College Football Preview: The 2015 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Rutgers Scarlet Knights Preview
2014 Record: 8-5 (37th of 128) Won Quick Lane Bowl 40-21 vs. North Carolina
Odds to Win National Championship: +80000 See the Latest Odds
Overview: In their first season in the Big Ten, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights flexed their muscle and won eight games. Kyle Flood clearly has this program moving in the right direction and now hopes to make another statement in his fourth season with Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights hope to clinch five straight bowl games for just the second time in school history.
Offense: Rutgers offense is a major question mark after finishing 76th in the country and having a new offensive coordinator in Ben McDaniels. The first question that must be answered is at quarterback, as Chris Laviano threw just 28 passes last season and Hayden Rettig is new to the school after transferring from LSU. Whoever starts will have the privilege of throwing to Leonte Carroo, who topped 1,000 receiving yards and caught 10 touchdowns. The Rutgers ground game is quite deep with Desmon Peoples, Josh Hicks, Robert Martin and Paul James are all capable of 10-plus carries a game. Rutgers offense has the ability to be quite good, but it all comes down to who starts at QB and if he can hit the ground running.
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Defense: Rutgers returns five starters from a defense that ranked 100th in the country. There’s a lot of pressure on defensive coordinator Joe Rossi in his second season. Steve Longa is the face of this defense after back-to-back 100-tackle seasons and Quentin Gause helps provide one of the better linebacker duos in the Big Ten. Darius Hamilton holds down the fort on the defensive line after 11.5 tackles for loss and Kemoko Turay is an underrated playmaker who can do a little bit of everything. Dre Boggs is a highly skilled corner who could be ready for a bounce back season and Delon Stephenson will be the voice of a young secondary that will feature a lot of new faces. Rutgers defense is a work in progress, but it could improve with a solid defensive line and a linebacker core that’s much underrated.
Special Teams: Kyle Federico returns at kicker after making 76.2 percent of 21 field goal attempts. Tim Gleeson and Joseph Roth return at punter after combining for 37.3 yards on 65 punt attempts.
Overall: Rutgers enters the season as a question mark, as it could take a step back due to quarterback concerns and a defense that has to replace a lot of guys. However, Rutgers could also remain a middle-of-the-pack team with a highly skilled offense and a coaching staff that finds a way. Either way, six wins and another bowl spot should be reasonable for the Scarlet Knights.