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Recap: Michigan avoids second-half collapse to take down Rutgers, 20-13

Nolan Bianchi
The Detroit News

It wasn't pretty, but a win is a win.

Michigan survived a scare from Rutgers at home on Saturday to win its Big Ten opener after picking up just one first down in the entire second half. 

The Wolverines (4-0, 1-0 B10) jumped out to a 20-3 lead at half before Rutgers (3-1, 0-1) clawed back in the second half after shutting down the Michigan rushing attack and forcing bad throws from Cade McNamara.

A strip-sack in the final minutes, though, kept Rutgers from marching down the field and making Michigan's nightmare a reality.

Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara throws a pass while offensive lineman Andrew Stueber protects during the second quarter.

Final leaders


UM - Cade McNamara: 9/16, 163 yds.

RU - Noah Vedral: 18/31, 156 yds., TD


UM - Blake Corum: 21 atts., 68 yds.

RU - Isaih Pacheco: 20 atts., 107 yds.


UM - Cornelius Johnson: 2 recs., 33 yds.

RU - Aron Cruickshank: 4 recs., 32 yds.

Second half

Michigan ices game after fumble recovery

Michigan takes over at its own 38, leading by 7, with 5:24 to go. The Wolverines have gone three-and-out on their last four possessions and do not have a first down this half.

Blake Corum runs for 9 yards on first down, 6 on second down, and that's the first time that Michigan has moved the chains this half.

Corum gets it on two straight plays, drawing a face mask on the second one. It should have been third-and-8, but it'll be first-and-10 at the Rutgers 30 instead.

Nevertheless, Michigan's running attack is not enough to ice the game. Corum rushes for 3, then 0, and on third down, McNamara is dropped for a 2-yard loss on a read option.

Then Jake Moody misses a 47-yard field goal. Everybody buckle up!

Michigan 20, Rutgers 13 (1:49 4th)

Rutgers takes over at the 29. Noah Vedral misses the first-down throw and is then stripped by David Ojabo. Junior Colson returns it all the way to the Rutgers 20, but it's called back for unsportsmanlike conduct. Michigan will take over at the Rutgers 35.

They'll ice the game in victory formation.

FINAL: Michigan 20, Rutgers 13 

Michigan gets fourth-down stop in own territory

Rutgers takes over at the 34, trailing 20-10, with 8:03 left in the game.

Isaih Pacheco rushes for 6, then Noah Vedral rushes for 13 to the Michigan 47.

Pacheco for 4, then Bo Melton hauls in a 4-yard pass. Kyle Monangai loses a yard on third down, and only gains a yard on fourth down. It'll be turnover on downs.

Michigan 20, Rutgers 13 (5:24 4th)

Michigan goes three-and-out for fourth straight drive

After the missed field goal, Michigan takes over at its own 20.

Hassan Haskins rushes for a yard on first down. Blake Corum rushes for 4 yards on second down. Cade McNamara misses his receiver, by a lot, on third down.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

Michigan 20, Rutgers 13 (8:03 4th)

Rutgers misses critical field goal in fourth quarter

Rutgers takes over at its own 30, down 20-13, with 13:10 left in the game.

Isaih Pacheco rushes for 26 yards on the first play of the drive, and Rutgers is to the Michigan 44.

Noah Vedral rushes for 9, then hands to Pacheco for gains of 5 and 19 to the Michigan 11.

Aaron Young rushes for 4 yards, but Rutgers takes a false start on the next play to bring up second-and-11 at the 12. Pacheco rushes for 2 yards, and it's third-and-10.

Timeout #2 Rutgers (9:44 2nd)

Vedral misses his receiver on third down and Valentino Ambrosio misses a 29-yard field goal attempt. What a turn of events for the Wolverines, who will take over at their own 20.

Michigan 20, Rutgers 13 (9:38 4th)

Michigan goes three-and-out for third straight drive

Cade McNamara misses his receivers on first and second down, then scrambles for 7. Michigan will punt after a third consecutive three-and-out.

