College Football
Rutgers at Minnesota
When: 12:00 PM ET, Saturday, October 22, 2016
Where: TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Former walk-on Conor Rhoda gets another opportunity to start at quarterback Saturday when Minnesota hosts Rutgers in a Big Ten Conference game. The junior, who received a scholarship in the spring, attempted only 15 passes and threw for one touchdown as the Gophers snapped a two-game losing streak and earned their first Big Ten victory of the season last week against Maryland.

"After going through that whole experience and getting a win, just showing our team that I can go out there and do it, just gives me a ton of confidence," Rhoda told the media after subbing for the concussed Mitch Leidner in the 31-10 victory over Maryland. Rhoda was aided by a strong rushing attack, including 144 yards and two scores from sophomore Rodney Smith, who is putting up close to 100 yards per game this season. Smith should be in line for another strong game against a Rutgers team that has allowed 263.7 yards per game this season. After dropping four straight games and scoring 14 points in the process, the Scarlet Knights are turning to junior Giovanni Rescigno at quarterback in place of Chris Laviano. Rescigno attempted his first passes of the season last week against Illinois, throwing for 120 yards and one touchdown.

TV: Noon ET, ESPN2. LINE: Minnesota -17

ABOUT RUTGERS (2-5, 0-4 Big Ten): Josh Hicks hasn't recorded a carry at running back in the past three games, but that could change this week according to coach Chris Ash. The junior, who did not play last week after playing safety in recent games, has 1,241 rushing yards in three seasons, including 202 in the Quick Lane Bowl in 2014. Robert Martin is the Scarlet Knight's top rusher with 515 yards, but the junior has only one touchdown.

ABOUT MINNESOTA (4-2, 1-2): When Smith needs a breather, coach Tracy Claeys will likely call upon sophomore Shannon Brooks or junior Kobe McCrary, who have combined for 546 yards and five touchdowns while averaging 6.1 yards per carry. This is one area where the Gophers miss Leidner, who ran for three touchdowns before getting hurt against Iowa. Senior Drew Wolitarsky is Minnesota's top receiving threat, having caught twice as many passes as the next player and half of the Golden Gopher's six touchdowns.


1. Smith is producing 98.3 yards per game on the ground and has scored seven touchdowns, good for top 30th in the country in both categories.

2. The six passing touchdowns for The Golden Gophers ranks in the bottom 13 in the FBS.

3. Only five teams in the FBS are giving up more yards per game on the ground and only one team has allowed more total rushing yards than Rutgers.

PREDICTION: Minnesota 41, Rutgers 16
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Rutgers 2-5 L4 16.6 37.7 2-3 0-2 0-0 0-0 0-4
Minnesota 4-2 W1 30.5 21.3 3-1 1-1 0-1 0-0 1-2
Last Meeting
Rutgers Minnesota
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
No previous meeting.
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Rutgers N/A
Minnesota N/A
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Rutgers N/A
Minnesota N/A
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Rutgers N/A
Minnesota N/A
Touchdowns Player TD
Rutgers N/A
Minnesota N/A
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Rutgers C. Laviano 48.3 748 5 2
Minnesota M. Leidner 57.7 1006 5 4
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Rutgers R. Martin 98 516 5.3 1
Minnesota R. Smith 111 590 5.3 7
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Rutgers J. Grant 20 210 10.5 0
Minnesota D. Wolitarsky 32 400 12.5 3
Touchdowns Player TD
Rutgers J. Grant 5
Minnesota R. Smith 7
Quickchart Matchup
Rutgers Rutgers Off vs  Minnesota Minnesota Def
Rutgers 299 yards
Minnesota 354.2 yards
Rutgers 3.9 yards/rush
Minnesota 3.6 yards/rush
Rutgers 4.9 yards/attempt
Minnesota 6.1 yards/attempt
Minnesota Minnesota Off vs  Rutgers Rutgers Def
Minnesota 389.7 yards
Rutgers 434.1 yards
Minnesota 4.8 yards/rush
Rutgers 5.9 yards/rush
Minnesota 6.5 yards/attempt
Rutgers 7.1 yards/attempt