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Get to Know the Opponent: Rutgers

In what should come as a shock to no one, Rutgers is not very good at football.

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Rutgers Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

So it has come to this. Michigan State needs to win their last two games of the season in order to be bowl eligible. The first of those two games is this weekend in New Jersey, so let’s get to know some more about Rutgers.

School: Rutgers University

Nickname: Scarlet Knights

Conference: Big Ten (East Division)

Location: New Brunswick/Piscataway, New Jersey

Head Coach: Nunzio Campanile (interim)

Record: 2-8 (0-7 in Big Ten)

Mascot: The Scarlet Knight

All-Time Series: Michigan State leads 7-3 (5-0 MSU since Rutgers joined the Big Ten)

Rutgers two wins this year have come against UMass and Liberty. Their highest offensive output against a Big Ten team was the 21 points they scored last week against Ohio State. They have not held a Big Ten opponent to under 30 points this year. They are bad.

Team Stats

How bad are they?

Offensively they rank 127th out of 130 teams in scoring at 15.3 points per game. They are 101st in rushing offense averaging 133.80 yards per game and 116th in yards per rush at 3.47 yards per carry.

If you thought that might mean they are a better passing team, you would be wrong. Rutgers is 121st in passing offense at 141.6 yards per game and 116th in yards per attempt. They have seven passing touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

How about on defense? Well it’s not much better. Rutgers is 126th in scoring defense allowing 38.6 points per game. They have the 107th ranked rushing defense and are 110th in yards per rush.

But hey they crack the top-100 in passing defense where they are 91st overall. However they are 111th in yards per attempt against and 114th in opponent passer rating.

They are also 119th in sacks with 12 total on the season. They have given up 20 sacks, which is actually middle of the road at 68th overall.

In the turnover department Rutgers has the third worst turnover margin in the country with thirteen more turnovers than takeaways.

Players to Watch

The Scarlet Knights have tried a few different quarterbacks this year but freshman Johnny Langan has been the one who has gotten the most reps overall and lately. Langan has completed 52.2% of his passes for 619 yards with four touchdowns and eight interceptions.

He is averaging 5.4 yards per attempt and has a rating of 94.96. Both of these numbers are not good.

Langan is also second on the team in rushing yards and attempts. He has 284 yards on 102 attempts for an average of 2.78 yards per rush. He also has three rushing TD’s.

The team’s leading rusher is sophomore Isaih Pacheco who has 591 yards on the year on 4.25 yards per carry. He has found the endzone seven times on the ground. Pacheco also has 10 catches for 52 yards so he’s good for about one catch out of the backfield per game.

Bo Melton and Raheem Blackshear are the top two receivers. Melton has 26 catches for 369 yards and two TD’s while Blackshear has 29 grabs for 310 yards and a pair of scores.

On defense linebacker Rashawn Battle and lineman Elorm Lumor share the team lead with two sacks. Tyreek Maddox-Williams and Willington Previlon each have five tackles for loss to lead the team.

The real question is whether or not I am making these names up or not.

Senior defensive back Damon Hayes has a couple of interceptions to lead the team while Tre Avery and Avery Young have one pick each.

Kicker Justin Davidovicz is 9-for-12 on field goals and perfect on 18 extra points after a solid season last year.

So to recap, Rutgers is not good. If MSU can’t win this one…well I don’t know what to tell you.