RUSH OFFENSE vs. RUTGERS RUSH DEFENSE
Michigan is #56 in rushing (173 yards/game) but #80 in rushing average (4.08 yards/carry). The Wolverines have overly committed to the running game since passing is such a difficulty. Karan Higdon has seemingly taken hold of the starting running back job (446 yards, 6 TDs), while Ty Isaac is the primary backup (439 yards, 2 TDs). Michigan has installed redshirt junior Juwann Bushell-Beatty at right tackle, and he seems more effective against the run than redshirt sophomore Nolan Ulizio was. Rutgers is #61 in rushing defense (159 yards allowed/game) and #73 in yards allowed per carry (4.46). The Scarlet Knights run a 4-3 defense, and they are led in tackles by inside linebackers Trevor Morris (6’1″, 232 lbs.) and Deonte Roberts (6’1″, 235) with 57 and 51 tackles, respectively. Rutgers is #129 (out of 130 teams) in tackles for loss with just 25 through seven games. Michigan transfer Ross Douglas is fifth on the squad with 27 tackles.
Hit the jump for more on tomorrow’s game.
PASS OFFENSE vs. RUTGERS PASS DEFENSE
Michigan is #98 in passing offense (187 yards/game) and they are tied for #124 in the country with just 4 touchdown passes. They have fared slightly better in passing efficiency (#109), but it’s a pretty sparse passing game. Starter John O’Korn is completing 55.5% of his passes with 1 touchdown and 4 picks. His main target is slot receiver Grant Perry (21 catches, 270 yards, 1 TD), and tight end Sean McKeon (18 catches, 192 yards) has become more of a factor with O’Korn under center. The Wolverines are tied for #115 in sacks allowed (23.0) after giving up 7 last week to Penn State. Rutgers has managed just 7 sacks this season altogether, which is tied for #123. Defensive ends Darnell Davis (6’2″, 247) and Kemoko Turay (6’5″, 252) have 2.0 and 1.5 sacks, respectively, and that’s the best Rutgers has to offer. They give up 225 yards/game through the air but they are #47 in passing efficiency rating defense. The only team to top 57% completions against them was Ohio State, and Purdue was held to 4.4 yards per attempt last week. They are #4 in passes defended with 49 and are tied at #20 with 9 interceptions altogether, led by safety Kiy Hester (2) and K.J. Gray (2). Michigan struggles to throw the ball, anyway, and this probably won’t be a get-right game.
RUSH DEFENSE vs. RUTGERS RUSH OFFENSE
Michigan is #11 in rushing defense (106 yards allowed/game) and #16 in rushing average allowed (3.21). Michigan is #19 in tackles for loss, with defensive end Chase Winovich (8.5), nose tackle Maurice Hurst, Jr. (8.0), and linebacker Mike McCray II (7.0) leading the way. Sophomore Devin Bush, Jr. leads the team with 55 tackles, while McCray (44) and Winovich (43) are close behind. Penn State had their way with Michigan on the ground last week behind potential Heisman winner Saquon Barkley, but Michigan has the advantage in this area in the vast majority of cases. Rutgers is #63 in rushing offense (168 yards/game) and #67 in rushing average (4.27 yards/carry). Miami transfer Gus Edwards (6’1″, 235) has taken over the starting job and has powered his way to 487 yards and 5 touchdowns on 4.55 yards/carry. Last year’s leading rusher, Robert Martin, has been relegated to backup duty. Redshirt freshman center Michael Maiette (6’1″, 292) is the weak spot on the offensive line and will have to deal with Hurst for much of the day. Rutgers has piled up yards against poor teams, but against the two ranked teams so far this year, they have 83 carries for 248 yards, which is a hair below 3 yards per carry.
PASS DEFENSE vs. RUTGERS PASS OFFENSE
Even after a rough game last week, Michigan is is #5 in passing defense (159 yards allowed/game) and has a 1:1 TD-to-INT ratio. They are also #5 in passing efficiency rating defense. Michigan is #15 in sacks (22.0) and #62 in interceptions (6). Winovich leads the team with 5.5 sacks, but he got banged up against PSU and might be limited in this game. On the back end, sophomore Lavert Hill has stepped up to become a very tough corner who’s potentially playing at an all-conference level. Rutgers is #122 in passing (134 yards/game) and #125 in passing efficiency. Kyle Bolin (6’2″, 212) averages 5.3 yards/attempt with 3 touchdowns and 6 interceptions on 54.9% completions, but Giovanni Rescigno (6’3″, 228) is expected to get the start (53.3%, 1 TD, 0 INT). There are no consistent threats in the passing game, as the top two targets, slot receiver Janarion Grant and tight end Jerome Washington, have between 16 and 19 catches and average no more than 10.44 yards/catch.
- Rutgers players recruited by Michigan include: OL Micah Clark, LB Ross Douglas, S Kiy Hester, WR Bo Melton, and WR Ahmir Mitchell
- Rutgers players from the State of Michigan: P Ryan Anderson (DeWitt), QB Giovanni Rescigno (Warren De La Salle)
- LB Ross Douglas and WR Ahmir Mitchell both transferred from Michigan
LAST TIME THEY PLAYED . . .
- October 8, 2016: Michigan 78, Rutgers 0
- Rutgers had 2 first downs in the game, both coming in the 4th quarter
- Michigan ran for 481 yards and had 600 total yards
- Karan Higdon, Ty Isaac, and Jabrill Peppers each had 2 rushing touchdowns
- Karan Higdon runs for 125 yards and 2 TDs
- Donovan Peoples-Jones catches his first TD pass
- Michigan 35, Rutgers 7
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