Live updates: Peters, ground game lead UM to 35-14 win
Michigan racked up 334 yards on the ground on their way to a 35-14 win over Rutgers on Saturday afternoon.
But that wasn't the story of the day.
John O'Korn got off to a rocky start, throwing an interception and dropping the ball twice on shotgun snaps. That's when redshirt freshman Brandon Peters finally got the call, and all he did was lead scoring drives on four of his first five series.
Peters went 10-for-14 through the air for 124 yards and a 20-yard touchdown pass to Chris Evans. He got a ton of support in the run game, as both Karan Higdon and Ty Isaac went over the 100-yard mark on the ground.
Peters did something both Wilton Speight and O'Korn struggled to do this year: He got the ball out of his hands and found hit his receivers in a timely fashion, though he did have a couple of throws he would have like to have back, including a fourth-down throw in the fourth quarter where he underthrew a wide open Sean McKeon for what could have been a touchdown.
The Wolverines defense gave up a couple of chunk plays, including a 65-yard rushing touchdown to Rutgers wide receiver Janarion Grant that tied the game at 7-7 in the second quarter.
Don't read too much into that, though, as Rashan Gary and Maurice Hurst dominated the line of scrimmage and routinely forced Gio Rescigno (8-for-16, 101 yards) into uncomfortable situations. The Wolverines piled up five sacks.
Peters misses fourth down throw
Brandon Peters fired a pass short of an open Sean McKeon on fourth-and-3, and the Wolveriens turned the ball over on downs back to the Scarlet Knights.
With 5:28 remaining, it's still a comfortable lead for the Maize and Blue, who lead 35-14.
Michigan used the ground game to bleed some clock and get across midfield. After Ty Isaac left the game due to injury (Kareem Walker is also out with a sprained ankle), Brandon Peters hit Karan Higdon for an eight-yard gain and a first down at the Rutgers 35.
The Wolverines have racked up 327 yards on the ground today.
Higdon strikes again
The Michigan offense got the ball back and may have put the nail in Rutgers' coffin, as Karan Higdon reeled off a 49-yard touchdown run on the second play of the drive to give the Wolverines a 35-14 lead with 14:10 remaining.
Higdon notched a 12-yard run out across midfield on the first play of the possession. The junior tailback now has 156 yards and two scores.
Nordin misses FG attempt
After a timeout, Jim Harbaugh changed his mind about going for it on fourth-and-1, and Quinn Nordin pushed a field goal attempt wide right.
It was Nordin's first miss in his last 11 attempts, though he did miss an extra point last week at Penn State.
With 1 minute remaining in the third quarter, the Wolverines are holding on to thier 28-14 lead.
Peters hit Grant Perry for 15 yards out to the 48, but after a high throw to Tyrone Wheatley Jr., Peters was forced to take a loss after a broken play on second down. On third-and-11, Peters handled some big time pressure from his blind side and found Sean McKeon for a 15-yard gain down to the Rutgers 38. After Kareem Walker was stopped for a short gain on first down, thre freshman running back showed some poise and patience with a 10-yard run for a first down. Karan Higdon couldn't find much running room on the next two plays, setting up a third-and-8 in which Peters hit McKeon for seven yards.
Rutgers strikes back
Gus Edwards ran hard and finished off an 11-play, 75-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown that cuts the Michigan lead to 28-14 with 7:01 remaining in the third quarter.
Edwards ran six times for 19 yards, including a 10-yard reception that got Rutgers down inside the Michigan 5.
There was also a couple of big pass plays for the Scarlet Knights, as Gio Rescigno hit Kareem Walker for a 30-yard pickup on third-and-15 that got Rutgers out to midfield. Edwards was able to put together three consecutive runs of four yards to give the Scarlet Knights a first down at the 38, and on the next play, Hunter Hayek made an outstanding one-handed grab despite being smothered by Tyree Kinnel. With the ball at the 17, Edwards ran for a tough four yards down to the 13. On the next play, Edwards took a screen pass down inside the Michigan 5.
Walker joins Wolverines youth movement
Another redshirt freshman got in on the action today, as Kareem Walker walked into the end zone from five yards out to give Michigan a 28-7 lead with 11:30 remaining in the third quarter.
For those keeping track (me), that's three drives that have resulted in three touchdowns since Brandon Peters relieved John O'Korn.
Peters found Ty Isaac for 10 yards on first down after scrambling out of the pocket. Isaac followed with a seven-yard gain down to the Rutgers 37. That's when Karan Higdon busted loose for a 32-yard run down to the 5 to set up Walker's score.
Defense gets the ball back to Peters
The Michigan defense didn't run into any issues in forcing Rutgers to go three-and-out to start the second half.
Now it's time to get back to the Brandon Peters show, as Michigan fans have to be excited by what they saw in the first half.
With 13:17 remaining in the third quarter, the Wolverines are still leading 21-7.
