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
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.
Rutgers 4-8 (1-6)
N.C. Central 3-8
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.
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