Michigan: Five things we learned

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Michigan linebacker Ben Gedeon tackled Rutgers wide receiver Jawuan Harris for a loss of yards in the second quarter.

Jim Harbaugh thinks Jabrill Peppers is a Heisman Trophy winner: Harbaugh said he has never coached a more versatile player, and said if there’s a better player in the country right now he doesn’t “know who it is.” There’s so much more, he said, that Peppers can do. He scored two touchdowns taking a direct snap at Rutgers and had a punt return for a TD called back. Through six games, Peppers has 442 all-purpose yards and a punt return TD in addition to his work on defense.

Defensive players in the spring started talking about being the best in the country: After a 78-0 annihilation of Rutgers, Michigan is ranked No. 1 nationally in total defense (212.8), scoring defense and passing yards allowed. “It can’t just stop with Rutgers,” said Taco Charlton, who had two sacks Saturday. “We have to improve this bye week, and once we go on to Illinois (Oct. 22) we keep on improving and show the country what we’re really made of.”

Fullback Khalid Hill is proving that more does not always mean more: Hill has 13 carries this season for 21 yards … AND seven rushing touchdowns. He added two more against Rutgers and also caught a pass for a touchdown.

The players like the timing of this bye coming up this week: Harbaugh calls it an “improvement” week. The Wolverines won’t play again until they face Illinois on Oct. 22. They said having a few days at the mid-point of the season will give them the perfect opportunity to heal.

Harbaugh doesn’t tend to sugarcoat, and he doesn’t hesitate to praise: Michigan gashed Rutgers’ horrible rush defense for 481 rushing yards and had 600 total yards in the blowout. “Our players were better,” Harbaugh said. “Not to take anything away from their players. They’ve got a lot of good players, but we had more of them tonight and one great player (Peppers). Great, great player.”