Rutgers vs. N.C. Central Preview

PISCATAWAY, NJ - OCTOBER 08: Rutgers Scarlet Knights fans cheer on their team as they play the Connecticut Huskies at Rutgers Stadium on October 8, 2010 in Piscataway, New Jersey. Rutgers defeated UConn 27-24. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Rutgers vs. N.C. Central - Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 7:30 p.m. - ESPN3.com

High Point Solutions Stadium - Piscataway, NJ.

Point Spread: Rutgers -42.5

Game NotesRutgersN.C. Central

Rutgers begins its 142nd season of college football on Thursday against the North Carolina Central Eagles. The two teams have never met in football but the Scarlet Knights are 7-0 against the MEAC. Rutgers shutout MEAC member Norfolk State 31-0 to start of the 2010 season. N.C. Central is done with the NCAA reclassification process from Division II so the game against Rutgers will be their first as a full FCS member.

Last Season:

Rutgers 4-8 (1-6)

N.C. Central 3-8

Offense 2010
Team Rutgers N.C. Central
Rush Yds. 100.9 110.1
Pass Yds. 194 211.6
Pts. Scored 20.8 21.6
Defense 2010
Team Rutgers N.C. Central
Rush Yds. 156.4 147.7
Pass Yds. 217.8 200
Pts. Allowed 26.5 23.7

Rutgers has already planned a post-game fireworks show so they better go out and win. Actually, the only thing in doubt is whether or not the Scarlet Knights can cover the point spread while playing their first game with a new offense. I think the odds of that happening are only fair. In the seven previous games against MEAC opponents, Rutgers has scored an average of 45.8 points while giving up 2.8 points.

 

While Rutgers will be breaking out a new offensive scheme with former Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti, the Eagles will be under the direction of a new head coach in Henry Frazier III. Frazier previously coached at Prairie View A&M and turned around a perennial losing program. The Panthers won the SWAC in 2009.

The Scarlet Knights won't be able to take off any time between plays. Frazier, a former quarterback at Bowie State, has installed a no-huddle system at N.C. Central. His goal is to have the ball snapped with 20-25 seconds left on the play clock. During spring practice the team got some plays off with 28 seconds remaining.

 

The play of the Eagles offense will be in sharp contrast with the Pro Style Rutgers will utilize. When you look at the depth chart for the game, the much heralded freshman running back Savon Huggins is listed as the alternate to De'Antwan Williams. No matter what, I expect that will we see plenty of carries from both backs. Quarterback Chas Dodd won't have much work to do if the running game is clicking, but this game could still be a confidence booster for him. I really don't see Rutgers struggling in this game.

Score Prediction: Rutgers 38, N.C. Central 6

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