Rutgers Football Game-by-Game Predictions

    With the college football season just a few short weeks away, fans nationwide are getting geared up and excited for the 2023 season! New Jersey is no exception, as Rutgers fans are looking forward to what should be a promising campaign from the Scarlet Knights. With an improved roster on both sides of the football, Rutgers (RU) has a good chance to win at least six games and get back to a bowl game this season. They also have a manageable schedule especially early on in the season. Let’s see how each game shakes out, with score predictions and what to expect in every game.

    Game 1: Rutgers vs. Northwestern (Sunday, September 3rd at 12:00 pm)

    Rutgers' series history with Northwestern - On the Banks

    Photo Cred: On the Banks

    In the season-opening Sunday matchup, Rutgers hosts the Northwestern Wildcats (NU). NU is a Big Ten West opponent that will be playing with a new head coach in David Braun. This game will be in front of a national audience on CBS. Braun replaces longtime Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald after a widespread hazing scandal caused Fitzgerald to be fired. Northwestern also struggled on the field, going just 1-11 last season. Their only win came in Week 1 last season in Ireland against Nebraska. On the other hand, the Scarlet Knights won all three non-conference games as well as a conference game against Indiana. Finishing with a 4-8 record is not excellent by any means but it is still significantly better than what Northwestern did. Rutgers has to take care of business against the inferior Wildcats that are battling a scandal and coming off the worst record in the Big Ten. Gavin Wimsatt builds rapport with his new receivers in JaQuae Jackson and Naseim Brantley. Sam Brown V has a 100-yard rushing performance in his return. The Rutgers defense holds up at home, holding the Wildcats to just 10 points. In the end, the Scarlet Knights break 20 points themselves and set the tone for the season, winning by a score of 24-10.

    Score prediction: Rutgers wins 24-10

    Record prediction: 1-0, 1-0 Big Ten

    Game 2: Rutgers vs. Temple (Saturday, September 9th at 7:30 pm)

    Rutgers defense dominates Temple in 61-14 victory - On the Banks

    Photo Cred: On the Banks

    Coming off an inspiring victory over Northwestern, Rutgers stays home to take on a familiar regional opponent in the Temple Owls. Rutgers won both of the last two matchups against Temple in dramatically different fashions. They defeated Temple 61-14 in the 2021 season opener. However, they barely survived an upset scare in Philadelphia last season, edging the Owls by a score of 16-14. This season, expect a happy medium. The Scarlet Knights win comfortably against a Group of Five opponent in Temple. Wimsatt goes off for 300 yards and three passing touchdowns to pair with a rushing touchdown. Al-Shadee Salaam scores a touchdown on the ground, and the defense prevents Temple from getting much going offensively under the lights at SHI Stadium. The Scarlet Knights prove to be too much for the Owls, as Rutgers cruises to a 41-17 victory and a 2-0 record.

    Score prediction: Rutgers wins 41-17

    Record prediction: 2-0, 1-0 Big Ten

    Game 3: Rutgers vs. Virginia Tech (Saturday, September 16th at 3:30 pm)

    Rutgers and Virginia Tech Agree to Home-and-Home Football Series - Rutgers  University Athletics

    Photo Cred: Rutgers Athletics

    Rutgers concludes their opening-season homestand with a Power Five matchup against the Virginia Tech Hokies. The Hokies had similar struggles to Rutgers last season, going 3-8 last season. Their final game against Virginia was canceled due to the tragic shootings of three Virginia football players. This is one of the biggest games of the season for both teams, as it is a pretty even matchup. Both teams finished with similar records and both need to win every winnable game to get to a bowl game this season. The home crowd should give the Scarlet Knights a boost and Wimsatt continues to impress. Although this game comes down to the final possession, the RU defense gets one final stop. An Aaron Lewis sack will seal the game for the Scarlet Knights.

    Score prediction: Rutgers wins 27-24

    Record prediction: 3-0, 1-0 Big Ten

    Game 4: Rutgers @ Michigan (Saturday, September 23rd at 12:00 pm)

    Five takeaways from Michigan football defeating Rutgers

    Photo Cred: Wolverines Wire

    After three straight wins to start the season, the schedule gets tougher for Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights make their first road trip of the season, visiting the two-time defending Big Ten champion Michigan Wolverines (UM). The Wolverines, led by returning quarterback J.J. McCarthy, have made the College Football Playoff in back-to-back seasons. They bring back many of their top players on both sides of the ball. Although Michigan has yet to win a College Football Playoff game, they are still much better than RU. That should show in this matchup in Ann Arbor. Rutgers has caught the Wolverines sleeping recently, with Michigan escaping with 48-42 and 20-13 wins in years prior. However, this was before the Wolverines had a more convincing 52-17 win in Piscataway last season. Even in that game, the Scarlet Knights had a 17-14 lead at halftime. Although RU keeps it closer than expected, Michigan gets going early in the game this year. UM soundly defeats the Scarlet Knights 38-17, handing Rutgers their first loss of the season.