Brad Robbins' punt is fair caught at the 30.

Michigan 20, Rutgers 13 (13:10 4th)

Rutgers cuts deficit to 7 to open fourth quarter

Rutgers takes over at its own 35, trailing 20-10, with 3:48 to go in the third quarter.

Noah Vedral finds Bo Melton for a 7-yard gain on first down, then hands to Isaih Pacheco for a 4-yard gain on second down.

Vedral rushes for 3 yards before he goes back to Melton for a 6-yard completion that sets up third-and-1: Vedral keeps and gets 5 to keep the chains moving.

Vedral throws on the next play, and it's caught by Shameen Jones for a gain of 16 to the Michigan 24. 

Bo Melton catches an 8-yard pass and Kyle Monangai gets to the Michigan 11 with a 5-yard run on second down to end the third quarter.

END 3RD: Michigan 20, Rutgers 10 

Noah Vedral completes a 4-yard pass, then misses on second down. It's third-and-6.

Timeout #1 Rutgers (14:19 4th)

Vedral misses again on third down, and Rutgers will go for a field goal.

Michigan 20, Rutgers 13 (14:09 4th)

Michigan offense continues to sputter as Rutgers gets ball back

After the Rutgers touchdown, Michigan takes over at its own 34. The Wolverines lead, 20-10, with 6:24 to go in the third.

Cade McNamara's first-down throw is caught by Daylen Baldwin, a gain of 7. Blake Corum rushes for 2 yards on second down to bring up third-and-1: Oh, hey, look! A run up the middle! It's for no gain. Rutgers has had the run game figured out for almost two quarters, and Michigan better get things going in a hurry because it's going nowhere on offense right now.

Brad Robbins' punt goes out of bounds at the Rutgers 35.

Michigan 20, Rutgers 10 (3:48 3rd)

Rutgers cuts deficit to 10 in third quarter

Rutgers takes over at its own 9, trailing 20-3, early in the second quarter.

Isaih Pacheco runs for 1, 7 then 16 to the Rutgers 33 for a new set of downs.

Noah Vedral is sacked for a loss of 2, but Rutgers gets third-and-1 with an 11-yard completion to Kyle Monangai. Johnny Langan moves the sticks with a 3-yard run.

Vedral gets 8 on the first-down throw, and after a 1-yard run by Pacheco, Monangai gets it again for a gain of 3 to keep the drive alive. It's first-and-10 at the Michigan 43.

Rutgers moves the ball quickly with a 10-yard completion and roughing-the-passer penalty, which sets up a 14-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Young.

Michigan 20, Rutgers 10 (6:30 3rd)

Michigan goes 3-and-out on first drive of third quarter

Michigan takes over at the Rutgers 39. 

Hassan Haskins rushes for 3 yards on first down, but it'll be second-and-12 after a false start. Corum rushes for 2 yards, and Michigan will punt.

Brad Robbins' punt is fielded with a fair catch at the 9.

Michigan 20, Rutgers 3 (12:01 3rd)

Rutgers opens second half with dismal offensive play

After a dismal showing to close the second quarter, Rutgers opens the third quarter with a delay of game.

Noah Vedral rushes for no gain, then throws two incompletions.

Adam Korsak's punt is fielded by A.J. Henning at the Michigan 32 and returned to the Rutgers 39, a 29-yard return.

Michigan 20, Rutgers 3 (13:51 3rd)

First half

First-half leaders


UM - Cade McNamara: 8/11, 156 yds.

RU - Noah Vedral: 9/16, 77 yds.


UM - Blake Corum: 12 atts., 40 yds.

RU - Isaih Pacheco: 9 atts., 17 yds.


UM - Cornelius Johnson: 2 recs., 33 yds.

RU - Aron Cruickshank: 4 recs., 32 yds.

Michigan takes advantage of Rutgers miscue, leads 20-3 at half

Rutgers takes over at the 25, trailing 17-3, with 4:03 left in the half.

