2022 Rutgers Scarlet Knights Preview

by Matt Fargo

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

2021-22 Season Record 5-8 (2-7 Big Ten East) - 6-7-0 ATS - 5-8-0 O/U

Returning Starters

Offense - 6
Defense - 6

Overview

It might take some time to jog the memory but Rutgers used to be a pretty good football team back in the latter days of the Big East Conference. Seven bowl games in eight years from 2005-2012 and then another bowl game in its one year in the AAC and then another the following year in its first season in the Big Ten. And it has now come to a crashing halt. The Scarlet Knights have generated seven straight losing seasons including the last two under head coach Greg Schiano who is on his second tour in Piscataway but they were able to play in a bowl game last season as they were a substitute for Texas A&M in the Gator Bowl. It provided some extra practice time as it gears up for another brutal Big Ten schedule where it has been a punching bag with no more than three conference wins since joining in 2014. With just 12 starters back after having 21 last season, it will take a big effort to make any sort of move.

Offense

The offense has been one of the worst over the last few seasons and last year was no exception as the Scarlet Knights were No. 118 in total offense and No. 113 in scoring offense and there really is no end in sight. The running game has been consistent but not in a good way as they have averaged between 134 and 138 ypg over the last three seasons and when your leading returning rusher is the quarterback, you know there are issues. Isaih Pacheco led the team with 647 yards but he is gone and the main guy will be Kyle Monangai but he has to be better than his 3.8 ypc to make an impact. Quarterback Noah Vedral was not a threat with his 297 yards on 3.0 ypc and he needs to step up his passing game after a mere 1,854 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. His top two receivers are gone and will be working behind an offensive line that has only two starters back.

Defense

Defensively, the Scarlet Knights improved by 54 ypg from 2020 but it was hardly good enough to carry the anemic offense as it finished No. 79 in total defense and No. 52 in scoring defense. After allowing only 34 points in the first three games of the season, the Big Ten opposing offenses were just too much and the schedule sets up similar this season. Six starters are back with a poor returning production ranking of No. 90 so it is an uphill battle on this side of the ball as well. Rutgers plays five in the secondary and this is its strength coming into the season with four seniors leading the way including safeties Avery Young and Christian Izien that combined for 151 tackles. The defensive line needs more of a pass rush to help the secondary even more but it is young and needs a strong start. Both linebackers are gone and will be replaced by Deion Jennings and Tyreem Powell who had only 20 tackles last season.

2022 Season Outlook

Playing in the Big Ten East Division is a bad draw for Rutgers having to play Ohio St., Michigan, Michigan St. and Penn St. every year where it has gone 2-32 against them since joining the conference. We can likely chalk up four more losses again this season so it is going to take a huge effort to get close to bowl eligibility but Schiano has pulled off good things in the past yet it is hard to foresee it. Rutgers started 3-0 last season it could repeat that with games against Boston College and Temple on the road surrounded by a home game against Wagner. Then comes the conference schedule where not only the Scarlet Knights have those brutal four games but also have Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota and Maryland, all projected for at least six wins. The O/U win total is set at four and with a home game against Indiana, it should get there. Anything more will be a very tough ask. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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