2019 Rutgers Scarlet Knights Team Preview

Barring an 8-5 anomaly their first year, Rutgers’ tenure in the Big Ten has been a disaster. The Scarlet Knights have gone 11-37 since then, 4-31 in Big Ten play. After being one of the most consistent teams in the Big East, the reality of playing in the brutal Big Ten East has shattered the program and made it into the power five’s worst. Chris Ash feels like a longshot to save his job, but if he wants a chance at it he has to show some improvement in 2019.

Offense

The QB play was maybe the worst in the country last year. Freshman Artur Sitkowsky threw at a horrid 49% clip and threw just four touchdowns to 18 interceptions on an awful 4.2 yard per attempt average throwing the ball. Ash claims he still has confidence in Stkowsky, who had to learn a different scheme than he ran in high school, but with a pair of P5 transfers joining the team, his chances of starting again seem far from certain.

Raheem Blackshear was pretty much the only bright spot on the offense, being one of the few players over the past few years to lead a team in both rushing (586 yards) and receiving (367 yards). sophomore RB Isaih Pachecho proved he had a spark as a freshman (5.0 yards per carry) and Rutgers should capitalize on that.

Four starters are back on the line and this team adds a few transfers in the receiving corps to try and provide some targets for Sitkwoski. The offense will not be good but they should progress to the mean a little after an awful year.

Defense

Rutgers wasn’t quite as bad on defense last year, but they were by no means good. the scarlet Knights struggled to get pressure on the quarterback, with just three guys totaling two or more sacks. The top two rushers, end Elorm Lumor and Mike Tverdov both return though, and linebacker Tyreek Maddox-Williams showed some flashes as a sophomore. The Scarlet Knights also add a Michigan transfer at will, Drew Singleton.

The secondary was probably the best unit on the team last year, but they lose their safeties. Corners Avery Young and Damon Hayes are the returnees in that group after combining for 15 PBUs and two interceptions. The defense should be solid again, but it won’t matter if the offense can’t do anything.

2019 Outlook

The Rutgers offense was really bad last year, but with a solid defense likely to stay solid and an offense likely to improve, getting more than one win feels likely, although they’ll only be favored in two. I’d expect the Scarlet Knights to pull at least one upset elsewhere, but much more than that seems quite unlikely, and it’ll be a struggle for Chris Ash to save his job.

Schedule

DateOpponentOPp. rankProj. Margin
30-Augumass12411.5
7-Sepat iowa19-17.6
21-Sepboston college64-3.8
28-Sepat michigan7-25.0
5-Octmaryland59-4.5
12-Octat indiana61-10.4
19-Octminnesota38-7.7
26-octliberty12110.3
2-Novat illinois81-7.6
16-Novohio state5-21.7
23-Novmichigan state20-10.8
30-Novat penn state9-22.3

Average Projected Record: 3.6 wins, 8.4 losses (1.6 wins, 7.4 losses)