TKR writers predict Rutgers football's 2019 season record
Now that we are just days before the start of the 2019 Rutgers Football season, here at The Knight Report we decided to offer our takes on how we think the team will perform this upcoming season and give you our predictions on the record.
Season Prediction: 2-10 (1-8)
THE SKINNY: THIS IS IT. It’s make or break time for head coach Chris Ash. After going 1-11 and ranking dead last in scoring offense last year, Ash and co. need to win some at the very least a couple of games this season or it could be the end of the Ash Era after four years.
Despite all the negatives against Ash, he does have some positives to look forward too. This will be the first time in over 10-plus seasons that Rutgers has had the same offensive coordinator in back-to-back years. Not to mention, there are a couple of new faces added to the team this offseason (QB McLane Carter, TE Kyle Penniston) that should be able to contribute for the Scarlet Knights offense.
After watching spring ball and all, Rutgers can definitely get to two wins this season and maybe even three if everything goes right. However, it might not be the two wins people are expecting. I expect Rutgers to win at least one of their three non-conference games along with sneaking one Big Ten contest as well.
Season Prediction: 3-9 (2-7)
THE SKINNY: Sorry, but get ready for another long season "On the Banks". Rutgers surprisingly went 1-11 last season and head coach Chris Ash is just 7-29 in his three years at the helm of the Scarlet Knights. If the offense isn't fixed and there are plenty of turnovers and the defense gives up big play after big play just like a year ago, that would be a recipe for disaster. The hope is the offense under second-year play-caller John McNulty will be better and the skill position players will use their experience and step it up a notch. No matter what though, it'l come down to the offensive line and whether they can protect the quarterback, open lanes for the stable of running backs, and stay healthy. McNulty is using some more spread concepts and formations and RPOs which could allow the ball to get our more quickly from the quarterback.
In 2018, the defense responded well and played much better once Ash took over the controls. It'll be interesting to see if new defensive coordinator Andy Buh can carry the torch there. The linebackers have been given praise, and now it's time for the unit to show up in a big way. Buh has said he's been teaching aggressiveness and wants to cause a lot of turnovers. We'll see.
While the overall record most likely won't be pretty, I am putting Top-25 foe Iowa on upset alert. The week prior, at home against Boston College, is also the biggest game in Ash's tenure at Rutgers. That game could make or break the entire season - and Ash's career in Piscataway.
The Scarlet Knights will likely lose to Penn State, Michigan, Ohio State, and Michigan State. I'll even call ahead early losses to Minnesota and Indiana. Rutgers will undoubtedly have to win all of its non-conference games against UMass, Liberty, and Boston College to have a shot about thinking of finishing with a solid record.
Don't sleep on Liberty, that team is dangerous. I could see Rutgers sleepwalking and falling to the Flames.