The No. 21 Wisconsin Badgers (5-3 overall, 3-2 Big Ten) are all set up to play the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (4-4 overall, 1-4 Big Ten) on Saturday afternoon in Piscataway, N.J. The Badgers are on a four game winning streak, including back-to-back wins over ranked teams, while Rutgers comes into the game losers of four of their last five.
Wisconsin enters this contest with the best defense in the Big Ten and the second best (or maybe first depending on the metric) defense in the nation behind Georgia, which will, predictably, pose a problem for Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights don’t do anything particularly well on offense, outside of keeping the ball for a long time, as they are ranked the No. 20 team in the country in time of possession.
Rutgers benefits from having good field position for much of the game. Their return game, featuring former Badger Aron Cruickshank, has been solid all year and they force opposing offenses into tough field positions with their all-world punter Adam Korsak booting the ball inside the 10-yard line with shocking consistency.
Cruickshank has missed the last two games with a shoulder injury, and is listed as questionable for Saturday’s game, but it sounds like Rutgers is hopeful he’ll be able to return to the field this weekend.
Early in the season, the Wisconsin offense struggled to finish drives when they got into the redzone, resulting in multiple frustrating turnovers that resulted in one blown game (against Penn State) and many angry fans shouting at their TVs.
One of my favorite stats, points per scoring opportunity. It can lead to a blowout, or an uncomfortable game.— College Football Geek (@CFB_Geek) November 4, 2021
The nice thing is that Wisconsin’s defense is stingy as hell on the rare occurrence the opposition finds themselves close to the endzone. If the UW defense can keep the Rutgers offense behind schedule, they should be able to tee off on RU’s quarterback on third and fourth downs.
Honestly, the same can be said for when Wisconsin’s offense is on the field and Rutgers’ defense tries to force them into third and long situations. Rutgers is bad at forcing teams into this situation, but when they do, they are one of the best defenses in the nation in getting off the field on third downs.
An O-Line’s worst nightmare ⚒️ pic.twitter.com/vqiQ8dvwep— PFF College (@PFF_College) November 5, 2021
Rutgers doesn’t have Leo Chenal though, so Wisconsin definitely has an advantage there.
Here are the staff predictions for the game:
Tyler: 27-7, Wisconsin
Owen: 34-14, Wisconsin
J.J.: 27-7, Wisconsin (with regret, NJ native, J.J. notes)
Belz: 20-7, Wisconsin
Rock: 41-10, Wisconsin (Rock is at the game and says hes going to eat multiple strombolis)
Kevin: 31-10, Wisconsin
Ryan: 31-7, Wisconsin
Bremen: 25-9, Wisconsin
Drew: 28-10, Wisconsin
Jake: 27-13, Wisconsin
Neal: 30-13, Wisconsin (predicts one Aron Cruickshank return TD)