Week 2 scouting report: Rutgers

The Scarlet Knights put up 41 unanswered points against Massachusetts in Week 1, but it has holes on both sides of the ball that Iowa can capitalize on.


The Rutgers team runs onto the field during the Iowa-Rutgers game at High Point Solution Stadium at Piscataway on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016. The Hawkeyes defeated the Knights, 14-7. (The Daily Iowan/Margaret Kispert)

Anna Kayser, Sports Editor

In the first Big Ten matchup of the season, Iowa takes on Rutgers in what should be a test on more of what Iowa can do internally than combating the opponent.

The Scarlet Knights won their Week 1 contest against Massachusetts, 48-21, but it didn’t come without its faults. They fell behind 21-7 in the first quarter but put up 31 in the second to erase the blow.

One of the high points of Rutgers game was its receiving, tallying 348 total yards on 22 catches. Although quarterback McLane Carter didn’t have a completely clean game, his potential to create major plays through the air give Rutgers a chance against Iowa’s run defense.

Carter finished his day with a 67.7 completion percentage but threw more interceptions (3) than he did touchdown receptions (2).

A defensive lineman broke through his protection and pressured Carter to throw into a contested area for the first time just five minutes into the first quarter. If the Hawkeyes can pressure the Scarlet Knights in the backfield while pushing through the line to rush Carter into a decision, the defense could get some catching work in.

When it faces Iowa, Rutgers will have some things to shore up in its run defense.

A hole on the right side of Rutgers’ line resulted in a 39-yard rushing touchdown by Massachusetts.

Later in the backfield, missed tackles hurt the Scarlet Knights again with another long run into the endzone for a 14-point deficit.

Iowa’s run game breaking through the line is going to be important to manufacture long runs. When the backs get through, the run defense is light enough to rack up some yards on a single run.

The Minutemen averaged 5.4 yards per rush on the game and finished with 183 total yards on 34 attempts.

On the flip side, Rutgers had some long runs of its own, opting to take routes around the line instead of through.

Isaih Pacheco is the Scarlet Knights’ main running weapon and someone the Hawkeye line will have to keep an eye on. He broke open for a 57-yard touchdown run and finished the day with 156 yards. His average was three yards over Rutgers’ team total of 4.8, and only 40 net rushing yards came from the rest of the roster.

In the passing game, good things happened when Carter placed the ball in his own teammates’ arms against Massachusetts.

The Scarlet Knights averaged 10.9 yards per pass and 15.8 yards per catch, and on the other side of the ball, their pass defense held strong, allowing just 3.3 yards per pass and 5.5 yards per catch.

They have two major passing targets in Raheem Blackshear and Bo Melton, who tallied 126 and 127 yards, respectively. Melton averaged 21.2 yards per catch while Blackshear averaged 14.0, and they each scored a touchdown.

Outside of their two major playmakers, the Scarlet Knights have options to create long receptions when they’re in need of a first down. Rutgers converted half of its third-down attempts to continue to move the ball downfield.

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