Peters impresses, Michigan takes 21-7 lead at the half
The Michigan defense forced a three-and-out and got the ball back for its offense with less than two minutes remaining in the first half.
Brandon Peters orchestrated a 49-yard scoring drive and delivered a perfectly thrown ball to Chris Evans for a 20-yard touchdown pass that puts the Wolverines up 21-7 with 23 seconds remaining in the half.
That's where things stand at the break.
The Wolverines took over at the Rutgers 49, and they called two consecutive running plays to Karan Higdon for a total of seven yards. Peters threw for a first down to Zach Gentry at the 30. After an incompletion, Ty Isaac reeled off a 10-yard run down to the 20. On the next play, Peters nearly threw an interception with 29 second remaining, but he rebounded to hit Evans for the score.
Peters was 5-for-7 for 69 yards and a score in his two series. He was throwing the ball on time and hitting in receivers in the numbers, something that Michigan quarterbacks haven't been doing with much regularity this year.
The Wolverines offense piled up 250 yards of offense in the first half, compared to 111 for the Scarlet Knights.
Peters leads touchdown drive in first series
Brandon Peters came into the game and went 3-for-3 for 37 yards while leading a 77-yard touchdown drive capped by a 10-yard Karan Higdon touchdown that puts Michigan up 14-7 2:49 to play in the first half.
Higdon was Peters' safety blanket on this drive. On his first play, he pitched the ball to Higdon, who picked up eight yards on first down. Higdon was able to go for 12 on the next play to give Michigan a first down at its own 43. Peters' first pass was a 15-yard completion to Tyrone Wheatley Jr. Redshirt freshman running back Kareem Walker got his second carry of the day, going for four yards down to the Rutgers 38. Peters then found Henry Poggi for 10 yards and a first down. After a five-yard pickup by Ty Isaac, Peters found true freshman wide receiver Nico Collins for 12 yards down to the 10.
Defense forces punt, Peters warming up
After John O'Korn fumbled another snap and Michigan was forced to punt again, the Wolverines defense allowed Rutgers to get back across midfield with Gio Rescigno hit Josh Hicks for a 28-yard gain. The defense was able to stiffen from there, forcing a Scarlet Knights punt.
Of note: Brandon Peters was seen warming up on the sideline and taking snaps.
Scarlet Knights hit a home run
Rutgers wide receiver Janarion Grant took the direct snap in the backfield and went 65 yards for a touchdown as he torched Michigan's defense.
At the 10:52 mark of the second quarter, it's 7-7.
That was the big spark the Scarlet Knights needed, and it is somewhat surprising the Wolverines defense collapsed on the play and didn't keep contain on the outside.
Michigan gets on the board
Ty Isaac ran six times for 61 yards but it was Khalid Hill who got the handoff from the 1 and cashed in, giving Michigan a 7-0 lead with 12:06 to play in the second quarter.
John O'Korn fumbled a snap that put Michigan way behind the chains at 2nd-and-24, but Isaac's 17-yard gain on 3rd-and-18 pushed Jim Harbaugh into making a decision to go for it from his own 41. Karan Higdon just barely powered his way for a first down.
O'Korn is nothing more than a figurehead in this game. He looks terrible, but Michigan's running game and defense are strong enough to get the job done against the Scarlet Knights.
Wolverines defense stiffens at midfield
The Scarlet Knights were able to muster a first down near midfield, but a Rashan Gary sack on second down forced Rutgers into a third-and-long it wasn't able to convert.
With 3:59 remaining in the first quarter, it's still 0-0.
O'Korn's struggles continue with INT
John O'Korn continues to struggle for Michigan, as he threw an interception on first down at midfield to give the ball back to Rutgers. It was the fifth-year senior's fifth interception this season, compared to just one touchdown.
The Wolverines drive started just like the last, as Karan Higdon had ran twice for 11 yards.
Defense steps up early on
Maurice Hurst dropped Rutgers quarterback Gio Rescigno for an eight-yard loss on first down, and the Scarlet Knights seemed to resign themselves to their fate, punting the ball back to the Wolverines.
With 7:59 remaining in the first quarter, it's still scoreless at The Big House.
Michigan's opening drive stalled as they entered Rutgers territory, and they were forced to punt following a couple of miscues.
The Wolverines opened the drive with a pair of handoffs to Karan Higdon, who gained 11 yards and a first down. An Eddie McDoom sweep netted nine yard, and Ty Isaac got a first down near midfield. After John O'Korn hit McDoom for a quick pass, the wide receiver was dropped for a loss. A penalty for having too many men in the huddle put Michigan behind the chains.
MICHIGAN VS. RUTGERS
When: Saturday, noon
Where: Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor
TV / radio: Big Ten Network / WWJ 950
Records: Michigan 5-2 (2-2 Big Ten), Rutgers 3-4 (2-2)
Line: Michigan by 24