Preview: Michigan vs. Rutgers

Preview: Michigan vs. Rutgers


October 27, 2017

 

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.
Advantage: Michigan

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.
Advantage: Rutgers

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.
Advantage: Michigan

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.
Advantage: Michigan

ROSTER NOTES

  • 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

PREDICTIONS

  • Karan Higdon runs for 125 yards and 2 TDs
  • Donovan Peoples-Jones catches his first TD pass
  • Michigan 35, Rutgers 7

36 comments

  1. Lanknows
    Comments: 3600
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Oct 27, 2017 at 8:02 AM

    Will be interesting to see if M can score 30+ points if Rutgers has an advantage when M passes. Presumably that means a lot of rushing success. 4.5 YPC allowed #73 for Rutgers vs 4.1 gained #80 for M wouldn’t seem to be much if any advantage by the numbers.

    But Michigan’s run game seems to be improving significantly the last few weeks.

    https://twitter.com/thepowerrank/status/923561792537755650

    Maybe Drevno and Frey are starting to make their mark. I hope so!

    • Comments: 725
      Joined: 1/19/2016
      je93
      Oct 27, 2017 at 8:23 AM

      Check out the tweet right above. We allow sacks on 10% of all pass attempts!

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3600
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 27, 2017 at 10:47 AM

        I’ve been talking about our sack rate all year. OL stinks.

        But not on the ground anymore. Maybe. Hopefully…

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3600
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Oct 27, 2017 at 10:57 AM

          For me it’s all that really matters anymore, the rest of the year. The OL.

          The D is young and will be strong next year barring injury. There’s backup DT and LB to develop but that’s trivial.

          The starting QB is out with a broken back and the probably best WR is out too. The RBs are going to be somewhere between decent and solid but none of them are game-changers.

          But the OL will make or break next year’s team. Bredeson and Onwenu continuing to make strides is the most important thing happening right now. If those two can lock in as the above average starters as juniors next year it’ll be a major step forward. Continued development for JBB would be major as well. And you can include the TEs (Gentry and McKeon) in this group as well.

          Moreso than Brandon Peters, I would love to see some reps for Ruiz who will presumably step in as OC but is apparently still far from good if he’s sitting behind Kugler.

          Runyan and Ulizio too – they maybe on the backup track but we’ve seen OL depth matter every year.

  2. crazyjoedavola
    Comments: 191
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    crazyjoedavola
    Oct 27, 2017 at 8:05 AM

    I think the biggest question in this game is if/when do we see Brandon Peters.

    • Comments: 2223
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Oct 27, 2017 at 8:11 AM

      I think Peters is clearly just a backup at this point. If we blow them out, we’ll see him. If O’Korn starts out 4/17 with 4 interceptions, we’ll see him.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3600
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 28, 2017 at 1:44 PM

        This is right!

  3. Comments: 725
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Oct 27, 2017 at 8:24 AM

    Thanks Thunder. As much as I’d like to get backups reps (including Peters), I expect another less than stellar showing on Offense
    24-7

  4. Comments: 154
    Joined: 12/24/2016
    INTJohn
    Oct 27, 2017 at 8:42 AM

    Michigan scores 5 TD’s? To get to 35 points?
    Or
    3td’s, 4 field goals & a safety……….?
    Asking for a friend…….intjohn

    • gobluetwo
      Comments: 30
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      gobluetwo
      Oct 27, 2017 at 9:51 AM

      Don’t discount defensive and special teams TDs. Worked for us early in the season, back when life was wonderful. You know, the good ol’ days of September.

  5. JC
    Comments: 137
    Joined: 8/17/2015
    JC
    Oct 27, 2017 at 10:52 AM

    This is what I’m wishing happens.

    We rush for 300 in the first 3 quarters, with something like 50 passing yards… and up comfortably by 4 scores, then see what Peters can do in the 4th airing the ball out.

    I just want to see the kid play.

    • Comments: 725
      Joined: 1/19/2016
      je93
      Oct 27, 2017 at 11:11 AM

      Four scores in three quarters? I think the reason fans often go sideways is expectations like this. Rutgers D isn’t going to just let our OL & WRs figure it all out. JOK isn’t going to all of a sudden see the whole field
      I get this is your wish (mine too), but far too many actually think it will happen, them flip out when it doesn’t

  6. Comments: 121
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    coachernie
    Oct 27, 2017 at 3:27 PM

    I would like to see Peters in for at least two series this game.

  7. Comments: 502
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    michymich
    Oct 28, 2017 at 2:20 AM

    I’d like to see UM run the ball during JOK time. I’d like to see UM up by 20 or so pts and have Peters throw 5-7 passes in the 4th quarter.

  8. Lanknows
    Comments: 3600
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Oct 28, 2017 at 11:17 AM

    Do people on here really think garbage time snaps against Rutgers are going to make a meaningful difference for Peters’ development?

    • GKblue
      Comments: 218
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      GKblue
      Oct 28, 2017 at 11:34 AM

      If you are talking about a snap to take a knee, probably no. A few plays including a mix of hand offs, movement within the pocket, simple passes. Yes.

      There isn’t much substitute for live game experience. The eval of his performance in the film room would be beneficial. If he can move the ball it can’t hurt his confidence. If he can’t move the ball it is still experience.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3600
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 28, 2017 at 1:38 PM

        I don’t agree with this. He’s already on the field. He’s already had live snaps.

        The benefit comes from meaningful snaps in competitive situations. Glad he’s getting them now.

        • GKblue
          Comments: 218
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          GKblue
          Oct 29, 2017 at 9:30 AM

          At the time I wrote this he was not “already on the field” (against Rutgers).

