116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Editor’s note: This is fourth in a 12-part series previewing Iowa football’s 2022 opponents.
Rutgers has lost its last 18 Big Ten home games, going back to 2017.
On Sept. 24, Iowa will look to make that 19 games.
The Hawkeyes’ first road trip of 2022 will be to a school that has struggled to be competitive in the last decade.
The Scarlet Knights haven’t had a winning season since 2014 and haven’t had a winning conference record since they were members of the old Big East.
Rutgers was a replacement team in the 2021 Gator Bowl despite its 5-8 record after Texas A&M had to withdraw because of injuries and COVID-19 cases. Its first bowl trip since 2014 ended with a 38-10 rout by No. 15 Wake Forest.
There’s some good news for Rutgers, though. The Scarlet Knights will enter the 2022 season with several key players returning, including quarterbacks Noah Vedral and Gavin Wimsatt, defensive back Max Melton and defensive lineman Mohamed Toure.
The Scarlet Knights also made a splash with four additions to the offensive line in the transfer portal in January.
While Rutgers has had its fair share of problems on offense and defense in recent years, its special teams units have often been among the best in the Big Ten. With punter Adam Korsak and returner Aron Cruickshank back, that trend should continue in 2022.
Iowa vs. Rutgers: 3 things to watch
- Tory Taylor vs. Adam Korsak. Punting fans rejoice! The Iowa-Rutgers matchup will include two of the best punters in the country. Korsak averaged 45.8 yards per punt in 2021 and had at least one 50-yard punt in 10 of Rutgers’ 13 games.
- How much better is Rutgers’ offensive line in 2022? After being a weakness in 2021, the Scarlet Knights have reinforcements on the offensive line. Those additions will have a difficult test when an experienced Iowa defensive line comes to town.
- Can Iowa’s offense shine against one of the less impressive defenses in the Big Ten? At this point, it should be clear whether Iowa’s offense will improve from 2021, and if so, by how much. If obvious issues remain by the time of the Rutgers game, that could lead to a rude awakening later in the season against Ohio State and Michigan. On the other hand, a productive offensive showing could quickly turn this into a blowout.
Even with some key players coming back, it’s hard to imagine drastic improvements by a Rutgers team that suffered a 52-3 loss to Wisconsin and 28-0 loss to Penn State last year when both teams were unranked.
Anything less than a convincing Iowa win would be concerning. The special teams matchup could be great, though.
Iowa football opponent previews
Comments: (319) 398-8394; firstname.lastname@example.org