Preview: Michigan vs. Rutgers

Preview: Michigan vs. Rutgers


September 27, 2019

RUSH OFFENSE vs. RUTGERS RUSH DEFENSE
Michigan’s pretty bad at running the ball, coming in at #97 nationally (127 yards/game) and #108 in yards per carry (3.5). Starting running back Zach Charbonnet (4.6 YPC) was limited last week, and backup Christian Turner (4.3 YPC) hasn’t shown much. That ineffectiveness is mostly due to an offensive line that can’t get movement and a starting quarterback who won’t run the ball when given a clear read to run the ball; the backup, who will run the ball, has a concussion and won’t play this week. Rutgers is #118 in rushing defense (218 yards allowed/game) and #108 in yards allowed per carry (4.88). Their best performance so far was allowing 277 yards and 4 touchdowns (on 61 carries) to Boston College in a 30-16 loss. Junior linebacker Tyshon Fogg (6’1″, 237 lbs.) leads the team with 33 tackles. Former Michigan linebacker Drew Singleton (6’2″, 233), a redshirt sophomore, should be the starting weakside linebacker despite just 12 tackles and 0.5 tackles for loss so far this year. The defensive line is not particularly large or explosive.
Advantage: Michigan

Hit the jump for more.

PASS OFFENSE vs. RUTGERS PASS DEFENSE
Michigan is #75 in passing offense (237 yards/game) and that seems high. Shea Patterson is completing less than 56% of his passes for 7.0 yards per attempt, and this week’s primary backup, Joe Milton, is 0/3 as the third-stringer through three games. Ronnie Bell appears to be Patterson’s favorite target (11 catches, 180 yards), while anybody else is an afterthought. The Wolverines are #77 in sacks allowed, and Wisconsin hit Michigan’s quarterbacks 19 times last week. Luckily, Rutgers is #112 in sacks (1 per game) and #70 in interceptions (2). Overall, the Scarlet Knights are #22 in passing defense (175 yards allowed/game) and #24 in passer rating allowed. The secondary doesn’t mind coming up to hit, which could be used to Michigan’s advantage if they could develop any kind of running game, but that’s asking a lot from a bunch of former 4- and 5-star recruits, so maybe Michigan can just muddle through averaging 3 yards a carry and trying play action over the top.
Advantage: Rutgers

RUSH DEFENSE vs. RUTGERS RUSH OFFENSE
Michigan is #114 in rushing defense and #82 in yards per carry allowed (4.29). The Wolverines’ interior defensive linemen have not been impressive, and the rotation is much narrower than in recent years. Michigan has had years where they could rotate in four or five solid defensive tackles, and now it’s . . . ummm . . . one. Michigan’s top three tacklers are all former or current Vipers: Khaleke Hudson (34), Brad Hawkins (27), and Jordan Glasgow (24). Defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (23 tackles, 2.5 TFL) has arguably been Michigan’s best defensive player. Rutgers is #103 in rushing offense (120 yards/game) and #82 in yards per carry (3.96). Sophomore running back Isaih Pacheco (5’11”, 210) is pretty good (239 yards, 5.2 YPC, 4 TD) despite not having a good offensive line in front of him. He gets the bulk of the carries, and Rutgers will try some jet sweeps with wideouts, too. The quarterbacks have not been a factor in the running game, with 6 carries for -9 yards so far.
Advantage: Michigan

