Rutgers' underwhelming offense meets Nebraska's last-place defense
The Big Ten Conference slate begins a day earlier this week when Nebraska visits Rutgers on Friday night in Piscataway, N.J.
The visiting Cornhuskers (2-3, 1-1) have won all five meetings in the series, most recently a Dec. 18, 2020, victory on the road. That was the last time Nebraska won a game outside of Lincoln, dropping six straight away from home since then.
Nebraska is coming off a 35-21 home win over Indiana, snapping a nine-game skid against FBS opponents. It marked the first victory for interim coach Mickey Joseph, who took over after Scott Frost was fired three games into the season.
"Indiana was one game," Joseph said. "The sign of a good team is who can move forward and get to the next one."
Rutgers (3-2, 0-2) has had a rough start to conference play after going unbeaten before Big Ten competition. On Saturday, the Scarlet Knights fell 49-10 at Ohio State after losing 27-10 at home to Iowa the week before.
The Knights have scored only 58 points in four games against FBS competition and are second-worst in the Big Ten in total offense (1,656 yards).
"Some of it's coaching, some of it's playing, some of it's execution," Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said. "We're working on it, though. We're going to be OK."
Nebraska, which is last in the Big Ten in scoring defense (32.6 points per game) and total defense (2,346 yards), held Indiana to 290 yards last week in the first game since Bill Busch took over as defensive coordinator. Rutgers had only 187 yards of offense at Ohio State and is averaging just 267.8 against FBS competition.
Rutgers quarterback Evan Simon is last in the Big Ten in passing yardage at 640 yards, while Nebraska's Casey Thompson is a respectable sixth place with 1,265 yards, just behind Ohio State's C.J. Stroud, a Heisman Trophy favorite.
Despite its early-season woes, Nebraska would take sole possession of the Big Ten's West Division for one night with a victory. The Cornhuskers are currently in a six-way tie for the top spot with its 1-1 conference record. The seventh team, Wisconsin, is 0-2 in league action.
--Field Level Media
Updated October 3, 2022