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Game week opponent profile: Wagner

This week, the Rutgers football team is set to face Wagner, a low level opponent who hasn't registered a win since September 2019. – Photo by Wagner College Football / Twitter

The Rutgers football team silenced many doubters on Saturday when the team defeated Boston College 22-21 last weekend. Looking ahead, the Scarlet Knights (1-0, 0-0) will have their home opener at SHI Stadium on Busch campus this weekend as they take on Wagner.

While Rutgers is coming off its first win of the season, the Seahawks (0-1, 0-0) come into the weekend with an 0-1 record after losing to Fordham. Many fans believe this matchup favors the Knights, but this Wagner team was able to score 31 points in its opening loss. 

Before the Seahawks come to Piscataway this Saturday, here is what fans should know about the team. 

In addition to the last loss to the Rams (1-0, 0-0), the program has lost its previous 20 games dating back to the 2019 season. That last win came on Sept. 28, 2019, in a 24-14 win over LIU.

Against Fordham, the Wagner offense did most of its damage in the first half. Quarterback Nick Kargman, a transfer student from Western Michigan, completed 13 of 32 passes for 218 yards, had two touchdowns and threw two interceptions.

While the play at quarterback was spotty at times, Kargman’s go-to target in the home opener was wide receiver Naiem Simmons. The team's No. 1 receiver hauled in eight catches for 162 yards and a touchdown. His route tree stretched all over the field, but he was particularly good at catching slant routes over the middle.

Running back Rickey Spruill is another name to watch. He was used a lot in the first quarter and scored the first touchdown of the game to give his team a 7-0 lead. Spruill finished the game with one touchdown and 58 yards rushing on 13 carries, averaging approximately 4.5 yards per carry.

While the Seahawks' offense showed positive signs in their home opener, the defense leaves much to be desired. While their pass rush got home at times with Titus Leo and John Gioia, the unit gave up their lead in the second half of the game.

The defense allowed the Rams to come back and outscore Wagner 34-10 in the second half. The defense also gave up 161 rushing yards to the Rams, which figures to be good news to a Rutgers team that rushed for 212 yards last week and finished the game with a run-heavy 96-yard drive.

For a young Knights football team that took a giant step forward against the Eagles (0-1, 0-0), this game should be used to work out some kinks and give the team much-needed experience working together.

While the Seahawks might make the game interesting at times, Rutgers should be favored to take home its second victory of the season.

For more updates on the Rutgers football team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter

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