          I will extol the benefit of live game experience for a QB’s development almost always, excepting of course when over his head. Most normal people were ready for Peters to get some snaps if not more as we saw against Rutgers.

          I will be generous and agree meaningful snaps are a greater benefit when they are made available. I did not hang my response on whatever definition Lanknows may have for “garbage time”. Hate to break that to you.

    • Comments: 673
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Oct 28, 2017 at 1:14 PM

      You’re assuming there will be garbage time against Rutgers. Or that Harbaugh’s starter won’t need to be bailed out by Peters before the first half is even over.

      Can someone tell me again why anyone though Harbaugh was the greatest developer of QBs on the planet? Or even a particularly good coach?

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3600
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 28, 2017 at 1:39 PM

        Every QB he’s ever coach is why. O’Korn being the exception apparently.

        • Comments: 673
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          WindyCityBlue
          Oct 29, 2017 at 11:07 AM

          And Speight. And Malzone. And Gentry. He has as many failures as successes, if not more. Ruddock? He got half a good season out of 5th year guy who was already a decent P5 starter. Other than that, what has he done with the QBs at Michigan?

          • Comments: 2223
            Joined: 7/13/2015
            Oct 29, 2017 at 11:26 AM

            The only Ruddock I know of was a boxer.

            I don’t know why the “at Michigan” thing is particularly relevant. He’s done it in the Pac-12 and in the NFL, and he’s done it for a decent chunk of his 2.5 years at Michigan. He got solid play for the final 7 games out of Rudock in 2015, he got several good games from Speight in 2016, and 2017 has been the really questionable time – when Michigan has been breaking in new starters at RB, WR, TE, and 3 OL.

            It’s silly to say that Harbaugh has done well with every QB he’s ever coached, because of course there are guys on the bench who never/rarely see the field. But going back to his days at USD, Stanford, and the 49ers, he’s produced good QBs at every stop. You’re being overly negative, especially with your “When has he proven he’s even a particularly good coach?” question above. If you weren’t a regular poster here, I’d think you were a troll.

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 3600
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Oct 29, 2017 at 11:51 AM

              OK – at every place he’s ever coached he’s gotten dramatic improvement out of the QBs.

            • Comments: 502
              Joined: 9/13/2015
              michymich
              Oct 29, 2017 at 2:28 PM

              LK isn’t a troll. He loves to debate and has his own unique perspective. He reminds me of Skip Bayless. Sometimes you scratch your head but he is authentic with his beliefs. Most of them are logical and spot on.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3600
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Oct 29, 2017 at 11:48 AM

            Malzone was a Hoke recruit they took as filler in a transition class.

            Rudock dramatically improved from 2014 to 2015.

            Speight dramatically improved from 2015 to 2016.

            The 2017 QB performance was clearly affected by awful pass blocking.

            Gentry? He looks like an NFL-bound TE. You’re grasping at straws.

    • Comments: 502
      Joined: 9/13/2015
      michymich
      Oct 29, 2017 at 2:32 PM

      Yes. He only threw 14 passes yesterday and people are all excited. The almost int and the incomplete underthrown pass are both going to help in his development. Absolutely. 7 passes is more than 0 passes. 14 passes aren’t throwing it 21 times but again better than 0.

      So yes…every pass from Peters is part of the development. Even in practice. Int’s are going to be as important for next year as TD passes.

  9. Lanknows
    Comments: 3600
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Oct 28, 2017 at 1:22 PM

    Man it feels great to be wrong. Go Peters go!

  10. Comments: 725
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Oct 28, 2017 at 1:27 PM

    Trying not to get carried away, but a lot of us have said, once he’s ready, BPeters would play and keep the job

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3600
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Oct 28, 2017 at 1:43 PM

      LOL. Let the overreaction to Rutgers begin. It’s like the Purdue game never happened.

      I’m as happy as anyone to see Peters thriving but he did almost throw a pick in the red zone.

      I said before, throwing Peters into the heat of the fire was probably the best thing for him. The doubt was if it was the best thing for Michigan… with O’Korn playing so poorly it looks like it is.

      • Comments: 725
        Joined: 1/19/2016
        je93
        Oct 28, 2017 at 2:55 PM

        I’m trying hard to temper mine. Kid looked really good. It may be his time, as he doesn’t seem to be worse than what we’ve seen in 2017. If it weren’t Rutgers, I’d say he’s head & shoulders better
        Time to prep him for Wisconsin & ohio

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3600
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Oct 28, 2017 at 3:00 PM

          He passes the eye test. Kid looks like a natural. Moreso than anyone since Forcier or Henne.

          But yeah…we’d be fools to not recall how O’Korn looked against Purdue…Speight against Maryland…Denard against Indiana.

          2 more weeks to develop before the trip to Wisc, which will be a very different experience.

          • Comments: 725
            Joined: 1/19/2016
            je93
            Oct 28, 2017 at 5:19 PM

            Wisconsin might just bully our Defense…

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 3600
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Oct 28, 2017 at 9:41 PM

              Nobody bullies our defense. People gash them or fool them but nobody has bullied them since…you tell me. Rich Rod era?

              I’m far more worried about Wisc run defense than their run offense.

              • Comments: 673
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                WindyCityBlue
                Oct 29, 2017 at 11:08 AM

                I’d call 42 points bullying.

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 3600
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Oct 29, 2017 at 11:50 AM

                  I wouldn’t. I’d call it dominating with skill, speed, talent and playcalling. The only guys who got ‘bullied’ might have been our safeties downfield against their TE.

              • Comments: 725
                Joined: 1/19/2016
                je93
                Oct 29, 2017 at 12:19 PM

                What I mean by bullying is that OL are now getting to our LBs, even rutgers. When the back7’s not overpursuing, they’re effectively blocked out of a play

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