Week 6 Preview: #4 Michigan Wolverines vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Michigan had its first test of the season last week against Wisconsin and they proved their worth. While the offense couldn’t get much going, the defense stepped up big with three interceptions and a shutdown of the rushing attack. This week Michigan is actually on the road, their first road game of the year as they travel to New Jersey to take on the new “rival” in Rutgers.
Rutgers says they are rivals with the Wolverines and while they have split the series 1-1 since joining the Big Ten Conference, it doesn’t mean there is a rivalry brewing. Michigan is coming in off a big win and is looking to steamroll Rutgers into the bye week. Rutgers is coming off a rough performance, getting shutout by the Ohio State Buckeyes, so take that for what you will.
What to Expect Against Rutgers
Wilton Speight should rebound after an average game against the Badgers. While Speight didn’t blow people away, he didn’t look too bad. He threw just his second interception against a tough secondary and defense. Rutgers doesn’t have that. He will have to look out for Kiy Hester, the leading tackler and he has a few pass breakups.
Ohio State had 410 rushing yards on Rutgers. Michigan shouldn’t have a problem with at least getting 200. Expect all four running backs to get involved with carries and if it’s a blowout late in the game, you could see less of De’Veon Smith and more of Karan Higdon.
Rutgers allowed four passing touchdowns last week and with another tough receiving core in Michigan’s, they could allow the same results. Amara Darboh has been the team leader in catches with Jake Butt just one behind. Jehu Chesson has been quiet this year, getting knocked around with injuries that would cause him to leave games for a while and either come back or sit the rest of the game. He could finally emerge into the big deep threat receiver he was last year.
The offensive line will just have to deal with Julian Pinnix-Odrick who leads the team with four sacks. Besides him, Michigan won’t have a problem with the Rutgers pass rush. Michigan did lose their starting left tackle in Grant Newsome and Juwann Bushell-Beatty replaced him and did well. He will most likely be the starter again with his performance last week, expect him to get tested.
The defensive line for the Wolverines should have another dominant performance. Ryan Glasgow, while not leading the team in tackles or sacks, is a stud in stuffing the run. Robert Martin leads the team with 398 rushing yards and a touchdown, but don’t expect much against this front seven. Michigan is ranked 23rd in rush defense and the Rutgers offense shouldn’t put up much of a threat.
While the defensive line and linebackers will be helping stopping the run, the passing defense shouldn’t have any issues as well. Jourdan Lewis and Channing Stribling shutdown the Badgers air raid attack last week and with Chris Laviano leading the charge for Rutgers, it should be even easier for the duo.
Overall Michigan will give Rutgers another beat down in back to back weeks. The defense for the Wolverines is just too good and the offense will be able to shred apart the Knights defense. Watch for Ryan Glasgow and Jehu Chesson to possibly have big games. Michigan will be surging into the bye week with an easy win as they get a chance to rest and prepare for the second half of the season that will define the rest of their season.
Prediction: #4 Michigan 49 – Rutgers 3