PASS DEFENSE vs. RUTGERS PASS OFFENSE
Michigan is #4 in passing defense (135 yards allowed/game) but #52 in passer rating allowed. That’s not necessarily because Michigan is good on the back end – it’s because the Wolverines’ first three opponents are either not good at throwing the ball or they didn’t need to because they were gashing the defense on the ground. Michigan has notched 5 sacks so far with 2 interceptions. The Scarlet Knights have allowed just 2 sacks this year, which is tied for #6 in the country. They throw screens and get the ball out quick because the offensive line isn’t good. They’re #77 in passing offense and #103 in passer rating; the quarterbacks have thrown 3 touchdowns and 6 interceptions; Saturday’s starter will be Artur Sitkowski (6’5″, 230), who has 1 TD and 2 INT on the season. Running back/receiver Raheem Blackshear (5’9″, 192) has 22 catches for 255 yards and 2 touchdowns, and receiver Bo Melton (5’11”, 191) has 9 catches for 186 yards and 1 score. Rutgers is pretty good at finding skill guys who can run, but they have a hard time finding any guys with size who can run…or guys who can protect the quarterback.
Advantage: Michigan

ROSTER NOTES

  • Rutgers players recruited by Michigan include: RB Elijah Barnwell, DL Micah Clark, WR Bo Melton, OL Raiqwon O’Neal, LB Drew Singleton, QB Artur Sitkowski
  • Rutgers players from the State of Michigan include: DL Devin Baldwin (Southfield A&T)
  • Michigan players from the State of Michigan include: DT Michael Dwumfour, WR Brad Hawkins, DB Hunter Reynolds, C Cesar Ruiz
  • Drew Singleton transferred out of Michigan

LAST TIME THEY PLAYED…

  • On November 10, 2018, Michigan went to Piscataway and beat Rutgers 42-7
  • Rutgers RB Isaih Pacheco had an 80-yard TD run
  • Michigan WR Oliver Martin had his first and only TD catch with the Wolverines
  • Michigan QB Shea Patterson was 18/27 for 260 yards and 3 touchdowns

PREDICTIONS

  • Michigan still shows cracks defensively, particularly in defending screens
  • Michigan’s running game shows signs of life. Christian Turner finishes with 80 yards rushing.
  • Michigan finishes with 3 sacks and 2 interceptions.
  • Michigan 38, Rutgers 17

19 comments

  1. Avatar
    Comments: 1545
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Sep 27, 2019 at 7:25 AM

    “The Wolverines’ interior defensive linemen have not been impressive, and … ”
    They have not been impressive, but it’s the rest of the front7 that let Jonathan Taylor & Co bounce outside and run free

    BTW, I’d take that score

  2. Lanknows
    Comments: 5314
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Sep 27, 2019 at 8:36 AM

    Need to see order reestablished and basic execution and playcalling competency.

    I think AND hope they are way better than what they’ve shown so far.

    Go Blue. Get it together.

  3. Lanknows
    Comments: 5314
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Sep 27, 2019 at 8:48 AM

    Hutchinson, Charbonnet, and Bell are the 3 biggest silver linings to this season.

    Charbonnet a freshman so either he’s a pass-blocking savant or the offense is easy to pick up in this area. Seems like the former given Turner’s struggles.

    Nua probably deserves some credit for Hutchinson making such a leap. He’s the new guy but I have not seen anyone too upset with Hutch, Paye, Kemp, Uche individual play. Given the available options it seems like he’s doing alright to me. Hard to expect a DL coach to make lemonde out of freshman and converted FBs. Sure would be nice if Dwumfour and Kemp were healthy so we could see how much they’ve improved.

    Gattis presumably helping with Bell though it’s not clear to me how much an OC does with a WR position group. The WRs all look pretty good when given opportunity.

    I’m putting 80% of the offensive woes on having rookie OC installing a new system.

    I’m putting 80% of the defensive woes on lack of options at DT.

    • Klctlc
      Comments: 77
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Klctlc
      Sep 27, 2019 at 12:17 PM

      Lan,

      Nice way to summarize the issues on offense and defense. I would agree with your %. Defense is much more talent related and offense is coaching/scheme.

      Has any news come out with Smith and Hinton being hurt? If we don’t see them this week the are hurt, or just not very good. No way they are saving them for redshirt with season and some careers on the line.

      • TheWolverines24
        Comments: 6
        Joined: 5/17/2017
        TheWolverines24
        Sep 27, 2019 at 4:14 PM

        They really need some experience too.

