The Michigan Wolverines improved to 6-0 (3-0 Big Ten) on Saturday, after they defeated Rutgers 78-0.
No, that is not a typo. The Wolverines really did put up 78 points against a Big Ten opponent.
Things started out slow for the Wolverines, as they were forced to punt on their first two possessions. Their third possession was cut short, as De’Veon Smith fumbled the ball at Michigan’s own 37-yard line. The Michigan defense was able to force a punt though, and on the third play of Michigan’s fourth drive, this game was all but over. Jabrill Peppers was lined up at quarterback, took the snap on a read option, and ultimately found running room around the left side. Peppers scampered 63 yards, down to the Rutgers 4-yard line. Michigan would punch the ball in on the very next play, as Ty Isaac took the handoff and found pay dirt.
Ultimately, Michigan found the end zone TEN more times on Saturday, as they tied a school record for rushing touchdowns in a single game with nine. Michigan dominated all aspects of the game Saturday, and Rutgers could never get any momentum. The Scarlet Knights failed to pick up a single first down until the fourth quarter, and they still only ended up with two the entire game. Rutgers also was held to just 39 yards, 34 of which were via the running game. The closest Rutgers came to scoring on Saturday was in the third quarter, when Shane Morris threw a low pass that bounced up in the air, and was intercepted for a touchdown by Rutgers. However, the play was reviewed and overturned because the ball actually hit the ground before deflecting up into the air.
Overall, this was a HUGE TEAM WIN for the Wolverines, as they went into New Jersey and made their presence known. Let’s see who I named as “Harbaugh’s Heroes” this week:
I just don’t even know what to say about this guy anymore. When is the country going to start seriously considering him a Heisman finalist?
Here’s a quick glimpse of what happens when you give Jabrill Peppers a chance to make a play…(this play was called back because of a penalty, but nonetheless, it’s still an extremely athletic play by Peppers)
Hill found the end zone three times, on two carries and two receptions. Wait…what?! Is it actually possible for Hill to touch the ball and not score?! I know, I am as shocked as you. Khalid Hill leads the Wolverines in touchdowns this season with seven on just 13 carries and another on 8 catches. Those numbers are a bit absurd, but they are real. Anytime the Wolverines are inside the 5-yard line, they lean on Hill to get the job done. After the resurgence of the fullback for Michigan last year, I was a little worried who would fill that role this year, as both Sione Houma and Joe Kerridge graduated last spring. Hill has done an exceptional job this year, not only carrying the ball, but also paving lanes for other Michigan rushers.
Chris Evans & Karan Higdon
Both of these guys had a field day on Saturday. Evans led the Wolverine rushing attack with 11 carries for 153 yards, and once again showed that he brings an element of speed that no other Michigan back (besides Jabrill Peppers) brings. Karan Higdon made sure to get in on the action as he tallied 13 carries for 114 yards for two rushing touchdowns.
In a game that De’Veon Smith struggled early (5 carries, 12 yards, 1 fumble), it was nice to see Michigan have a plethora of talent to turn to in the back field. The Wolverine rushing attack has featured four running backs this year, De’Veon Smith, Ty Isaac, Chris Evans and Karan Higdon. Before the season started, I was confident that Smith would have a huge year. Now six games into the season, I’m not sure sure anymore. I love the toughness he brings, but I think Evans and Higdon have both earned their playing time, and I look for their roles to increase each week.
How good are these guys?! I can’t pick just one or two to give the award to after a shutout performance. This entire unit has performed so well this year, and we are starting to really see Don Brown’s schemes coming to life. Each week this defense is bringing something new at opposing teams. There isn’t a single position on the Wolverine defense that I am nervous about going forward.
How do you not give the entire team a game ball after a game like that?!
Get in touch with us on social media to share your thoughts. Michigan heads into their bye week 6-0, but will host the Illinois Fighting Illini in Ann Arbor in two weeks. I can’t wait for another great Big Ten matchup! Go Blue!