The Rutgers football team faces a tall task to begin its in-conference schedule, hosting Iowa in a nationally televised game on Saturday night. The Scarlet Knights (3-0, 0-0) are looking to break a 19-game losing streak at home in Big Ten play.
“We just take every game one game at a time,” said head coach Greg Schiano. “We are trying to be 1-0 at the end of this week. So what's happened in the past, I think when people do that, you put yourself in a bad position, start looking back or looking forward. We are just here to chop the moment.”
Against Temple, the Rutgers defense took charge, with sophomore defensive back Shaquan Loyal recording the only touchdown off of an interception return. Sophomore defensive lineman Aaron Lewis also shined, recording a career-high 11 tackles and forcing a fumble.
“I think he's made kind of a steady climb. (Lewis) is a very, very good football player,” Schiano said “He's explosive. He can make plays. So we need him to do that, and he's doing what we need him to do.”
On the other side of the ball, the offense continues to raise questions, especially at the quarterback position. Sophomore quarterback Evan Simon could receive most of the snaps this weekend as both sophomore quarterback Gavin Wimsatt, and senior quarterback Noah Vedral have been listed as game-time decisions due to injury.
“It's kind of unsettling. You have two quarterbacks that are game-time decisions,” Schiano said. “We'll just prepare, as I said after the game on Saturday. We'll prepare for whoever we have that the doctors tell us are going to be able to play.”
The Hawkeyes (2-1, 0-0) are coming off of a shutout victory over Nevada. Iowa withstood a nearly 7-hour game, prolonged by three rain delays while recording a season-high 337 yards of offense. Kaleb Johnson dominated on the ground, gaining 103 yards on just seven carries while reaching the end zone twice.
In the all-time series, the Hawkeyes are 2-0 against the Knights, winning in 2019 with a 30-0 shutout. Their first matchup was a back-and-forth affair in 2016, but Iowa scored with 8 minutes left and held on for the victory.
Rutgers will kick off Big Ten play at 7 p.m. at SHI Stadium on Busch campus Saturday night. The TV broadcast will take place on Fox Sports 1, and the radio broadcast is available on 88.7 WRSU-FM.
“They play very hard. They are physical. They are technically sound,” Schiano said. “So it's a great challenge for our guys, great challenge for our coaching staff. You put all that together and throw it in this Saturday night, wearing red to the game and packing the place, that's what college football is all about.”
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