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Who will be the Rutgers quarterback Saturday night against the Iowa Hawkeyes?
2 guys are game-time decisions due to injury, meaning Evan Simon might be the guy by default
CEDAR RAPIDS — It could be this guy. It might be that guy.
Or another guy.
Rutgers’ starting quarterback for its Saturday night home game against the Iowa Hawkeyes isn’t being disclosed. Head coach Greg Schiano said at his press conference this week the availability of both Noah Vedral and Gavin Wimsatt will be game-time decisions.
Vedral is the senior transfer from Nebraska. He hasn’t played this season, yet, because of an injury incurred in preseason practice.
Wimsatt got the start in Rutgers’ second game against Wagner but left with an injury last week. The Scarlet Knights beat Temple, 16-14.
Evan Simon got the start against Temple and in the season opener against Boston College, a 22-21 victory. He’s the odds-on favorite to start again Saturday.
But who knows? Everyone will find out together.
“It’s kind of unsettling you have two quarterbacks that are game-time decisions,” Schiano said. “Thank goodness Evan is healthy. We’ll prepare for whoever we have that the doctors tell us are going to be able to play.”
And Iowa will prepare, or has been preparing, for all three guys. That’s the smart play.
“Yeah, you're just never quite sure what you're going to get, and it sounds like they're not sure, either,” Hawkeyes Coach Kirk Ferentz said at his Tuesday press conference. “I guess there's good news (in that) we've seen all three quarterbacks on film. So we've got that ability to at least know what to expect a little bit. But you just never know. So we'll just have to try to be ready and adjust as we go.”
Vedral started all 13 games last season for Rutgers, throwing for 1,823 yards. He started seven times in 2020 and twice for Nebraska in 2019.
He began his college career all the way back in 2017 for Central Florida.
Wimsatt is a sophomore from Owensboro, Ky., and more of a running threat. He rushed for 62 yards against Wagner and had a 48-yard run against Boston College.
Simon is a sophomore from Pennsylvania who went 10-for-12 passing for 151 yards and two touchdowns in that 66-7 blowout of Wagner. He threw for just 52 yards last week, as Rutgers won despite accumulating just over 200 yards of offense.
The Scarlet Knights had three field goals and an interception return for TD. Sounds a little familiar, right?
“You know, I think some things happened that ... part of it was technical,” Schiano said of his offense against Temple. “Part of it was schematic. And when I say ‘technical,’ I mean technique. And part of it was cultural. So throw all three things together, and you had kind of a perfect storm. But we are moving, we are learning from it, and we are moving forward. And we need to because we have an opponent with as stout a defense as there is in the country.”
There’s a reason the over-under for Saturday night’s game is just 34. Iowa’s offensive woes have been well documented, while Rutgers ranks second-to-last in overall yards per game and rushing yards per game in the Big Ten Conference.
Like Iowa, Rutgers has struggled up front on the offensive line. Let’s just say this might not be an aesthetically pleasing game, unless you love defense and a low score.
They are expecting a sellout or near sellout at SHI Stadium, by the way. Rutgers has lost 19 consecutive Big Ten home games, its last conference home victory coming against Maryland in 2017.
“I've known Coach Schiano over two decades, and have been familiar with his career for quite a while,” Ferentz said. “One thing about him, he's a tremendous football coach, outstanding person, and has done a really good job in a short amount of time there.
“Anything from the last time we played them, it's a whole different ballgame right now. If you look at Coach Schiano's track record, he built that program up in the early part of this century here, the first decade here, 2001 to 2011, really gave Rutgers an identity. He did an outstanding job with the program, and you can see him laying the foundation for that right now, at least from our vantage point.”
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