It’s Rutgers week — are you not entertained?
Michigan football is 8-0 and controls its destiny to another Big Ten championship. With nothing guaranteed in college football, a date with the Scarlet Knights under the lights is business like any week for the Wolverines, who take no team lightly.
Remember 2016? Heckuva year for headlines, right?
That year, the biggest Rutgers football headline was when it lost to Michigan 78-0, under the lights, on its home turf.
While Greg Schiano’s Scarlet Knights aren’t nearly as bad as the Chris Ash version, both teams are in similar positions to the groups from 2016.
Will it happen again in Piscataway?
Let’s find out together.
Game: Saturday, November 5; @ Rutgers, 7:30 PM
Spread: MICH -25.5
Picks: RUTG +25.5, under 45.5
Meet 2022 Rutgers Football
Head Coach: Greg Schiano
Record: 4-4 overall, 1-4 Big Ten
What to know: Rutgers is bad again — but less bad, so that’s good? Greg Schiano is an excellent coach and has the Scarlet Knights playing stout defense, but the offense’s struggles make it impossible to focus on the good things about this team. Rutgers started 3-0 with weak wins — Boston College, Temple, and Wagner — and its only win since Week 3 is over lowly Indiana. They host Michigan on Saturday off a 31-0 loss to Minnesota.
Rutgers switched to Gavin Wimsatt, who will make the third start of his career against Michigan on Saturday.
Wimsatt, a celebrated recruiting win for Schiano, is 16-of-40 on the season with two more interceptions (3) than touchdowns (1). Of course, there’s talent there & something that will help Rutgers down the road.
As far as this year, there’s still a ways to go for the young Wimsatt with his arm, but he’s particularly dangerous with his legs, averaging six yards a carry on 17 carries.
So if there’s anywhere this offense can attack you, it’s on the ground, especially with RB Samuel Brown V alongside Wimsatt.
But … Rutgers ranks 53rd in Rush Success Rate but 85th in Offensive Line Yards, 103rd in Pass Blocking, 114th in Finishing Drives, & 124th in Pass Success Rate.
Not great, Bob.
The defense for Rutgers is more than serviceable, but they continue to give up an absurd number of points & yards on the ground.
Despite the unit sitting 9th in Line Yards & 18th in Pass Rush, the front hasn’t been enough to hold Iowa’s offense from scoring two touchdowns & Minnesota from running for 253 yards and four touchdowns.
Rutgers is good in coverage (34th) & an excellent tackling team (6th), but in its last two games (Minnesota & Indiana), it might have proved to be on a decline until the season’s end.
Michigan, indeed, will be a measuring stick.
Rutgers has a defense that, on paper, can’t counter what Michigan does on the ground. Minnesota’s run game is the Zero Sugar version of Jim Harbaugh’s rush attack, at least in its current dominant state, and they ran for four touchdowns.
Michigan is off a miserable few games in the red zone, leaning strongly on All-American kicker Jake Moody, who leads the nation with 89 points.
Consider the Rutgers red zone defense — 114th in Finishing Drives — a perfectly paved bridge into a world where the Wolverines solve their issues by scoring touchdowns.
Rutgers’ offense has no counter to Michigan’s defense, but the Wolverines are dinged up & will be without a few guys. Their replacements will dictate the success of the defense.
I still expect Michigan to contain Wimsatt in the run game and control the trenches.
And, of course, another big day from Blake Corum will do the trick.
Both teams rank below 100th in pace of play, so anticipate a low-scoring affair.
Prediction: Michigan 35 Rutgers 7
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