Rutgers’ offense vs. Washington State’s defense: Rutgers’ best hope of containing Halliday and the Cougars’ passing game is to keep the ball away from them. To pull that off, erratic quarterback Gary Nova must minimize his mistakes and the Scarlet Knights must play ball control by running the ball. Washington State returns seven starters from a defense that forced 30 turnovers last season, tied for second-most in the Pac-12. Rutgers’ offensive line, considered a strength, needs to win its matchups.
Washington State’s offense vs. Rutgers’ defense: RU’s defense gave up more than 4,000 passing yards last season, so the pressure is on its inexperienced secondary. They will have to contain Halliday and his eight returning pass catchers, who all recorded at least 37 receptions last season. Rutgers’ defensive line is a strength, but the Scarlet Knights are not exceptionally big and may need to blitz more than usual to put pressure on Halliday. If Washington State generates a rushing game, Rutgers could be in for a long night.