Angelique S. Chengelis, Matt Charboneau, John Niyo and Bob Wojnowski of The Detroit News offer their predictions on the outcome of Saturday’s Michigan vs. Rutgers game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor (noon, BTN/950).
►Angelique S. Chengelis: That was by every account a horrendous loss for Michigan last Saturday at Wisconsin and lots of arrows have been flung at Jim Harbaugh, and the coordinators Josh Gattis and Don Brown. And now the Michigan players say they will put all their anger and aggression into this next game. And be certain of this: The Wolverines are fortunate to have Rutgers coming to town. After all, since Brady Hoke's Michigan team in 2014 lost at Rutgers, 26-24, Michigan has gone 4-0 and outscored the Scarlet Knights 204-37. Harbaugh said after the loss at Wisconsin this is a gut check. The Michigan players have said they've had fired-up practices this week, and Gattis said if this offense eliminates fumbles and turnovers, it will start humming. If you can't get that going against Rutgers, then prepare for a long season. Michigan 45, Rutgers 10
►Matt Charboneau: Not much is going right these days for the Wolverines, which means it’s the perfect time for the Scarlet Knights to come to town. Rutgers has firmly entrenched itself as the 14th-best team in the 14-team Big Ten and should provide the perfect opportunity for the Wolverines to try and iron out some of their offensive struggles before the schedule toughens up again over the next few weeks. Michigan 34, Rutgers 6
►John Niyo: A 21-point Rutgers loss in Ann Arbor two years ago is as close as this series has been since Jim Harbaugh arrived. And even in the Wolverines' fragile state, I can't imagine this one ends any differently. Michigan should be able to get a run game going early, then end the suspense with some big plays downfield in the passing game. Michigan 38, Rutgers 10
►Bob Wojnowski: The Wolverines are staggered and can’t take any opponent lightly, not even Rutgers. This should be a chance for Michigan’s offense to find some rhythm, especially on the ground if Zach Charbonnet is healthy. Shea Patterson hasn’t looked comfortable and that’s the concern, even more than the defense that got shredded by Wisconsin. The Wolverines need to show anger and effort, because it gets tougher from here. Michigan 34, Rutgers 10