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Michigan football vs. Rutgers: Staff roundtable and predictions

Michigan and Rutgers do battle on Saturday.

Northern Illinois v Michigan Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Members of the Maize n Brew staff got together this week to share their predictions on the game between the Michigan Wolverines and Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Here is what everyone is talking about heading into Saturday’s game.

What was your biggest takeaway from three non-conference wins?

Kellen Voss: Michigan’s offensive line is incredible, and the Wolverines have two NFL running backs.

Tyler Helsel: The run game is obvious but I am also thoroughly impressed that Cade has not turned the ball over. Turnovers at the quarterback position have been an issue in the Harbaugh era and Cade has done a great job taking care of the ball.

Anthony Broome: Michigan is playing with preparedness and attitude about them that we haven’t seen in a few seasons. The offseason talk about the culture change and the youth on the revamped staff injecting life into the program is real. You see it in how they play and how they speak. The punches get a little heavier moving forward, but it does feel like this team is ready for a stiffer test and welcoming it.

Stephen Osentoski: The offseason hires were home runs, with Hart, Moore, Macdonald shining thus far. I think people have already let go of the “Fire Harbaugh” demands at this point, and I think one of Harbaugh’s best attributes has been his ability to put together a solid staff. Looks like he’s done that again, this time.

Von Lozon: No turnovers in three games. No matter who it’s against, that’s a difficult thing to accomplish. Just a short two years ago, everybody was putting the ball on the turf every week. But now? That’s a thing of the past. I’ve been very impressed with that this far.

Trevor Woods: Michigan’s playing in a much more physical and fundamentally sound manner.

Andrew Bailey: The improvement of the culture. Football is fun at Michigan again for the first time since the 2018 Revenge Tour.

Scotty White: Michigan can run the ball!

What does Rutgers do to scare you the most compared to the pre-Greg Schiano era?

KV: Just the fact that they are 3-0 and that they’ve at least looked decent in each of their wins.

TH: In the past, even when they won, Rutgers never “dominated” the game. They played bad teams close and were a million miles away from good teams. They’re consistently improving, which is very un-Rutgers like of the late 2010s.

AB: This team will come into the Big House on Saturday expecting to compete and win a football game. They have absolutely nothing to lose and will be ready for a street fight after taking Michigan to three overtimes last season. This isn’t a pushover game anymore despite what Vegas has to say about the spread.

SO: Honestly, not a WHOLE lot right now. They recruit better? I think Schiano is on a good path, it will just take a bit of time to put things together.

VL: Their running game has always been their bread and butter, and their lead back Pacheco is back for another season, although I haven’t been super impressed with him during the first three weeks. But he’s certainly capable of ripping off a big run or two.

TW: Rutgers players are buying in — Schiano gets the most out of his players and has them prepared. The Chris Ash era was an embarrassment to the game of football, but the Schiano 2.0 Era is one where the opposition has to take Rutgers seriously.

Andrew: Rutgers will not get bullied under Greg Schiano. His teams will show up, compete, and be physical throughout the game. This has changed their mentality from ‘hoping to win’ to ‘expecting to win.’

SW: Win games. Rutgers was always pretty much a bye week on the schedule, they’re a much-improved team now and the 3-0 record shows it.

Give us a game prediction

KV: Michigan wins 35-14

TH: Michigan 42, Rutgers 14. Michigan keeps running but Cade throws 2 TDS and goes over 200 for the first time this year.

AB: Michigan wins this game 34-10. We are so close to an AJ Henning breakout game I can taste it. He’ll have a touchdown on Saturday and come close to busting one on special teams, as well.

SO: 48-17 good guys. McNamara puts up over 250 with a few TDs en route to player of the game. The Rutgers OL is real bad, so I thought about putting Hutchinson here, but think Rutgers will shy away from a high number of dropbacks to ensure their QB isn’t subjected to that pain.

VL: I think Michigan wins with relative ease and keeps things rolling. Michigan 35, Rutgers 14

TW: Rutgers might be trending in the right direction, but so is Michigan and the Wolverines have more talent. The Rutgers offensive line is bad, their secondary is thin, their rush defense is lackluster, and Michigan will exploit those weaknesses. 51-17 Michigan with Blake Corum being the player of the game.

Andrew: This Michigan team is firing on all cylinders. Rutgers is a great bridge in talent from Northern Illinois to Wisconsin and will allow Michigan to experience a challenge without fear of a loss. Plus, the Wolverines must absolve that circus tent fire victory in 2020. Michigan 45-16.

SW: Michigan wins 38-13. Blake Corum will have another big day and be the player of the game.