Coming off three consecutive wins over ranked opponents, No. 5 Michigan (9-1, 7-0) took care of business at Rutgers (1-9, 0-7) in a 42-7 road win.
The Wolverines outgained the Scarlet Knights 453 to 252, while they possessed the ball for seven more minutes.
An unexpected start
It wasn’t pretty off the bat, as the Scarlet Knights did the unthinkable in the first quarter when Isaiah Pacheco ran for an 80-yard touchdown. On top of that, the Wolverines lost two of its best defensive backs to injury in top cornerback LaVert Hill and starting safety Josh Metellus. Both potential prospects in the NFL Draft as juniors.
Following the first quarter, the game was tied at 7-7. Whether that was a product of the injuries, a lapse in coverage, or a mix of both, it’s something that’s simply unacceptable against a 1-9 team.
However, it was smooth sailing for the Michigan defense from that point on, shutting out the Scarlet Knights for the rest of the game following the 80-yard touchdown.
Shea Patterson shows out
Patterson has become a deadly threat in the read option game but didn’t run the ball once Saturday in New Jersey.
That’s the smart-and-safe move by Jim Harbaugh and Co. as backup Dylan McCaffrey is out for the season with a broken collarbone.
With his legs being limited, Patterson was able to scatter the ball for 260 yards at a 70-percent completion rate to go along with three passing touchdowns.
Following the contest, Patterson sits at an exceptional ratio of 17 touchdowns to three interceptions on the season.
Injuries leave questions
The aforementioned injuries to Hill and Metellus, along with an injury to defensive end Kwity Paye and the un-dressed defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon, leave questions heading into next week.
All four are starters and two — Hill and Metellus — have been monumental to Michigan’s success. Paye has emerged as a top-notch edge rusher, while Solomon’s missed most of the season due to injury already.
Metellus was seen celebrating on the field — leaping and all — with Ambry Thomas in the fourth quarter of the game. So that might be a sign that he’s all right.
Karan Higdon goes over 1,000, but not 100
Higdon carried the ball 15 times for 42 yards and two touchdowns on Saturday.
That ended his streak of seven consecutive games with over 100 yards rushing, while eclipsing him over 1,000 yards on the season.
Michigan finished with 193 rushing yards; oddly enough, the same amount as Rutgers.
Key stats not already listed
- Chris Evans had 75 yards on six carries, including a 61-yard touchdown
- Nico Collins brought in two touchdowns
- Michigan had zero sacks