Rutgers gets to start the 2021 campaign with a home game against the Temple Owls, with one unexpected occurrence. The unexpected occurrence is, for the first time since 2016 Rutgers will have a sell out, with over 52,000 fans in attendance. Us older college football fans, that remember Rutgers Head Coach Greg Schiano’s first run with the program, know that Rutgers can have quite the atmosphere when their fanbase is engaged. The matchup against Temple should give the home fans plenty to cheer about.
The Scarlet Knights are bringing back 20 starters from last years 3-6 squad that failed to win a home game. Expectations are growing for Rutgers with Coach Schiano back at his old stomping grounds. Looking at the schedule, you could see where fans could be expecting a bowl berth this season. A lot of that will come down to Quarterback play. Noah Vedral is slotted as the starter to begin the season but will be looking over his shoulder at the transfer from Georgia D’Wan Mathis. The offensive was drastically better last season and will have to continue to improve to make Rutgers relevant again.
Temple is coming into this game as a little bit of an unknown. The Owls like many teams struggled during a pandemic season. They only return 11 starters, but they have 11 incoming transfers to add to the roster. Most teams are returning the bulk of their production from last season with it not counting against the players eligibility. Temple may not need those players back after a 1-6 season and are hoping that the influx of transfers will boost the talent level.
It’s hard to see this game being very competitive as Rutgers projects to take a step forward while you don’t know what you’re going to see from a Temple team with a ton of roster turnover. The line currently sits with Rutgers being a 14.5pt favorite over the Owls. Schiano has a clear vision for his program and these are the types of games that the Scarlet Knights have disapprovingly dropped in the recent past. Weather may be a factor as the remnants of Hurricane Ida is clearing the area on Thursday.
Prediction: Rutgers Scarlet Knights-27 Temple Owls-13