Michigan will play it’s first game since receiving heavy criticism for what happened last week against Minnesota. The Wolverines travel to Piscataway, New Jersey, to take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights this Saturday at 7 PM under the lights at High Point Solutions Stadium.
Those who’ve followed me know that I am from New Jersey, and that I will be attending this game, so we will have boots on the ground in enemy territory for this weekend.
Rutgers is an interesting matchup, and they have several key players that the Wolverines will have to defend in order to come out victorious on Saturday. It goes farther then quarterback Gary Nova, and running back Paul James. This team is extremely gifted on special teams and they have more than adequate defense to get the job done against Michigan. Head coach Kyle Flood Took over for Greg Schiano ones he took the job for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Flood has not missed a beat.
Just by talking with friends who attend Rutgers, I can tell you that the atmosphere is going to be raucous, and Michigan should be ready for a fistfight. Rutgers was the butt-end of a joke whenever mentioned previously when people talk about the Big Ten, but it seems as if tables have turned and people are taking the team seriously, and I would too.
Date and Time:
October 4th, 2014 at 7 PM
High Point Solutions Stadium, Piscataway, New Jersey.
What to Expect:
Truthfully, this game has more to offer than people think. This game is full of tradition anyway you look at it, Michigan and Rutgers or two of the oldest schools with the Football reputation in the country, and they look to add a new chapter in each of their storied history. I’m expecting smash mouth football, so both teams should be prepared and should pack a lunch, this is going to be a long night. If I know one thing about New Jersey, it’s that college kids can get a bit crazy here, so Rutgers takes an early lead, the stadium could be rocking.
With a highly motivated Devin Gardner, I expect the Wolverines to come out with a chip on their shoulder, and inspiration to prove doubters wrong. If Gardner can connect with his receivers early, I think you’ll be able to silence the crowd, and have the Wolverines offense clicking. But before I anoint Gardner, let’s be clear that the offense needs to come out strong and put together drives early in order to be successful on Saturday. The running game is something that will be relied on heavily, especially after what what took place last weekend. Expect heavy doses of De’Veon Smith and Derek Green in order to keep this offense calm, and Rutgers defense on its toes. This is a game that Michigan should win, but so in the last two.
Devin Funchess is a man that can wreak havoc all over the field on Saturday, but he cannot do it by himself. He will have to establish a connection with Gardner early and often in order to create mismatches, and take advantage of his body build, and his freak athletic ability. Smith and green are also two players that I believe will have a big impact come kick off, and they will have to in order for this offense to put up points.
Although Gary Nova is the player that people talk about, I believe there is more to this team then their quarterback. Running back Paul James is a player that is going to be looked upon the shoulder a load that will help his football team win, and he is good enough to make that happen, so the Wolverine defense needs to be aware of his ability. On the defensive side of the ball, they have several defense of players that can make an impact, one of the most notably being linebacker Steve Longa. Longa was a high school teammate of mine, and I truly believe that he has what it takes to be very disruptive Saturday night, and that’s not just me being a homer, you can play with the big boys.
For Michigan the X factor is obvious, its Jabrill Peppers. Coming back to his home state, and looking to recover from his injury, Peppers will be looking to make every fan wish he stayed in his home state. If he is healthy, I believe that he will be able to make an impact that could be the outcome in this game. Peppers is hurt, but if you can come back from injury, you’ll be a welcomed addition to a secondary that needs help in anyway it can get.
For Rutgers, I think it will have to be on the shoulders of Andre Patton, and the other talented receivers on this roster. They’ll be looking to take advantage of a secondary that is suspect, and that has obvious holes.
Michigan should win this game, and I think they will, but it will be close. Michigan is too talented to be 2-4, and I think they know that. This team is struggling to find an identity, and the only press they’ve been getting has been negative press. I look for them to put the turmoil aside, at least for a few hours on Saturday night, and by Brady Hoke some time to show that he can actually coach this football team.