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Get To Know The Opponent: Rutgers

NCAA Football: Indiana at Rutgers Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Michigan State Spartans host the Rutgers Scarlet Knights this Saturday at noon Eastern Time on the Big Ten Network. Let’s get to know more about Rutgers.

School: Rutgers University

Nickname: Scarlet Knights

Location: Piscataway, New Jersey

Head Coach: Greg Schiano (14th season as Rutgers’ head coach, in two different stints, 80-86 record)

Series History: The Spartans lead the Scarlet Knights 9-4 in the overall series history. Michigan State won the last matchup in the series, which came last season in a 31-13 win in Piscataway. The Spartans have won seven out of the last eight meetings, and will look to keep it going on Saturday in East Lansing. Rutgers’ only win against Michigan State since the Scarlet Knights joined the Big Ten came in 2020 in MSU head coach Mel Tucker’s debut game.

The Spartans and Scarlet Knights will meet in East Lansing for a Big Ten East clash on Saturday. With both teams are out of contention for the Big Ten Championship, both will be playing to become closer to bowl eligibility. The Spartans and Scarlet Knights enter this contest with identical overall records of 4-5.

Rutgers is coming off a tough battle with (then) No. 5 Michigan, where the Scarlet Knights actually held a 17-14 lead at the half against the Wolverines. Unfortunately for the Scarlet Knights, Michigan ran away with the game in the second half, outscoring Rutgers 38-0, and finishing the game with a 52-17 win.

The Spartans also faced a ranked opponent last week, the Illinois Fighting Illini, and earned a victory. The Illini, who currently lead the Big Ten West, came into the game at No. 16 in the first edition of the 2022 College Football Playoff rankings (and are now at No. 21 following the loss to MSU). MSU provided a tough, gritty 23-15 road win that gave Spartan fans something to feel good about in this tough 2022 season.

Players to Watch

Avery Young

Senior safety Avery Young from Coatesville, Pennsylvania has put together a nice career for himself at Rutgers, with some highlight plays against some star worthy players. Back in the 2020 matchup against the Spartans, Young racked up five tackles and a forced fumble against Spartan star wideout Jayden Reed.

Young has a great feel for the safety position, with some outstanding ball skills. In the clip below, Young has deep half responsibility against this tough vertical passing offense of Ohio State. Young does a great job being “deeper than the deepest” and keeping his eyes on quarterback, and future first-round pick C.J. Stroud. Displaying both of these fundamentals, this allows Young to be in perfect position to play the ball and come away with an interception.

Expect Young to help out the Rutgers cornerbacks in one-on-one situations against wide receivers Keon Coleman and Jayden Reed.

Johnny Langan

Senior Swiss Army knife Johnny Langan can truly do it all for the Scarlet Knights. This season, Langan has thrown for a touchdown and also caught a touchdown at his normal tight end position. Langan is also the short-yardage running back/wildcat quarterback for Rutgers. Langan’s versatility and grit makes him a prospect for the next level, similar to the current New Orleans Saint, Taysom Hill.


The Spartans and Scarlet Knights will both be looking for their fifth win of the season, and getting one game closer to bowl eligibility. Although the Spartans are 10-point favorites, this won’t be a walk in the park. Expect a very gritty, hard-nosed Big Ten football game in East Lansing on Saturday. This should be a pretty low scoring game, so the team that can capitalize most on red zone chances will more than likely come out victorious in this contest.