Rutgers Scarlet Knights 2021 College Football Preview
Created August 15, 2021
Record – 3-6
ATS – 5-4
The Scarlet Knights were a MUCH improved bunch and bagged three (!) Big Ten road wins (Michigan St, Purdue, Maryland) whilst giving Michigan all they could handle in a 3-OT defeat (L 48-42). After a GHASTLY (-23.4) point differential in 2019 Rutgers was only outscored to the average tune of 32-27 in 2020. Things are looking up in New Brunswick, yo.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights 2021 Outlook
Former CORN-semi-prodigy Noah Vedral was a major upgrade at QB LY and is the clear-cut starter heading into 2021 (61.5%, 9-8 TD to INT, 193 rush, TD). Vedral gets his top-three WRs returning for battle and they were an underrated bunch in 2020. #1 Bo Melton was particularly effective (47-638, 13.6, 6 TD). Leading rusher Isaih Pacheco returns and recall that he caught 19 balls out of the backfield LY. The depth behind him is sketchy. An experienced and fairly large OL has every license to improve this season. We’ll call for the best yardage per game output since they rolled up 377 in 2015 (339 LY, 2nd worst Big Ten).
The D was still pretty shaky LY as they allowed 200+ YPG on the ground for the 3rd straight season and allowed opponents to complete 67.3% of their pass attempts (2nd worst Big Ten). Ten starters are back on this side of the football and 10/11 top tacklers so there’s no reason to expect anything other than a moderate step forward. Here’s a fun FACT CHECK TRUE…..Rutgers was #1 in the Big Ten LY in TFL/game so we expect to see more SPICY PENETRATION in 2021. They’re undersized up front but havoc-minded. DE Mike Tverdov and NG Julius Turner combined for 18.5 TFL in 2020. LBs Olakunle Fatukasi and Tyshon Fogg were the team’s top-two tacklers LY (combined 15.5 TFL) and lead a solid unit. They’ve gotta get better on the back end. The experience is there and they added a potential starting CB from UNC (Patrick Rene), so it’s not a complete lost cause.
Rutgers had the #5 special teams unit LY according to the great Phil Steele mag and there’s no reason to think they won’t be excellent in 2021. PK Valentino Ambrosio hit 11/13 FG LY (3-4 40+), P Adam Korsak had an excellent 42.3 net, and KR Aron Cruickshank returned a pair for TDs. Oh, and they add the impossibly-talented return man Joshua Youngblood from Kansas St (3 KR TD 2019). Expect some SWEET ACTION from their special teams in 2021.
Overall – Good news. They begin the year with three winnable non-conference affairs. They bad news? They start Big Ten play with Michigan and Ohio St and draw Northwestern and Wisconsin from the West.
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – at Penn St (November 20th)
This will be their 4th road game in just over a month.
Season Win Total
Chop that wood, buh buh.
Rutgers showed a surprising level of competitiveness last season and there’s no reason to expect anything less in 2021. They could use a bit more spice on offense but the D should be fine and they boast excellent special teams. And the swagger is back. Big Ten SURPRISE PACKAGE.
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