Michigan vs. Rutgers prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins when the Wolverines visit the Scarlet Knights on Saturday night.
Michigan vs. Rutgers Game Preview
When: Saturday, Oct. 8 – 7 p.m. ET
Where: High Point Solutions Stadium, Piscataway, NJ.
TV Broadcast: ESPN2
When Michigan traveled to Rutgers in 2014, the Scarlet Knights came away with the victory. A lot has changed in two years, and a pair of New Jersey products will try to help the Wolverines remain unbeaten Saturday night.
Jabrill Peppers, a Heisman contender this year who was redshirting when Michigan played at Rutgers last time, went to high school roughly 40 miles from the Rutgers campus. True freshman defensive tackle Rashan Gary also hails from New Jersey, but coach Jim Harbaugh convinced the nation’s top recruit to head to Ann Arbor. They might hear plenty of boos, but they’re going to be happy with the end result Saturday.
Michigan is coming off a 14-7 win over then-No. 8 Wisconsin and is ranked No. 4 in the country. Rutgers lost to Ohio State last week, 58-0, and is a huge underdog against another defense that rates as one of the nation’s best.
What to Know About Michigan
The Wolverines stifled the Badgers, holding them to their fewest total yards in a game since 1996 and got a 46-yard touchdown pass from Wilton Speight in the fourth quarter to take the lead for good. It wasn’t the best offensive game for the Wolverines considering they outscored opponents by 153 points through their first four, but the defense got into the backfield most of the day and ended the critical Big Ten matchup with Jourdan Lewis’ acrobatic interception.
Michigan might have earned a more comfortable victory had it been able to hit field goals. The Wolverines missed three attempts – two by Kenny Allen and one by freshman Ryan Trice – and Harbaugh said there will be a kicking competition this week to see who earns the reps against Rutgers.
What to Know About Rutgers
The Scarlet Knights showed just how far they have to go with last week’s blowout loss against Ohio State. First-year coach Chris Ash, who came over from the Buckeyes, watched his team gain only 116 yards on the day. Rutgers punted 10 times, and it’s a wonder how it will move the ball against a defense just as good or better than Ohio State’s.
It’s just as bad defensively. The Scarlet Knights allowed 669 yards of offense to the Buckeyes, who converted 10 of their 15 third downs.
Offense: Michigan – Speight, De’Veon Smith, etc. shouldn’t have much trouble in this one.
Defense: Michigan – Jourdan Lewis made one of the best plays of the ear for a defense that’s as stingy as they come.
Special Teams: Rutgers – Michigan is 4-of-9 kicking field goals.
Coaching: Michigan – Ash might be a good coach down the road, but right now Harbaugh has Michigan in position to compete for a national title within two years.
Intangibles: Michigan – The talent level sides too far with the Wolverines.
Matchup To Watch
Smith vs. Rutgers’ run defense
Smith is a bruising running back and should have a field day against the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers allowed 410 rushing yards last week and has given up at least 150 in each of its last four.
Spread: Michigan -27.5
Michigan vs. Rutgers Prediction
Michigan covers the spread and then some. Smith runs for three touchdowns, Speight passes for two more and Rutgers has trouble crossing the 50 all night.
Michigan vs. Rutgers final score prediction: Michigan 45, Rutgers 10