After a 1-yard run on first down, Johnny Langan hauls in a 7-yard reception. An illegal formation penalty on Rutgers on third down makes it third-and-7 at the 28.

Aron Cruickshank comes down with a 12-yard reception on the replayed third down.

Vedral then avoids pressure and throws complete to Aaron Young for a gain of 16 to the Michigan 44, and Rutgers is in business.

Cruickshank loses 3 yards on a first-down reception, which Vedral gets back with a 3-yard, second-down run. After letting the clock run considerably, Rutgers calls a timeout. Terrible clock management by Greg Schiano.

Timeout #1 Rutgers (0:32 2nd)

Vedral is hit by Daxton Hill as he throws and his pass is almost intercepted, but falls incomplete. 

Timeout #2 Rutgers (0:26 2nd)

Rutgers goes for it on fourth down and comes up empty again.

Michigan 17, Rutgers 3 (0:22 2nd)

Michigan takes over at its own 44, and Cade McNamara fires over the middle complete to Mike Sainristil, who gets all the way to the Rutgers 5-yard-line. A roughing-the-passer call makes it half the distance to the goal, so first-and-goal at the 2.

The late hit is now being reviewed for targeting, and after a few minutes, Julius Turner is ejected.

Michigan tries to run it on first-and-goal; Hassan Haskins is stopped for no gain.

Timeout #2 Michigan (0:09 2nd)

McNamara's second-down throw isn't a good one, and it falls incomplete.

Timeout #3 Michigan (0:05 2nd)

Michigan will take the points to end the half, and Jake Moody puts it home from 20 yards out.

Michigan 20, Rutgers  (0:02 2nd)

Rutgers throws an incomplete pass before half.

END 2ND: Michigan 20, Rutgers 3

Michigan takes over at 40, stumbles, adds field goal

Michigan takes over at its own 40 after the punt.

Cade McNamara's pass to Cornelius Johnson goes for 23 yards to the Rutgers 17. He's averaging 15 yards per completion thus far. 

Blake Corum rushes for 3, then gets stopped for 0, and McNamara's third-down throw to Mike Sainristil in the end zone is covered perfectly and broken up.

Jake Moody's 32-yard field goal attempt is good.

Michigan 17, Rutgers 3 (4:03 2nd)

Rutgers can't escape own goal line, punts

Rutgers takes over at its own 3 after the punt by Brad Robbins.

After a first-down incompletion, Isaih Pacheco is stopped for a loss of 1.

Timeout #1 Michigan (7:02 2nd)

Pacheco gives Rutgers some breathing room with a 5-yard run.

Adam Korsak's punt goes just 33 yards before heading out of bounds at the Michigan 40.

Michigan 14, Rutgers 3 (6:11 2nd)

Michigan punts for first time in game

Michigan takes over at its own 32 after the turnover on downs.

Blake Corum rushes for 3, then catches an 8-yard pass to move the chains.

Cade McNamara goes back to Corum on a pass, picking up 3, then hands off to Corum again for a gain of 1. It's third-and-6: McNamara's pass is caught for a loss of 1.

Brad Robbins drops the most beautiful punt one will ever see, as it bounces at the goal line, goes sideways, and rolls out of bounds at the 3.

Michigan 14, Rutgers 3 (7:56 2nd)

Michigan forces turnover on downs in own territory

Rutgers takes over at its own 25. 

Josh Ross is flagged for unnecessary roughness on the first-down run that goes for 6, and Rutgers will have it first-and-10 at the 46.

A 7-yard completion and run for no gain brings up third-and-2, which Rutgers converts with a 6-yard run up the gut by Pacheco. 

Vedral throws a 5-yard pass, has his second-down throw broken up, and then hands off to Kyle Monangai for a 4-yard run that'll bring up fourth-and-1.

Rutgers tries to get sneaky with its fourth-down play, and Pacheco is stuffed for no gain by the Michigan defense on fourth-and-1.

Turnover on downs.

