The game represents a situation for the Fighting Irish in which this game against Rutgers is a virtual must-win considering their pursuit of competition atop the Big East Conference.
However, Rutgers has been making a case for themselves over the past few weeks, securing three conference victories over their past four games. At 3-2 in the league, the Scarlet Knights are still one more step away from attempting to emerge within the thick of things. Their trip to South Bend on Saturday night is that prime opportunity.
Aside from an eyebrow-raising, season-opening loss to St. Peter’s back in early November, Rutgers does not have a bad loss on their resume and with 12 wins to boot, that resume still lacks a true statement win on the road.
Opportunities are plentiful throughout the rugged Big East schedule, but given the Scarlet Knights’ recent surge over the past two weeks, their momentum is what could help carry them on Saturday night. Eli Carter and Myles Mack pace Rutgers on the offensive end, while the scrutiny surrounding head coach Mike Rice has the potential to continue to diminish.
For the time being, Rutgers only sits a game and a half behind the three 4-0 conference leaders, so think about that potential should they shock the Irish on Saturday.
Tip-off between the Scarlet Knights and Notre Dame is scheduled for 8:00pm (EST).
Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS