It’s been a rough time for Rutgers and head coach Kyle Flood with an academic investigation brewing, but at least the team should have no problems on the field. Not only is Norfolk State trying to rebound after a tough 4-8 season, but as many as 11 players might suspended stemming from a brawl at the end of last season.
How do the two teams match up for the opening game of the season? Find out below in our Rutgers vs. Norfolk State prediction and preview.
Rutgers vs. Norfolk State Prediction & Preview
Date: Saturday, September 5
Game Time: 12:00 ET
Why You Need To Care
This might be the most fun Rutgers has for a little while. The schedule isn’t too bad with Washington State and Kansas at home, but there’s a road game at Penn State and then the home battle with Michigan State. That’s all fine, but what’s the team going to look like after the controversy? As is, this is supposed to be a bit of a rebuilding season after a solid eight-win opening campaign in the Big Ten, but it could be a tough run with all the distractions.
Once back to 100% in terms of personnel, Norfolk State should be better with nine starters back from an offense that did next to nothing to help out the D. The Spartans were second in the country in total defense and pass D, but holding teams to just 17 points per game wasn’t enough. There’s a chance for a lightning fast turnaround – after this week.
Why Norfolk State Will Win
The defense is still terrific. The Spartans only played one FBS team last season and was ripped up by Buffalo 36-7, but they allowed 17 points or fewer in eight of the 12 games and return strong. Deon King is a hitting machine who should give the Scarlet Knights fits, while Florida Atlantic quarterback transfer Greg Hankerson is expected to come into an already experienced offense and crank it up.
Why Rutgers Will Win
The Norfolk State offense might be better, but it has miles to go before it’s remotely decent. Rutgers might be working on a defense that couldn’t slow down anyone’s running game, but that shouldn’t be a problem considering the Spartan attack is trying to get over a dead season averaging just 241 yards and 11.7 points per game. The team failed to score more than 21 points all season and came up with more than 15 just twice.
Player Who Matters
Rutgers has to use this game to establish the run. Paul James is a good, talented back when healthy, but he’s returning from a torn ACL suffered in the fifth game of the season. He was on hie was to a big year highlighted by 173 yards against Washington State, and now he has to ease his way back into game mode. If he’s good this year, he could be a much-needed steadying force.
What’s Going To Happen?
Even against a strong FCS defense, Rutgers will be able to call its shot and bring in the backups against the gutted Spartans.
Rutgers vs. Norfolk State Score Prediction
Ladies and gentlemen, the time has come. The Rutgers vs. Norfolk State prediction is …
Final Score: Rutgers 45, Norfolk State 7
Must See Rating: 5: True Detective, Season 1 – 1: True Detective, Season 2 … 1