Michigan vs. Rutgers preview: Upset 'not going to happen'
Angelique S. Chengelis of The Detroit News breaks down Saturday's Michigan-Rutgers game at High Point Solutions Stadium (7 p.m. ESPN2/WWJ).
Scarlet Knights to watch
Chris Laviano, QB: He has started the last 16 games for Rutgers and is 62-for-125 for 680 yards, five TDs and two INTs this season. Laviano, however, had a rough go against Ohio State — 3-for-12 for 33 yards. Rutgers is 123rd nationally in pass offense (140.2 yards).
Jawuan Harris, WR: He is averaging 17.6 yards per catch and has led the team in receiving yards three of five games. Harris had a 75-yard touchdown catch against New Mexico, the longest by a Scarlet Knights receiver since Andrew Turzilli had an 80-yard touchdown reception against Michigan in 2014.
Kiy Hester, FS: A 6-foot, 203-pound junior, he leads the team with 36 tackles (22 against the run, 13 against the pass, one on kickoff), 14th in the Big Ten, and has five tackles for loss and three pass breakups. Against Ohio State last week he had 10 tackles including one for loss.
Not this time: Michigan players have been hesitant to say they remember their last visit to Rutgers two years ago and seeing fans storm the field after the Scarlet Knights’ first Big Ten victory. OL Kyle Kalis assured that was a one-time event. “That’s not going to happen again,” he said.
Hard to replace: The loss of senior WR Janarion Grant (leg) hurts the Rutgers offense and special teams. Grant is fourth in Rutgers history with 4,251 all-purpose yards and first with 2,606 kickoff return yards.
First for everything: It’s October — and Michigan hits the road for the first time. The Wolverines opened with five straight home games.
Getting revved up: There will be a “Stripe the Birthplace” at High Point Solutions Stadium — fans seated in odd numbered sections are asked to wear black and fans seated in even sections scarlet. Rutgers students are asked to wear black.
Hunting: The theme of the Rutgers program is “The Hunt.” First-year Rutgers coach Chris Ash wants his players to know they’re chasing every team in the Big Ten, so to chase, they must hunt every day in the weight room or practice.
Facts and figures
■ Michigan is the third ranked opponent Rutgers has faced — after then-No. 14 Washington and No. 2 Ohio State. Michigan is No. 4. Rutgers is the only team in the nation to have faced three teams in the current top five (Washington is now up to No. 5.)
■ This is the third meeting between Michigan and Rutgers — the Scarlet Knights won 26-24 in 2014 and the Wolverines responded with a 49-16 win last year.
■ The Rutgers football program has played 1,318 games, the most in major college football. It is in its 148th year and 147th season of action.
■ Michigan’s defense is ranked in the top five in the Big Ten in every major category and No. 1 in four — sacks, tackles for loss, passing and third-down percentage.
■ Khalid Hill, who moved from tight end to fullback during spring practice, leads Michigan with five rushing TDs.