Michigan 42, Rutgers 7

Michigan 42, Rutgers 7

November 11, 2018

Chris Evans (image via College Sports Maven)

Rutgers is getting better. Don’t get me wrong – Rutgers isn’t close to being a good team. But they lost to Wisconsin by a score of 31-17, they lost to Northwestern 18-15, and they put up a better fight than most expected against Michigan, even though it ended up a 42-7 blowout. They couldn’t handle Michigan’s defensive front, so they were limited to throwing screens and trying to throw the ball, but they have some capable running backs. And Artur Sitkowski is a former 4-star quarterback, so he’s about the best talent they’re going to get at that position.

Hit the jump for the rest of the recap.

Rutgers seemed to steal Maryland’s game plan. I felt like Rutgers knew they couldn’t deal with Michigan, so they were trying to mitigate trouble by throwing screens and getting rid of the ball quickly. A couple seasons ago, Maryland tried to run the ball with their solid crew of running backs, and they tried to throw a bunch of screens. One problem with that game plan is that Rutgers doesn’t have anyone at receiver who approximates the likes of D.J. Moore. Running back Raheem Blackshear gave his coaching staff an earful after one poorly designed play, but there are bound to be some stinkers when you’re so limited in what you can call against an elite defense. It seemed like Indiana was the really terrible team in the Big Ten for a long time, but that mantle has been stolen by the Scarlet Knights.

Shea Patterson is remarkably consistent. If you remove the outliers of Patterson’s 56% completion rate against MSU and the 77.8% against SMU, he has been between 62.5% and 70.6% this whole season. Whenever I look at the stat line after each game, it’s pretty much a guarantee that he’s completing 2/3 of his passes. In this one he was right at 66.7% (18/27) for 260 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions.

Shea Patterson didn’t run the ball. Literally, he had zero rushing attempts. It’s the first time this season. And it’s the first time in his career. I don’t know if it was just a coincidence or if it was a directive from Jim Harbaugh, but yeah, Patterson doesn’t need to be running the ball against Rutgers right now. Maybe that shows the giant gap between Dylan McCaffrey and Brandon Peters/Joe Milton, too, because Harbaugh let Patterson run the ball when McCaffrey was the backup, but now it doesn’t look like he wants Patterson to take any kind of hits.

What’s up with the backup QB situation? In pregame warmups, Joe Milton was taking #2 snaps. During the game, Peters was the second QB to enter; he handed off the ball once (a 61-yard TD run by Chris Evans) and disappeared. Then Milton came in and ran the ball 3 times for -9 yards (including a sack). Milton looks like an overwhelmed freshman right now. I don’t know what was going on in pregame, but I think Peters has to be the #2 guy right now.

It was nice to see Chris Evans run really far. If I’m being honest, when Evans broke away for his 61-yard touchdown run, I was just hoping after 10 yards that Evans didn’t pull his hamstring in the cold weather. At that point in the game, I didn’t care if he got caught from behind – I just didn’t want to see him come up lame. Mission: accomplished.

I predicted a 45-7 victory. I wish Jim Harbaugh had attempted a field goal on the first series instead of going for it on 4th-and-1. Not only did Michigan fail to gain that 1 yard, but that extra 3 points might have made my prediction accurate. It was a very windy day and Quinn Nordin had a pretty good chance of missing a field goal from there, but I still don’t like Harbaugh messing up my near-perfect prediction!


  1. Comments: 1066
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    Nov 12, 2018 at 1:38 AM

    Looks like a couple guys are banged up, but thankfully nothing serious. That makes Saturday a success!

  2. GKblue
    Comments: 261
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Nov 12, 2018 at 6:33 AM

    QB sit was odd for sure. Damn it, but I was really looking forward to seeing what McCaff could do! It looked like a bit of coddling going on giving even the walkon a snap. Milton looked as you said like a not ready freshman.

    I think Peters has to be the number two for now. Some people have said that pulling Peters after one handoff was a message to Peters to move along. I think that thinking in November with McCaff out represents their agenda not JH’s. At least I hope so.

    Yes Evans needs to stay healthy and relearn that whole “the closest distance between two points thing”. He needed this for his confidence IMO.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 2767
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Nov 12, 2018 at 9:39 AM

      In coaching, here’s how it often works: “Hey, Brandon, you get the next series, and Joe, you get the series after that.”

      Brandon’s series: a 1-play handoff to Chris Evans. Oh well.

      Joe’s series: 3 plays and punt.

    • Comments: 197
      Joined: 12/19/2015
      Nov 12, 2018 at 10:27 AM

      “Pulling Peters after 1 handoff…”. Nice!

  3. Comments: 197
    Joined: 12/19/2015
    Nov 12, 2018 at 10:29 AM

    I also wanted the field goal team to try the field goal. At some point Nordin needs some confidence and thought that was a good try. Would rather not be praying for a 35 yd attempt against OSU in a couple weeks with the game on the line.

  4. Lanknows
    Comments: 4144
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Nov 12, 2018 at 12:10 PM

    There were games like this in the Carr era. 98% chance to win and fans inventing drama with backups to justify their advance-scheduled appointment. Sure beats losing to Rutgers (which is a thing that actually happened, though I barely remember it just like I’ll barely remember this game in 2 months no 2 weeks…2 days?)

    Hopefully the coaches (or at least the analysts) have their eyes on the Buckeyes.

    Did anything relevant happen against Rutgers? I think not. Patterson not running maybe? Metellus and Solomon nursing boo boos.

    The coaches could play it even safer but they are walking a reasonable line between sending players to the bench and not exposing them to needless risk.

    It’s nice to be bored sometimes.

    Beat Ohio State!

  5. Lanknows
    Comments: 4144
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Nov 12, 2018 at 12:17 PM

    On backup QBs – shrug.

    Peters has started actual meaningful games. He’s not going to get much of anything from 4th Q snaps against Rutgers. Milton might get something from it – probably not much. The ‘rotation’ made sense to me.

    I’d like to see Shea out by halftime vs Indiana. I know some people think QBs can only get hurt running but 27 pass attempts is probably about a dozen too many IMO.

    I don’t have any insights on who will be the backup if Shea is hurt. I’m not sure it matters that much. Peters isn’t very good. Milton is a freshman. Sounds like neither is clearly ahead. We can beat Indiana regardless, might be able to beat Northwestern with one of them, but Ohio State is an L without Patterson.

  6. Comments: 1066
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    Nov 12, 2018 at 12:40 PM

    Lanknows: fans are inventing drama (shrug)

    Also Lanknows: but anyway, here’s my input, which is far more lengthy than any post merely mentioning QB rotation

    Sounds like Monday

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 4144
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Nov 12, 2018 at 1:09 PM

      I apologize profusely for writing such lengthy posts that you are required to read and respond to.

      • Comments: 5
        Joined: 1/28/2016
        Nov 12, 2018 at 2:48 PM

        SMH…douche is gonna douche 🤷‍♂️

        • Thunder
          Comments: 2767
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Nov 13, 2018 at 5:49 AM

          There’s nothing productive about calling someone a “douche.” It doesn’t add to the discourse. I’m letting it stay so people can see my response (and what I’m responding to), but generally this type of stuff will be deleted.

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