The No. 5 ranked Michigan Wolverines are looking to earn as many style points as they can the next two weeks. And they shouldn’t have any issues earning plenty against Rutgers this Saturday.
These aren’t your father’s Greg Schiano Rutgers teams. The Scarlet Knights (4-4, 1-4) have been pretty bad in Big Ten play this season, with their lone win coming at home against Indiana. Rutgers has lost to Minnesota, Ohio State and Iowa by a combined score of 107-20.
After the first college football playoff rankings, Michigan (8-0, 4-0) is on the outside looking in. But as long as Michigan runs the table they will make the playoffs. The problem is, the Wolverines schedule is so bad that you don’t want to take chances putting your playoff life (or seeding) into other people’s hands.
Michigan should want to annihilate the weak teams. And right now, Rutgers is in the crosshairs.
Offense May Need to Warm Up
Rutgers isn’t too bad defensively. They are right near the middle of the conference in most statistical categories including scoring, rushing and passing. Their coach Schiano is known for having hard working teams who fight to the end. Michigan might come out and run all over them. But especially on the road, it will likely take a drive or two for them to get going.
Once they do I expected running backs Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards to dominate. The Michigan offensive line is too good for Rutgers to consistently handle them. Sprinkle in the shiftiness Corum brings and the power Edwards runs with, it should be smooth sailing for the duo.
I don’t expect much will be needed from quarterback J.J. McCarthy which has been the standard this season. Almost to a fault. Some are even questioning if he’s better than Cade McNamara.
McCarthy is better than McNamara. That’s the truth. Is Jim Harbaugh and his four offensive coordinators using McCarthy’s skill set to their full potential? No, they are not. Harbaugh wants to run the ball and dominate the line of scrimmage. I mean it’s working right? So why fix what isn’t broke.
Will Rutgers Score a Point?
It’s extremely hard to pitch a shutout in football. So much can happen from a fluke turnover, to a missed holding call, or one incredible catch that it’s never expected a team will score zero points.
It would not be that surprising if Rutgers accomplishes that this weekend. The Scarlet Knights are barley averaging 20 points per game offensively this season. They also are in the middle of a quarterback carousel. That’s one of the worst places a football team can be in.
Michigan’s defensive line led by Mike Morris should have an easy time making whoever is back there uncomfortable. Bold prediction: Michigan will get their most interceptions of the season this week.
Rushing the ball, Rutgers is, you guessed it, middle of the conference again. The problem is, they will get far enough behind early that they’ll have to start throwing a lot to try and catch up. Their freshman running back Samuel Brown has been efficient this season averaging 4.3 yards per carry. But this won’t be his day.
Players to Watch
Michigan – RB Blake Corum
I hate to go chalk, but it’s the easy pick. Corum hasn’t slowed down at all and don’t you dare think for a minute Harbaugh isn’t thinking about his Heisman Trophy candidacy.
Rutgers – Nobody
Michigan 52 Rutgers 10
Rutgers will find a way to score, but it’ll be either one of the first couple drives or in garbage time. Regardless, Michigan is going to destroy them.
Michigan -26 and Over 45.
I know I’m sounding very confident and even a little homerish, but I just don’t see how Michigan doesn’t go scorched earth this weekend. They are motivated to run it up after the playoff rankings, and Rutgers isn’t very good.