Rapid Reaction: Michigan rallies in second half for big road win vs. Rutgers
Final Score: No. 5 Michigan 52, Rutgers 17
Brief Recap: What started out as a spirited fight and hard-fought effort from the Scarlet Knights took a turn after halftime. However, the first half started with some concerns for the Wolverines.
Early in the game, Michigan bogged down a few times in the red zone, a recurring issue for the Wolverines in Week 9 despite a blowout win over rival Michigan State. On the other side of the ball, Michigan struggled to cover Rutgers receiver Sean Ryan in the first half.
That culminated in a blocked punt touchdown and a big touchdown grab for Ryan late in the first half. Coupled with a pair of missed field goals by Jake Moody, the Scarlet Knights took a 17-14 lead into the break.
Things were quite different in the second half, and it started right away in the 3rd quarter. Michigan opened the quarter with 21 points in 9 minutes, including a pick-6 by Michael Barrett. The Wolverines finished the quarter with 3 interceptions.
By the time the 4th quarter rolled around, Michigan had taken the lead and established control of the game in a big way. After that, it was simply getting to the finish line healthy and with the big win intact.
Key Player: Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards. This time around, Corum and Edwards split their carries in the backfield a bit more evenly. The running-back duo finished the game with 35 combined carries for 218 rushing yards and 2 rushing touchdowns.
Edward also chipped in with the passing game while leading the Wolverines with 52 receiving yards and a touchdown on 3 grabs. Both players can be a workhorse, but it was a true tandem effort for the Wolverines this week.
Key Moment: Everything was turned on its head in this game during the 3rd quarter. In fact, Michigan’s 21-point blitz occurred in just under 2 minutes of game time.
In that time frame, Corum and Edwards both scored a touchdown, Michigan recorded a pair of interceptions, and the Wolverines had a pick-6. By the time that scoring onslaught was over, Michigan had a 35-17 lead and never looked back.
Key Stat: 5, total first downs allowed by Michigan in the game. Once Michigan got rolling, the Wolverines never looked back while cruising to the finish line.
What it means moving forward: For Michigan, the Wolverines are likely looking at a top-4 spot in the next College Football Playoff Rankings. Jim Harbaugh’s squad was already No. 5 entering Week 10, and No. 4 Clemson and No. 1 Tennessee both lost over the weekend.
As for Rutgers, Gavin Wimsatt definitely has shown his flashes at quarterback, but there is still lots of room for growth for all of the Scarlet Knights heading into Week 11. A shot at a bowl game is still not out of question, but it’s fading every week.