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Scouting the Rutgers Scarlet Knights ahead of this weekend’s visit to Ann Arbor

Michigan takes on Rutgers this weekend. Here’s a scouting report to get you ready for the Scarlet Knights.

Boston College v Rutgers Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images

The 1-2 Rutgers Scarlet Knights won their first game of the season against U-Mass, but have since lost 30-0 against Iowa and 30-16 versus Boston College.

To get you ready for Michigan’s tilt against Rutgers, here’s a scouting report on Rutgers, breaking down who to watch on offense, and what their defense will look like with a new defensive coordinator at the helm.

QB Artur Sitkowski scouting report

Pros

  • Capable of delivering an accurate ball. If given time, Sitkowski can throw at the intermediate level at a good clip, throwing a tight spiral and hitting receivers in stride.
  • Has the ability to throw back shoulder throws deep accurately with a quick and condensed snap of the wrist throwing motion. The ball has enough torque, yet enough touch, too.
  • Tough. Willing to take a hit and still get the ball to his receiver.

Cons

  • Happy feet in the pocket. Too much movement and tippy-tapping by Sitkowski leads to inaccurate throws. Nothing is fluid with his feet more often than not, creating less than desirable balance. Not good enough to get away with throwing off a back foot or having unorthodox footwork.
  • Erratic accuracy when pressured. Forces the football into coverage or delivers a throw that a wideout has no chance of catching.
  • Forces throws, period. Pressured or protected, Sitkowski doesn’t read coverages well and tries to thread the ball into windows that don’t exist. His passing numbers throughout his career reflect this. Sitkowski has thrown for just 5 touchdowns in his career, yet has tosses 20 interceptions. And after watching film of Sitkowski, the interceptions numbers could be worse.

It’s all about Blackshear, Pacheco

Rutgers may not have a high talent at quarterback, but the running back position is an entirely different story.

Running backs Raheem Blackshear and Isaih Pacheco are a talented duo that compliment each other well.

Blackshear is the type of back that looks like he’s destined to play for the New England Patriots and become a Kevin Faulk, Danny Woodhead, James White type player in their offense. Blackshear can do it all. He’s Rutgers leading receiver with 22 receptions for 255 yards and 2 touchdowns, while also rushing for 77 yards on 23 carries. Blackshear has had better success rushing the ball in years prior, as he rushed for 824 yards on only 182 carries with 6 touchdowns in ‘17-18 combined. Last season Blackshear’s receiving talent really emerged and he caught 44 receptions for 367 yards and 2 touchdowns. He’s a shifty and speedy runner that has a steady center of balance. Combine that with his reliable hands in the passing game, patience for holes and blocks top spring him, and quick cut capabilities. He’ll be the toughest player for Michigan to stop on the offensive side of the ball.

Pacheco is a more physical runner than Blackshear that doesn’t have exceptional speed but can fight for extra yards. On the season, Pacheco has rushed for 239 yards and 4 touchdowns on just 46 carries.

What about the defense?

  • Rutgers has a new defensive coordinator, one that has a history with Jim Harbaugh. Andy Buh was a Stanford assistant when Harbaugh was head coach, serving as linebackers coach in ‘07 before being promoted to co-defensive coordinator along with his LB’s coach duties. Thereafter Buh had a defensive coordinator stint at Nevada, was LB’s coach at Wisconsin, DC at Cal, LB’s coach at Kentucky, and was most recently Maryland’s DC from ‘16-18.
  • Buh runs a bend but don’t break 3-4 scheme that tries to pressure the passer with outside linebackers. Don’t expect a ton of blitzes, but some could get dialed up in opportune times. Man to man coverage will be utilized more than zone.
  • Rutgers leading tackler is linebacker Tyshon Fogg with 33.
  • No Rutgers player has more than 1 sack and the team has just 3 in all.
  • Cornerbacks Tre Avery and Avery Young both have 1 interception apiece, the only two for the unit.

Team Stats

  • Total Offense- 107th
  • Total Defense- 78th
  • Red Zone Offense- 46th
  • Red Zone Defense- 119th
  • Time of Possession- 78th
  • Team Passing Efficiency- 103rd
  • Sacks Allowed- 7th
  • Scoring Offense- 110th
  • Passing Yards per Completion- 46th
  • Passing Offense- 77th
  • Rushing Offense- 103rd
  • Passes Intercepted- 70th
  • 3rd Down Conversion Pct- 119th