GameDay Preview: 3 Things to Know about Rutgers, Indiana's Opponent on Saturday

Indiana shut out Rutgers 35-0 a year, but the Scarlet Knights aren't the same team under first-year coach Greg Schiano. Saturday's game is the only battle between Big Ten unbeatens this week.
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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – No one really saw that Saturday's Indiana-Rutgers game would be the only one in the Big Ten with a pair of unbeaten teams, but that's what we've got.

Both teams won a week ago as big underdogs, with Indiana knocking off No. 8 Penn State for its first win over a top-10 team in 33 years.

Rutgers snapped a 21-game conference losing streak, winning Greg Schiano's debut 38-27 at Michigan State.

This is certainly not the same Rutgers team that Indiana beat 35-0 a year ago. 

Here's three things to know about the Scarlet Knights. Game time is 3:30 p..m. ET and the game is televised on FOX Sports 1. 

1. This is not the same Rutgers

A lot has been made about Indiana's upset of Penn State last week, and it was certainly a huge win for the Hoosiers, who were 6-point underdogs. But the game that was a bigger upset was Rutgers' 38-27 win over Michigan State. The Scarlet Knights were 12-point underdogs.

And Tom Allen was thrilled they won. Because now Indiana's players are paying attention and there is zero shot of complacency from the Hoosiers.

'I think it was huge. I was actually thankful for that (Rutgers win) in some ways, just being honest,'' Allen said. 'You can say things a certain way, but if you put the film in and the film does not match, these guys are pretty smart guys. They know what the film means. When you put the film in, they are a completely different team than we played a year ago. 

"Whatever thought that you had about Rutgers previously is erased. That obviously shows us that the film never lies. They are a much-improved football team. They played really hard. They created seven takeaways, which is unbelievably impressive to me, and they are a really good team. Bottom line is, it is our first road game, and we have to play better this week than we played last week. That is the key.

2. We've seen this quarterback before

When Rutgers hired Greg Schiano, he knew he had a major rebuilding job on his hands, He's tried to fast-track that by reaching out for transfers, and that included Noah Vedral, who played some last year at Nebraska behind Adrian Martinez.

"In regards their personnel, they have a lot of quality transfers. They really changed the way their team looks by bringing in new guys,'' Allen said. "It just starts at quarterback. We did play against him last year. The thing that sticks out to me is his moxie. He is a kid that understands the game, he is a really good athlete, he can do a lot of things, he can run it, he can throw it, and he extends plays with his legs. 

"He is a tough, gritty guy. We have a lot of respect for him as a player. We know we are going to have to play extremely well to be able to contain him and keep him from being very effective in both the run and throw game. They have several other players, as well.''

Vedral was 18-for-29 passing last week against Michigan State, throwing for 169 yards and a touchdown. He also had one interception in his first start with the Scarlet Knights. He carried the ball nine times for 24 yards, but he can be dangerous on the run, which is something Indiana has to be careful of. Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford had a 100-yard rushing game himself last week, and scored on a 35-yard touchdown run. That can't happen again this week. 

At Nebraska, the Wahoo, Neb., native just saw spot duty in 2018 and 2019. He actually started his career at UCF, but came home when Scott Frost was hired as Nebraska's coach. Frost had recruited him to UCF.

He was just 36-for-61 passing for 447 yards during his Nebraska career, with no touchdown passes and one interception. He was 22-for-29 with a touchdown pass during his freshman year at UCF.

He's a veteran, but he also doesn't have a lot of playing time under his belt. Indiana needs to put some pressure on him and force some turnovers

3. The truth behind the numbers

That was a great win for Rutgers last week in East Lansing, especially as a double-digit underdog. Forcing seven turnovers was great, and it was the biggest reason why they won.

But if you look closely at the numbers, this game was closer than you'd think. Michigan State had 23 first downs to 16 for Rutgers, and the Scarlet Knights were just 6-for-15 on third-down conversions, and they benefited a lot from playing on short fields all the time.

It will be interesting to see how efficient that Rutgers offense is against Indiana. Running back Isaih Pacheco is a nice player, but he had only 61 yards on 19 carries. Indiana,  remember, shut them own a year ago, winning 35-0.

Tom Brew prediction

I'm not buying into the Rutgers rebuild just yet. Certainly the Scarlet Knights will be better, but there's still a talent disparity here. I think Indiana's passing game will be much crisper Saturday and Michael Penix Jr. will have a big day. I see him throwing for 250 yards minimum.

I also think Indiana will run the ball better. Look for junior Stevie Scott, a former Rutger commit, to have a big day and Sampson James will play a bigger role, too. I see Indiana rushing for at least 125 yards.

Indiana wins, 38-17.