        Because next year DT depth is Hinton, Smith, Jeter and ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 5314
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Sep 27, 2019 at 4:29 PM

          It would be nice to get Kemp back but he did not red-shirt. I wouldn’t repeat the mistake with Smith and Hinton unless they are making an impact. A few games away from this being a non-issue.

          If they are really that desperate for options maybe they can try Paea or Spanellis or Filiaga. How about plugging in one of the young scholarship DEs and seeing if they have some fire in their belly.

          I’m not advocating for anything crazy like that. It won’t work. But it might be preferable to taking away a 5th year option from players who might use it.

          As for 2020. Dwumfour and probably Mason will be back too. Position switches tend to take longer than a year to payoff. Remember Chase Winovich was basically a useless vagabond for his first couple years, then a promising backup, then 2 years as an excellent starter.

          • Avatar
            Comments: 1545
            Joined: 1/19/2016
            je93
            Sep 27, 2019 at 9:42 PM

            Dwumfor played in 2016. I absolutely remember him out there for Hawaii, and thinking it was Onwenu (#50). Did he RS in 2017?

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 5314
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Sep 27, 2019 at 4:18 PM

        Don Brown’s track record says it’s coaching too. But scheme rarely solves everything.

        I think this is where the “weakest link” theory comes into play. The kinks in the armor of the 2016 to 18 defenses have been ruthlessly exploited by elite offenses. Even on those excellent defenses it was a slow LB, injury replacement DB, or slow 3rd CB that got the defense blown up.

        On this 2019 defense the weak link is staring you right in the face – a DT rotation of misfits and castoffs.

        Smith and Hinton aren’t coming to save the day right now. If they were ready they’d be out there. I’ve heard nothing about any injury. They are freshman being freshman AFAIK. Maybe they are viable by November? I really doubt it.

        That all said. I see two reasons for hope.

        1. Jeter and Dwumfour can get healthy. Good bet that Jeter was rushed back like Godin was when things went sideways in 2015. I doubt that is as good as he can play. He looked really slow.

        2. Wisconsin may be really good AND particularly well suited to take advantage of our DT woes.

        • Avatar
          Comments: 1545
          Joined: 1/19/2016
          je93
          Sep 27, 2019 at 9:47 PM

          We don’t need the Freshmen to be allstars, just depth. That’s better than Glascow with his hand in the dirt, or keeping undersized Kemp or not-good Jeter out there without relief

        • Avatar
          Comments: 1545
          Joined: 1/19/2016
          je93
          Sep 28, 2019 at 1:11 PM

          1) Jeter hasn’t been out there in the first half. Dwumfor has, but is unproductive. Gotta get the two youngsters ready to at least CONTRIBUTE, or Wisconsin will simply serve as a preview of things to come

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 5314
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Sep 28, 2019 at 1:50 PM

          Putting out people who can’t play for “depth” seems futile. If you feel like you have to take a risk to give Kemp a breather then there are better options than true freshman. Mason, Paea, and OL.

          If they aren’t ready they can’t help. No reason to think they are. If there’s any lesson from the first 3 games of Gattis it’s that hope doesn’t equal reality.

          All you’re doing by putting a kid out who isn’t ready is compromising the future – of the team and potentially the player.

          All this is temporary anyway. Get Dwumfour and Jeter healthy and this conversation is moot. We don’t need to sacrifice the future for this.

          • Avatar
            Comments: 1545
            Joined: 1/19/2016
            je93
            Sep 28, 2019 at 3:55 PM

            Dwumfor didn’t do anything today; not A thing
            Jeter didn’t play
            Hinton did, and pushed his Guard back. He can at least spell a starter, and already looked better than Mason. I don’t think Pae has even seen the field yet. Can’t leave Kemp out there alone, he’ll limp into November

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 5314
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Sep 28, 2019 at 2:03 PM

          Michigan plays freshman DL when they can help. Gary played a huge role. Solomon started.