    Score prediction: Rutgers loses 38-17

    Record prediction: 3-1, 1-1 Big Ten

    Game 5: Rutgers vs. Wagner (Saturday, September 30th, time TBA)

    Football Defeats Wagner in Home Opener, 66-7 - Rutgers University Athletics

    Photo Cred: Rutgers Athletics

    After a tough outing at Michigan, Rutgers returns home to play an FCS opponent in the Wagner Seahawks. Last year, Wagner proved to be no match for Rutgers, as the Scarlet Knights got a 66-7 victory. Expect something similar this year. The Seahawks will continue to struggle in the FCS, and playing a Big Ten opponent on the road will certainly not help matters. Rutgers gets a chance to rest their starters in the second half and the Scarlet Knights get to see what they have in some of their younger recruits. In the end, RU gets the blowout victory to get back into the win column and improve to 4-1. 

    Score prediction: Rutgers wins 70-3

    Record prediction: 4-1, 1-1 Big Ten

    Game 6: Rutgers @ Wisconsin (Saturday, October 7th at 12:00 pm)

    Rutgers dismantled by Wisconsin as calendar turns to November - On the Banks

    Photo Cred: On the Banks

    Rutgers returns to the road to face another Big Ten West foe, the Wisconsin Badgers. Quietly ranked #19 in the country in the AP preseason poll, Wisconsin brings in new head coach Luke Fickell. He recently led Cincinnati to become the first Group of Five team to make the College Football Playoff. The Badgers present a tough matchup for most teams, as they play a typical Big Ten West style of football. They run the ball heavily and also like stopping the run on defense. Although Rutgers likes to play a similar style, Wisconsin will win this game on the lines of scrimmage. The Badgers will overpower the Scarlet Knights by running hard and also not allowing much on the ground for Rutgers. Wimsatt struggles through the air, and a garbage time touchdown to Maine transfer tight end Shaun Bowman is not enough to prevent a difficult loss for Rutgers.

    Score prediction: Rutgers loses 42-10

    Record prediction: 4-2, 1-2 Big Ten

    Game 7: Rutgers vs. Michigan State (Saturday, October 14th at 12:00 pm)

    Football Falls Short at Michigan State - Rutgers University Athletics

    Photo Cred: Rutgers Athletics

    The Scarlet Knights host Big Ten East rival Michigan State Spartans for homecoming. This matchup is a must-win for RU as well. The Spartans won’t be an easy opponent by any means. However, Michigan State has been on the downturn lately and is projected to be a bit worse. Payton Thorne and Keon Coleman are at different schools now, while Kenneth Walker III is in the NFL. Last season, Rutgers fell to Michigan State 27-21 in East Lansing. However, Gavin Wimsatt and Kyle Monangai had monster games and managed to keep Rutgers in the game. This season in Piscataway, the Scarlet Knights are better on both sides of the ball and the Spartans are worse. Rutgers hangs on for a thrilling victory and improves to 5-2. Wimsatt leads the offense down the field in the final two minutes to set up new starting placekicker Jai Patel with a game-winning 39-yard field goal as time expires.

    Score prediction: Rutgers wins 34-31

    Record prediction: 5-2, 2-2 Big Ten

    Game 8: Rutgers @ Indiana (Saturday, October 21st at 12:00 pm)

    Football Downs Indiana on Homecoming - Rutgers University Athletics

    Photo Cred: Rutgers Athletics

    Rutgers visits another Big Ten East rival in the Indiana Hoosiers for a chance at bowl eligibility. The Scarlet Knights should not blow their shot against a similarly-talented Indiana team. Rutgers has won the last two games in the series, with a dominant 38-3 win in Bloomington two seasons ago and a gritty 24-17 win in Piscataway last year. This season’s contest is similar to last year but Rutgers grinds out a 31-24 win. Brown V finds a hole in the Indiana defense for a 71-yard touchdown run. This will ice the game and clinch a bowl game for the Scarlet Knights.

    Score prediction: Rutgers wins 31-24

    Record prediction: 6-2, 3-2 Big Ten

    Game 9: Rutgers vs. Ohio State (Saturday, November 4th, time TBA)

    Ohio State vs. Rutgers: 5 things we think we learned in victory

    Photo Cred: Buckeyes Wire

    RU comes off their bye week having clinched a bowl berth in October. The Scarlet Knights fans pack SHI Stadium in early November to see their team battle one of the nation’s best, the Ohio State Buckeyes. Unfortunately for Rutgers fans, the bowl game celebration is ruined by new starting Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord. He will find star wide receivers Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka for four combined touchdowns. Miyan Williams pairs with TreVeyeon Henderson for four more touchdowns on the ground. The Scarlet Knights realize they have a lot more work to do to compete with the Big Ten elite and get blown out at home 59-21. With that being said, Wimsatt hits Jackson in stride for an 88-yard touchdown. Monangai scores twice on the ground as well, while Brown V rushes for another 100-yard performance.

