Michigan bounces back with blowout of Rutgers
Written by Matt Pargoff   

Coming off a week of complaints and criticisms from fans and media alike over their performance at Wisconsin, the Wolverines needed an opponent that would give them a chance to iron out their flaws and set things right. That’s what they got with a home game against Rutgers, dominating the Scarlet Knights in a 52-0 victory.

“When you’re down and your back’s against the wall, you’ve got to come out and fight,” said Jim Harbaugh. “You’ve got to sustain. You’ve got to work harder. You’ve got to work smarter. You’ve got to be tougher, mentally and physically.

“That’s the only way to do it in our opinion, and they really set themselves to doing that. So that’s one week, and now you go about doing it another week.”

Michigan got a fast start, scoring touchdowns on its first two possessions, and going without a turnover on the initial drive for the first time this season. Trailing by 14, Rutgers nearly answered on a 70-yard drive, relying heavily on short crossing routes to move down the field, but the Aidan Hutchinson stepped up to get a stop on a fourth down quarterback scramble and end the threat.

That was the only time Rutgers made it onto Michigan’s side of the field the entire game.

The Wolverines scored on eight on 10 possessions, turning it over once inside the five on a short thrown jump ball interception. Michigan outgained Rutgers 476-152 in total yardage, with U-M offensive coordinator taking a different approach, coaching from the sideline instead of the press box. The move drew comparisons from quarterback Shea Patterson to being in practice, get direct feedback in the moment from his coach.

“We’ve seen a lot of good offensive play in practice,” Harbaugh noted. “You see that in practice and you want to see it in games. We have seen it in games at times, and at times not. I would agree with Shea that it felt more like that, because that’s more the way it runs in practice.

“I thought it was also really good for substitutions. We’ve been having some substitution errors in the first three games.”

Patterson led the way, completing 17-of-23 passes for 276 yards, one touchdown pass and three scores on the ground. Backup Joe Milton got in on the action in the second half as well, rushing for a touchdown and passing for one.

Ronnie Bell pulled in six receptions for 83 yards, while Christian Turner carried the banner for the rushing attack, going for 48 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. Defensively, Kwity Paye made six tackles, including 3.5 for a loss.

The Wolverines will return to action next week with what is expected to be a tougher challenge, playing host to Iowa (4-0) at noon eastern on Fox.


 
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