          There is no conspiracy here. If the freshman aren’t playing it means they aren’t ready. They’ll get better in practice.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 5314
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Sep 28, 2019 at 4:26 PM

          Jeter played. Hinton got in after him. Meaningless snaps against Rutgers backups aren’t changing anything but he made a nice play on the last run of the game. Hurrah. I’d rather have him kicking tail as a 5th year senior than beating up on a walk-on but what do I know.

          • Avatar
            Comments: 1545
            Joined: 1/19/2016
            je93
            Sep 28, 2019 at 4:30 PM

            Playing for a season that’s 4 years away is how coaches get fired. Play him now, he’s needed, and will even more by November. JH may not be around anymore if Kemp gets hurt, and we’re stuck with Mason & Pae

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 5314
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Sep 28, 2019 at 7:12 PM

          If the 6th DT on the depth chart can make an impact in meaningful situations he should play. That goes regardless of class.

          If it’s a toss-up and the 6th guy is no different than the 4th guy or 5th guy and the 6th guy can hold on to an additional eligibility option, then you go with the others.

          We have no evidence that Hinton and Smith are ready. If you’re swayed by Hinton playing snaps with a 50 point lead against the worst team on the schedule OK. We can use that logic to insist Devin Gil should be a starter too. He and Ryan Hayes have at least held up as starters.

          If you want to assert the coaches are idiots and have the depth chart wrong. OK.

          I would submit that Dwumfour, Jeter, and Kemp are better than freshman. If you need a guy to come in when games are decided – Speight and Mason can do that.

          Otherwise you’re a third of the way through the season already. A few games away from holding on to 5th year options. If you want to stagger the games and use Smith in one and Hinton and another you can still hit that target.

          If Kemp goes down Michigan is screwed either way. Next guys in are Hutchinson, Dwumfour, and Jeter. Danna appears to be a passrush DT a la Paye in 2017 and Charlton early in his career. That seems like a smarter way to manage Kemps workload than compromising the future.

          • Avatar
            Comments: 1545
            Joined: 1/19/2016
            je93
            Sep 28, 2019 at 7:29 PM

            You serious? When did I call the coaches idiots?

            I’m saying we have no depth at DT. We have Kemp … that’s it. Jeter has played limited snaps, and hasn’t done jack. I doubt he’ll be healthy enough this year, maybe not good enough, ever. Same with Dwumfor. You keep talking about hope, but you’re case for both is based on hope

            I’m saying both Hinton and Smith are more talented and have much higher ceilings than Mason & Speight. Neither of the latter can be trusted for much of anything, but the two former have been playing DL their entire lives. It’s up to Nua & Brown to get them ready. We already know what we have in Speight/Mason – nothing. Develop your talent!

  4. GrandLake
    Comments: 39
    Joined: 8/22/2019
    GrandLake
    Sep 27, 2019 at 7:07 PM

    Honestly I don’t care about the score so much as how UM plays the game. I would like to see that the errors are being corrected on OL and that Shea is making better reads/decisions. In general I just want to see a good, orderly 42-7 win that UM controls throughout. DL is likely going to be a problem all year and if UM has any chance to split MSU PSU ND OSU is will likely have to come from the offense including Gattis not looking like they just picked the playbook Friday night for the first time. Want to see some longer drives with emphasis on running to set up passing. If not this looks like a 7 win year. This is the week Turner breaks the 70+ yd run.

  5. Avatar
    Comments: 300
    Joined: 12/24/2016
    INTJohn
    Sep 27, 2019 at 7:23 PM

    On predictions:
    I know its a long season with 12 games hence the very difficult feat of going 12 4 12 on first drive fumbles but will Michigan make it 4 4 4? Gota go 4 4 4 b4 you can go 12 4 12……..

    Enquiring minds want to know…………….INTJohn

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