Michigan heads to Piscataway to take on Rutgers on Saturday in a game that...a game where...a matchup featuring...
Eh, forget it. It’s going to be ugly.
The Wolverines are heading on the road for the first time this season, so it will be interesting to see how the team is ready and how they perform right out of the gates.
Here are a few things to keep an eye on:
Jersey Boys Comin’
Ok, not THOSE jersey boys.
Much has been made about the Wolverines and how they have invaded the Garden State in the last few recruiting cycles. They have a pair of standouts in Jabrill Peppers and Rashan Gary who will be coming home to play in a college football game for the first time and they should both have big games this evening. Eight other players on the roster are also from New Jersey.
Linebackers coach Chris Partridge is also returning having coached both Peppers and Gary at Paramus High School, so there is an interesting thread heading into this game, especially against a school that has vowed to “Fence the Garden.”
Speight on the road
This will be Wilton Speight’s first action on the road since the game at Minnesota last year, where he struggled replacing Jake Rudock but eventually put it together at the end and threw the game-winning touchdown.
Michigan is hoping tonight’s game never gets that close to where heroics are needed at the end, but this is really a perfect opportunity to get his feet wet in an environment where nobody except your team wants you to succeed. The schedule has set up to where all season, a new wrinkle has been added each week instead of having the kitchen sink thrown at you all at once.
Rutgers is far from a juggernaut in any phase in the game. Speight will be fine, but some early-game jitters would not be all that surprising.
Getting the stars going
This feels like it could be one of those “pad the stats” games for a few Wolverines who have struggled to put up the numbers they expect to this season, namely guys like Jehu Chesson and De’Veon Smith. Stats do not always define failures or successes in execution, but both guys are capable of much more than what we have seen and could have field days against the Rutgers defense.
What will you be looking for? Sound off in the comments below!