There’s only only thing standing between Northwestern and a pivotal Big Ten West showdown against Wisconsin — Rutgers. Here are three matchups to watch for as the Wildcats ship up to New Jersey for their first ever B1G Showdown against New York City’s Big Ten Team.
Northwestern rushing attack vs rutger defense
Northwestern’s rushing game has been absolutely abysmal since Jeremy Larkin retired — the ‘Cats are averaging just 22.7 rushing yards per game in the three games they’ve played without Larkin. Mick McCall and the Northwestern offense have a chance to regain some confidence on the ground this week as they’ll be up against a Scarlet Knight defense that ranks No. 125 in the country, allowing 237.7 yards on the ground per game. Failure to establish the run against elite Michigan and Michigan State defenses is understandable, but failure to do so against Rutger(s) would indicate the Northwestern running game is pretty much unsalvageable.
Artur Sitkowski vs understanding how gravity affects footballs
True freshman quarterback Artur Sitkowski has struggled to throw the ball to the right team this year. His 15 interceptions are the worst in the FBS and it’s not even close. Sitkowski’s inability to understand one of our world’s most essential natural phenomenons has certainly shown on the field and much of Rutgers’ offensive ineptitude can be attributed to his lack of knowledge of the basic concept. Somehow, somewhere, Sir Isaac Newton is watching Sitkowski struggle to calculate his fundamental laws, and he’s not happy about it.
rutger special teams vs fielding the kickoff
This happened last week in the Rutgers-Maryland game, and if this isn’t the most rutger thing to ever happen I don’t know what is.
I’m not sure exactly what Rutgers special teams was going for on this play, but it certainly was an interesting strategy. Keep an eye out for if Rutgers attempts to field all the kickoffs against Northwestern on Saturday. They’re ability (or inability) to execute one of football’s most fundamental plays could make or break the game.