Michigan 14, Rutgers 3 (11:21 2nd)

Michigan takes 14-3 lead in second quarter

Michigan takes over at its 28-yard-line, leading 7-3 with 1:08 to go in the first quarter.

Cade McNamara completes a 24-yard pass to Erick All to the 48 of Rutgers. 

Blake Corum rushes for 3 yards on first down, and that'll bring the first quarter to a close.

END 1ST: Michigan 7, Rutgers 3

Michigan comes up slinging on the first play of the quarter, as McNamara zips it to Roman Wilson over the middle; Wilson's got speed, and he takes it all the way down to the Rutgers 7 before being taken down by a horsecollar tackle, which'll make it first-and-goal at the 3. Lot of things happening here.

Hassan Haskins goes up the middle for a 3-yard touchdown run on the next play.

Michigan 14, Rutgers 3 (14:40 2nd)

Rutgers answers with field goal 

Rutgers takes over at its own 25, trailing 7-0.

Noah Vedral throws complete but for a loss of 1 on first down, but after a short run on second down, Vedral hits Aron Cruickshank down the sideline for a gain of 24. It's first-and-10 at the 50.

Bo Melton rushes for 9 yards on first down and Isaih Pacheco gets 2 yards to mvoe the chains again, first-and-10 at the Michigan 39.

Vedral throws incomplete, then dumps off to Pacheco for 9 yards. Pacheco tries to find the left-side edge on third down but is tracked down by Brad Hawkins for a 2-yard loss. Johnny Langan moves the chains with a 3-yard run.

Vedral gets 4, then misses incomplete, then rushes for 3. On fourth-and-3, Rutgers doesn't test its luck twice: Valentino Ambrosio puts home the 40.

Michigan 7, Rutgers 3 (1:08 1st)

Michigan running back Hassan Haskins scores a touchdown during the first quarter.

14-play opening drive puts Michigan up 7-0

Michigan gets the ball first, and Blake Corum takes the Wolverines out to the 26 with a return.

Hassan Haskins gets the game's first carry, pushing out to the 33 for a gain of 7. He gets it again on the next play, and it's for a gain of 5. 

Haskins then goes for 11, then 7. It's second-and-3: Corum rushes for 2, then gets the additional yard needed on third-and-1.

Haskins carries for 2 yards on first down. Cade McNamara attempts his first pass of the day, and it's broken up. Corum rushes for 13 yards on third-and-8, giving the Wolverines a first down at the Rutgers 26. 

Corum goes for a 2-yard carry on the next play as McNamara hits Cornelius Johnson on a quick slant on second down, a 10-yard completion to the Rutgers 14.

Corum's next three carries give the Wolverines a first down at the 2.

Haskins then makes it second-and-goal from the 1. McNamara can't sneak it in, but Haskins punches it in on third down. Touchdown, Michigan.

Michigan 7, Rutgers 0 (7:16 1st)


Michigan is steamrolling into Big Ten play.

No. 19 Michigan (3-0) brings the nation's top ground game and third-best scoring offense into Saturday's conference opener against Rutgers, which kicks off at 3:30 p.m. at Michigan Stadium.

Michigan football opens its Big Ten schedule Saturday at home against Rutgers.

The Wolverines are averaging 350.3 yards per game on the ground so far, led by an offensive line looking to "smash" foes and Blake Corum, whose 135.7 yards per game ranks third in the country.

Michigan is averaging 47 points per game.

Rutgers also brings a 3-0 record into Saturday's showdown, having outscored its first three opponents — Temple, Syracuse and Delaware — by a combined 123-34. 

More: Sizing up the Big Ten as conference play heats up: Who's for real, who's in trouble?

More: Detroit News scouting report: Michigan football vs. Rutgers

More: Detroit News predictions: Michigan football vs. Rutgers

Rutgers at No. 19 Michigan

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. Saturday Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor

TV/radio: ABC/950

Records: Both teams 3-0

Line: Michigan by 21

Series: Michigan leads 6-1 (last meeting, Michigan 48-42, Nov. 21, 2020)

Outlook: Michigan has won six straight in the series.