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Turning Point of the Game: Rutgers

This is what defined the outcome of the game.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Rutgers Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Even among all the fanfare around the college football landscape, the No. 5 Michigan Wolverines shut out Rutgers in the second half of the game to improve to 9-0. It was difficult to see the game was that close at the end of the first 30 minutes of play, as Rutgers took the 17-14 lead into the half.

Michigan led across the board and scored touchdowns on both trips to the red zone, yet was still down going into halftime for the first time all season. The Wolverines would then outscore the Scarlet Knights 38-0 to end the game. So what happened for the script to do a complete 180?

After coming out and forcing Rutgers to go three and out, Michigan would find the end zone once more. The Wolverines’ first drive of the second half would start at their own 46 and they would eventually find themselves in a 3rd and 6 situation at the Rutgers 14. J.J. McCarthy would connect with Donovan Edwards in the end zone for a 14 yard touchdown pass to reclaim the lead, 21-17.

Then it was like a domino effect. After Rutgers took the field and moved backwards, quarterback Gavin Wimsatt would be picked off by Michael Barrett, which set up Michigan’s offense at the Rutgers 10. After two carries from Blake Corum, Michigan would find the end zone again with Corum’s second rushing touchdown to put the Wolverines up 28-17.

But Michigan wasn’t done piling it on in this sequence with Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights once more took the field, now down 11, and Wimsatt threw another pick to Barrett. This was Barrett’s second interception of the game, and the first that went to the house for six. With the point after good from Jake Moody, Michigan never looked back.

This week, I truly believe every moment within these four possessions changed the outcome of the game. Michigan looked flat against a team that was 1-4 in the conference, but this wasn’t the first time Rutgers has played the Wolverines close. But this effort would ultimately fall short, moving Rutgers to 1-8 against Michigan since joining the Big Ten and 4-5 overall on the season.

Rutgers fought Michigan solidly in the first half, but awoke something in the Wolverines after halftime. After stringing together a good defensive showing and a special teams touchdown, Rutgers clearly had the momentum. Michigan saw a lot of dropped passes and missed field goals to amount to a frustrating first half showing. However, it was a story of two halves and Michigan is still undefeated.

For this week’s outright Turning Point of the Game, I am picking Barrett’ first interception. Michigan has a lot of talent on defense, as they lead the conference in sacks, but have come up with minimal takeaways this season. In this game alone they had three, two from Barrett alone. This was huge for the Wolverines as they continue their quest to return to the Big Ten Championship and the College Football Playoff.