During the summer months and as we prepare for the upcoming season, BC Maven will be doing weekly previews of all of Boston College's opponents. The fourth game of the season is yet another struggling FBS program, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Head Coach Chris Ash, now in his fifth season with the program needs to turn around the program and quick, can he do it in 2019?
Previous Previews: Week 1 Against Virginia Tech
Previous Matchups: Boston College has a long history against Rutgers, dating back to their time together in the Big East. BC has a 10 game winning streek against Rutgers (1995-2004), with their most recent match being a 21-10 win when Tom O'Brien's squad took out Greg Schiano and the Scarlet Knights in Chestnut Hill.
Head Coach: Chris Ash is in his fifth season with the Scarlet Knights, holding a 7-29 record, and a 3-24 Big Ten record. In 2018 Rutgers went 1-11, and did not win a game in conference. Before his time at Rutgers, Ash was an defensive coordinator at Ohio State with Urban Meyer. He also was very position coaches at Arkansas, Iowa State, and San Diego State.
2018 Season: Like Boston College's previous opponent Kansas, 2018 was a miserable year for Rutgers. They started the season off with a convincing 35-7 win against Texas State, and then proceeded to lose 11 straight games. Let's take a look at what happened. They started the slide getting pummeled 52-3 against Ohio State, when Dwayne Haskins threw for over 350 yards and four touchdowns, while Rutgers managed 120 yards of offense. They got pummeled by Kansas(!) 55-14, Buffalo 42-13, Indiana 24-17, Illinois 38-17, Maryland 34-7, they just eeked out a loss against ranked Northwestern 18-15, Wisconsin 31-17, Michigan clobbered them 42-7, but they kept it close against Penn State (20-7), and Michigan State 14-10.
How bad was Rutgers over those losses? Their defense actually was ranked one spot AHEAD of Boston College allowing 401 yards a game while finishing 89th in scoring defense allowing 31 points a game. Their offense is a trainwreck though, the lowest Power 5 school in the country averaging just 266 yards, just eeking out Central Michigan and UTSA. Their passing offense is ranked 124th, averaging 123 yards per game, while their rushing attack was a tad better at 109 averaging 130 yards per game. Both are nothing to worry about.
2019 Outlook: The name to watch on offense will be sophomore quarterback Artur Sitkowski, a four star recruit last year, he definitely struggled his freshman year finishing the year with a whopping 4 touchdowns and 18 interceptions, an unheard of ratio for a starting quarterback. He'll be starting again this year, and if he struggles Texas Tech transfer McLane Carter could get a shot at the starting gig.
In terms of their running backs, they will rely heavily on a two headed beast of Raheem Blackshear (586 rushing yards) and sophomore Isaih Pacheco (551 rushing yards). They return a ton of starters at wide receiver, which may not be a good thing as they all struggled mightily last year against Big Ten cornerbacks, with drops and difficulty separating in coverage.
Chris Ash went out and got a new defensive coordinator after last season, pegging former Maryland DC Andy Buh to take the reigns. Rutgers has some returning depth at linebacker and in the secondary Tyreek Maddox-Williams, Tyson Fogg returning at LB, and Damon Hayes leading the secondary.
BC Game Date: Saturday September 21, 2019
Location: Piscataway, New Jersey
Chances of BC Victory: 95%.
S&P Chances of BC Victory: 73%