When and where: October 19, 2019, HighPoint.com Stadium, Piscataway, NJ, 3:30 PM ET
Things won’t get any easier for the struggling Rutgers Scarlet Knights with the No. 20-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers coming to town for a visit on Saturday. Despite a few close calls, the Golden Gophers remain unbeaten this season. They recently trounced Nebraska in a 34-7 victory at home. Meanwhile, the Scarlett Knights were shut out for the third time this season by Indiana. Rutgers quarterback Johnny Langan hopes to have a better outing after completing only five passes for one yard.
True test has yet to come for MinnesotaThe Golden Gophers have continued to pile up wins with few actually taking them seriously as legitimate contenders. They did manage to dust off a bad Nebraska team, but that isn’t the type of performance that’s going to turn heads, either.
Saturday’s game against the Scarlett Knights only feeds into the narrative of Minnesota working their way through a cupcake schedule before running into Penn State and Iowa later in the season.
Rutgers has been so bad defensively that it’s basically picking your poison for the Golden Gophers’ offense. They could opt to run the ball down the throat of a Rutgers defense allowing an average of 209.17 rushing yards per game, which ranks dead last in the Big Ten conference. Rodney Smith has been an absolute terror coming out of the backfield with 118 rushes on the season for 675 yards and four touchdowns.
If you’re wondering about the passing attack, the Rutgers defense hasn’t shown the ability to stop that, either. Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan has done a fine job of stepping in for injured starter Zack Annexstad, and he should have no problem slicing up the Scarlett Knights secondary like a filet on a Gordon Ramsey cutting board.
The Golden Gophers have struggled with consistency on defense, particularly when defending the run, but they are going head-to-head with an offense only generating 11.8 points per game. Minnesota is averaging more points than that in a half. There are no dimensions to the Rutgers offense, and the Golden Gophers should be able to boost their stats on Saturday.
Rutgers shut out for a third timeThe Scarlet Knights only mustered a sad 75 total yards in their blowout loss to Indiana, while giving up 557 total yards of offense. They were clearly overmatched from the beginning. Granted, every fan knew what they were getting into when these two teams went head-to-head, but Rutgers diehards at least expected them to come away with a field goal. For a third time this season, they couldn’t get anything going on offense.
It could be the same story on Saturday if they’re unable to convert third downs. They were 0-for-11 in third-down conversions against the Indians, and they rank last in the conference with only 22 conversions on 88 attempts this season.
Langen is in a rough situation playing behind center with a shoddy offensive line and no consistent rushing attack. He has two interceptions and zero touchdown passes on the season. There is no need in directing blame in running back Isaih Pacheco’s direction considering there aren’t many holes for him to run through.
Things aren’t any better on the defensive side with the team ranking near the bottom in nearly every important statistical category. Along with being the worst at converting third downs, they’re also the worst at stopping third-down conversions.
So they can’t even get off the field.
- Golden Gophers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 conference games.
- Golden Gophers are 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 road games.
- Golden Gophers are 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight up win.
- Golden Gophers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games in October.
- Scarlet Knights are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 conference games.
- Scarlet Knights are 0-4 ATS against a team with a winning record.
- Scarlet Knights are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following a straight up loss of more than 20 points.
- Scarlet Knights are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games overall.