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Michigan’s keys to a HUGE victory vs Rutgers, and an airing of grievances

Michigan’s going to win, but will it be annihilation?

Rutgers v Michigan Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

We do a keys to victory piece before every Michigan game.

This week, the title had to be changed.

We’ll be talking Michigan’s keys to a HUGE victory.

But first, it’s time for my airing of grievances.

Until proven otherwise, I have the smallest amount of respect for this Rutgers football program.

Ohio State has outscored Rutgers 166-3 in their last three meetings and 271-27 in the five games they’ve played in all.

Michigan beat Rutgers 78-0 in 2016.

If you can’t score a touchdown in three years against the Buckeyes, if you lose 78-0 to Michigan, I’m not entirely sure why a team like that would be allowed to stick around in the Big Ten. Further, I don’t know how head coach Chris Ash still has a job.

Maybe they should have put a clause in his contract that said if they lose by 78 points or more they can fire him without a buyout.

Michigan is currently favored by more than five scores. It’s funny, you’d think Michigan fans would be happy about that fact, but I find most to be disgusted that another Big Ten team consistently loses by that much to others teams in the conference.

Enough with my grievances, though.

Michigan’s keys to a huge victory vs Rutgers

Shutout mentality

Michigan players were visibly frustrated they gave up a touchdown to Penn State last week. They destroyed the Nittany Lions, but that wasn’t good enough for them, they wanted the goose egg.

The Michigan D has to be hungry for a shutout, and they’re going to have a shot to get one today. Michigan is going to win, but making the goal today to record a shutout will ensure that the team plays with the focus we’ve seen on that side of the ball all season long.

Air it out

WR Tarik Black is finally back from injury, and he needs to gain some live-game chemistry with QB Shea Patterson, and there couldn’t be a better opponent to take some chances against.

Black is a speedster with length, and I fully expect Patterson to throw a couple bombs to him today.

Airing it out doesn’t end with Black, I want to see Patterson find Donovan Peoples-Jones long, Zach Gentry, and Nico Collins as well. It’ll likely be more of a ground and pound day than an aerial assault, but that doesn’t mean Michigan won’t take some deep shots down the field.

Make it a special day for Karan

RB Karan Higdon needs a mere 37 yards to surpass one of his major goals, cracking 1,000 yards.

Higdon predicted before the season he’s reach this feat, saying “That’s everything, I got a taste of it. I look at it as a kid in a candy store when you lick a little lollipop and you want some more. I tasted that 1,000 yard mark, I’ve played with it, and I want nothing more than to achieve that and I definitely have a platform to do so, and the respect to do so, and I will do so, and we’ll be having this conversation at the end of the year smiling about how I did something great.”

The Michigan o-line appears to be a determined bunch, but today comes with an added incentive to create gaping holes. It’d be shocking if Higdon didn’t hit 1,000 today, and it’d be surprising if he didn’t have a special kind of game in the process.

Backups ball out

If and when this game becomes a blowout, a lot of fresh faces will come in for extended playing time. It’s up to them to keep this game out of reach, up to them to run up the score.

Michigan will be trying to run up the score today and every game the rest of the way, looking for as many style points as they can receive from the College Football Playoff Committee. If they want to make this game as dominating as their 78-0 win a couple years back vs Rutgers, the backups need to ball out.

Final thoughts

The major victory today will be the team arriving back in Ann Arbor as healthy as they departed for Jersey. Michigan is almost back to full strength and any loss to a key contributor would be a big loss with their sights set on the Big Ten Championship and College Football Playoff.

It’ll be interesting to see if Michigan plays a focused game and starts off fast. You cannot play down to your opponent, ever, so I’m looking to see if Michigan’s mantra of preparing for every game the same way is true.