The Michigan Wolverines did not come prepared for this game in Piscataway. The first half culminated every issue this Michigan team has faced all season. But the team rallied from a 17-14 halftime deficit to beat Rutgers 52-17.
A hangover from an emotional and physical win over the Spartans last week was underway from the start, and Rutgers came in with everything it had. The Scarlet Knights blocked a punt that resulted in seven points in their favor to tie the game early. They showed aggressiveness by going for an onside kick after that and even though it failed, it sent a message for what this game would become.
The one positive note was the running game and run defense. Michigan outgained Rutgers 125 to 1 on the ground in the first half. But somehow, this team went into the half deflated and down by three points thanks to a multitude of mistakes.
Luckily, Michigan leaned on its defense and Jesse Minter’s halftime adjustments to flip this game on its head. The Wolverines dropped into a zone coverage that Rutgers quarterback Gavin Wimsatt misread repetitively. He threw three interceptions in the third quarter, two of which were to Michael Barrett including this pick-six:
True freshman cornerback Will Johnson came up with the other interception that led to a passing touchdown in the red zone (!) from McCarthy to Cornelius Johnson. On the night, despite some issues, Michigan was perfect in the red zone.
It was another dominating third quarter for Michigan with three interceptions, two sacks, 39 yards allowed and 28 unanswered points. At that point, all momentum had been sucked out of Piscataway.
A ton of credit has to go to this Michigan defensive front. The pressure on Wimsatt and the opposing running backs was constant throughout the game. They had three sacks and held the Scarlet Knights to only five rushing yards on the night.
Then, it was all about these Michigan running backs on the offensive end. Donovan Edwards needs to see the field more, and maybe even with Corum on the field. He had a 46-yard run early in the fourth quarter and finished with 16 touches for 161 yards and a receiving touchdown. Most of this came in the second half, including his touchdown reception:
It’s getting harder and harder for Corum to not be the favorite in the Heisman race. Look at him compared to some of the past few running back Heisman winners:
He would finish with 20 carries for 109 yards and two touchdowns in yet another impressive performance.
While the game became lopsided very quickly, there is one team coming down the road that Michigan simply cannot start this way against. On the road this year, the Wolverines have struggled against bad Indiana and Rutgers teams. Tonight was their last chance to show they could come in and dominate from start to finish when away from the Big House, and that didn’t happen.
But for tonight, Michigan was able to overcome its worst half of the season and respond in a big way en route to a dominant 52-17 win. The Wolverines finished with 436 yards while holding Rutgers to only 180.
The Wolverines head back home next week to host the Nebraska Cornhuskers.