    Score prediction: Rutgers loses 59-21

    Record prediction: 6-3, 3-3 Big Ten

    Game 10: Rutgers @ Iowa (Saturday, November 11th, time TBA)

    Rutgers football vs. Iowa: Live updates from Big Ten opener

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    Rutgers hits the road once again to take on a third Big Ten West opponent, the Iowa Hawkeyes. Similar to RU, Iowa has an elite defense and special teams unit as well as a lackluster offense. However, the Iowa offense should be better this season, as former Michigan starting quarterback Cade McNamara transferred here. He even brought tight end Erick All along with him. The vaunted Iowa defense wears down the Rutgers offense. McNamara finds All and former Ohio State receiver Kaleb Brown in the end zone late to give the Hawkeyes a 21-10 win over the Scarlet Knights.

    Score prediction: Rutgers loses 21-10

    Record prediction: 6-4, 3-4 Big Ten

    Game 11: Rutgers @ Penn State (Saturday, November 18th, time TBA)

    Rutgers' series history with Penn State - On the BanksPhoto Cred: On the Banks

    Rutgers stays on the road to visit one of their biggest football rivals, the Penn State Nittany Lions. Penn State has been the dominant team in this rivalry. This includes a 28-0 win in Happy Valley two years ago and a 55-10 win in Piscataway last season. The Nittany Lions look to get even better with five-star quarterback Drew Allar set to start this season. Their running back duo of Kaytron Allen and Nick Singleton looks great, in addition to a great defense and solid offensive line. RU will be overmatched once again despite their off-season improvements. Although Max Melton returns an interception for a touchdown, there isn’t much more scoring from the Scarlet Knights. Penn State runs away with it 50-13.

    Score prediction: Rutgers loses 50-13

    Record prediction: 6-5, 3-5 Big Ten

    Game 12: Rutgers vs. Maryland (Saturday, November 26th, time TBA)

    Rutgers' series history with Maryland - On the Banks

    Photo Cred: On the Banks

    Rutgers returns home for their regular-season finale. They’ll take on the Maryland Terrapins (MD) for rivalry week on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. RU and Maryland entered the Big Ten in the same year in 2014 and have been competitive in football until very recently. The Terps have taken the last two games 40-16 in New Jersey and a 37-0 shutout last season. The Scarlet Knights should come a bit closer this season around, but Mike Locksley has taken Maryland to another level. MD is closer to competing with the Big Ten East’s top three teams than the bottom three. Wimsatt finds Naseim Brantley on a 55-yard deep route, while Sam Brown V and Kyle Monangai score on the ground. Taulia Tagovailoa throws three touchdowns on his own, with another from Roman Hemby. MD wins a close game to end the season 28-21 and sends the Scarlet Knights to 6-6 after a hot 6-2 start. 

    Score prediction: Rutgers loses 28-21

    Record prediction: 6-6, 3-6 Big Ten

    Bowl Game prediction- Pinstripe Bowl vs. NC State (December 28th at 2:15 pm)

    Knight Flicks: A Look Back at Rutgers - NC State 2008 Bowl Game - The  Comeback - YouTube

    Photo Cred: YouTube

    Despite the fall-off in November, Rutgers gets rewarded for their six-win season with a bowl game at Yankee Stadium in nearby New York City. They take on a past bowl opponent in NC State, who they beat 29-23 in the bowl in 2008. NC State likely qualifies for bowl eligibility this season with six or seven wins, setting up a rematch in the Pinstripe Bowl fifteen years later. Wimsatt has a legacy performance, throwing for 300 yards and three touchdowns, while Brown V scores two more on the ground. The defense remains formidable and Rutgers gets to a winning record and a bowl victory for the first time since 2014.

    Final Score: Rutgers 38-35

    Record prediction: 7-6, 3-6 Big Ten


    So there you have it. I have Rutgers clinching and winning a bowl game this year at 6-6, although it highly depends on Rutgers’ ability to win their toss-up games. RU comes in as clear favorites against Northwestern, Temple, and Wagner, so they should be able to handle business in those games. Games against Michigan, Penn State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin will almost definitely be hefty losses for Rutgers. Other Big Ten matchups against Maryland and Iowa loom as possible but unlikely upsets. The swing games for Rutgers are against Virginia Tech, Michigan State, and Indiana. RU cannot afford to misfire even once here. They need to win all three games against similarly talented opponents on top of the games that they are favored to win. If they do that, then the Scarlet Knights have a path to six wins and a bowl game. The fun all starts on September 3rd, when Rutgers opens the season at home against Northwestern. It will be a standalone Sunday afternoon game on CBS. Stay tuned and keep chopping!

    Rutgers Football 2023 schedule: Big Ten releases full slate - On the BanksPhoto Cred: On the Banks

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