new foe in Rutgers.

The Badgers started the B1G football season at Northwestern, followed by home games against Illinois and Marlyand. These all lead up to the feature matchup back to the great state of New Jersey and Ron Dayne‘s old stomping grounds.

Week 10, November 1: At Rutgers

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Past Performances

Maybe the good people of Wisconsin weren’t Schiano Men material in the last decade, and perhaps the missed opportunity of Dayne to an out-of-state school made life too hard for Rutgers to play the Badgers in the five years before that. But then there’s the fact that the two hadn’t met in the previous 106 seasons. Yep, this one could be fun.

Offensive Matchups

Good news for Wisconsin: I think Rutgers matches up well against pass-first teams.

The bad news is that Rutgers started fantastic last year and could very well do the same in 2014. In 2013, the Scarlet Knights went 4-1 on a pretty easy schedule and almost knocked off Derek Carr and Fresno State in Week 1. Their 2014 schedule is also light and that could mean some serious defensive momentum like when UMass came to town last year.

Their line will be buoyed by Djwany Mera, a 6-foot-4, 260-pound rusher. Not big by normal B1G standards, but quick enough to get by a makeshift line doing a drop-back. The next level will be backed by freshman All-American Steve Longa, who had the most total tackles (123) by a Scarlet Knights MLB since 2002.

Defensive Matchups

So … there are teams in the NCAA that have their quarterback situation figured out? That’s right, including the Badgers, and Northwestern, Maryland and Illinois, Rutgers also has a QB conundrum. Their Joel Stave is Gary Nova, while their Tanner McEvoy is Chris Laviano. It’s likely Rutgers starts Laviano early against Washington State in Seattle, much like I believe the Badgers will do with McEvoy against LSU in Houston.

Even with some issues under center, Rutgers still has people to throw to. Sojourn Shelton‘s main buddy will be Leonte Carroo, while Devin Gaulden will have to clamp down on the slot against Ruhann Peele.

Freshman Impact

I highly doubt any Rutgers true freshman makes it to the field as a starter in this game. The 2014 class was built for the 2016 season. It was built for a strong QB, depth at RB and even some OL help, but not for this year.

Home Field Advantage

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Rutgers plays at High Point Solutions Stadium, a 52,454 seat venue in Piscataway. The High Point Solutions website is crisp and clean and I’ve looked at it for 20 minutes and still don’t know what they actually do. Hopefully fans will be more interested in seeing the Badgers than Rutgers, but the team fills the stadium quite well.

The last thing I expect is for Rutgers to be a very depressed team. They may be able to start 3-2 or even 4-1 (hosting Penn State will be tricky) but by the time they have to host Wisconsin, the Scarlet Knights will host Michigan, and travel to Ohio State and Nebraska. A loss to the Badgers and a later loss at Michigan State will doom Rutgers to bowl ineligibility.

Next week we’ll chat about the Badgers heading to Purdue. Scott Starks, do you remember Purdue?

Next Badgers Game Full schedule »

Tags: Devin Gaulden Ron Dayne Sojourn Shelton Wisconsin Badgers

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