No. 2 Michigan gets Jim Harbaugh back for matchup with Rutgers
Thu, Sep 21, 2023
NCAAF News (AP)
Rutgers (3-0, 1-0 Big Ten) at No. 2 Michigan (3-0, 0-0), Saturday, noon ET (Big Ten Network)
Line: Michigan by 24 .5, according to FanDuel Sportsbook
Series record: Michigan leads 8-1.
WHAT'S AT STAKE?
Coach Jim Harbaugh returns after his school-imposed three-game suspension for violating NCAA rules to a Wolverines team that hasn't missed a beat. They've beaten East Carolina, UNLV and Bowling Green by a combined score of 96-16. The Scarlet Knights have been just as impressive, winning their first three games by a combined 95-30 against Northwestern, Temple and Virginia Tech. The Wolverines can ill afford to stumble to make a third straight trip into the NCAA playoffs.
Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy had one of the worst games of his career against Bowling Green, going 8-13 for 143 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. It didn't matter much since the rushing game put up 169 yards and two touchdowns, but the Scarlet Knights come into the game ranked 19th in the country in yards allowed and their 4-3 defense has been very tough against the run. They are vulnerable against the pass, so McCarthy will have to bounce back. PLAYERS TO WATCH
Michigan: RB Blake Corum can wreck any team's defensive scheme, having put up 254 yards and six touchdowns while barely taking the field in the second half of Michigan's first three games. If the Scarlet Knights want to force McCarthy into mistakes, they'll have to prove that run defense is as stout as the numbers show.
Rutgers: LB Tyreem Powell is the heart of the Scarlet Knights defense with a team-high 28 tackles and two sacks in the first three games. If he can get loose in the Wolverines backfield, it will give Rutgers a chance at causing mistakes.
FACTS & FIGURES
Saturday will be Harbaugh's 100th game at Michigan. ... The Wolverines have won eight straight against Rutgers after losing the first meeting 26-24 in 2014. The schools rank first and third in total NCAA games played, but had never faced each other before Rutgers joined the Big Ten. ... Rutgers is one of six teams ranked in the top 20 in both rushing offense and defense, joining Air Force, Oregon State, Syracuse, TCU and UCLA. ... The Scarlet Knights have never started 2-0 in Big Ten play.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll"