Rutgers takes on Michigan in the Big House on Saturday and both teams come in looking to get rebound from disappointing losses a week ago. The Scarlet Knights are close to four touchdown underdogs, but you wouldn’t know it from the way Michigan fans are feeling about their program heading into this weekend’s game. However, RU fans are equally down, but for different reasons. Which fan base will be feeling better? Our contributors give their take on how we think this game will go.
Adam Ross: We could talk about how Rutgers flashed a little bit of life against BC, or how Michigan showed cracks in the armor against Wisconsin and Army. But lets be honest, in the Ash era, Michigan has outscored the Knights 155-21 and there is no indication that should slow down any time soon. Especially on the road in the Big House after Michigan needs to respond. Michigan 56, Rutgers 7.
Dave White: Ah yes, Michigan. Jim Harbaugh’s team has been struggling this season, which I’m sure you all know more than I do (though I think Rutgers fans would love for “struggling” to mean they are two and one). The team is frustrated and ready to beat up on someone, I’m sure. Oh... and look who’s coming! Rutgers! Limping in at 1-2 and all but defeated, I’m not sure what Rutgers fans have to look forward to at this point. Oh, wait! I know. Basketball! Michigan 42 Rutgers November 7th.
David Anderson: For the second straight week, Rutgers faces a perennial bowl team coming of their wake-up call. Rutgers should hit at least two explosive plays, my guess being one in the run game and one in the pass game. After that, Michigan’s pass defense is infinitely better than Boston College’s. Though I think we are beyond full passing attack impotence, Art Sitkowski will need to learn a lot more after watching the tape after this contest. Jim Harbaugh doesn’t hold back and will need a big win as a confidence builder for his team, whereas other squads (like Iowa) kept the score down to avoid making their players TOO confident. Lucky for RU, Michigan doesn’t have the electric passing attack to put up too many points. The Vegas spread is exactly where I’d set it. Michigan 38, Rutgers 10.
Nick Kosko: Whether Michigan will have some extra firepower after the embarrassing loss to Wisconsin or not is a moot point. After last week’s very disappointing loss to Boston College, Rutgers faces the uphill battle of not getting manhandled in The Big House. When I broadcasted this game as a student two seasons ago, Rutgers put up a modest effort in a 35-14 loss and if it weren’t for a QB change for the Wolverines, we might be reminiscing about an upset. That seems like a lifetime ago. I’m ready for the Rutgers-Michigan Basketball and Wrestling double-header at MSG. Michigan 42, Rutgers 7
Patrick Mella: Forgetting about the score for a moment (we’ll get back to that). Fans watching this game should instead be asking questions such as: Can Rutgers put up more first downs than penalties? Will they fold up by the second quarter? Can they put up any points on their opening drive? Maybe elect to not go on defense to start the game if they happen to win the coin toss? Will Art build on his progress from last game? Can Rutgers run on a vulnerable Michigan defense? It’s no secret that the ship is sinking. It’s just a matter of whether or not they’re going to go down swinging or fade into the void. It’s tough being a Rutgers fan and games like these (and probably the rest going forward) test our loyalty. Be proud to say you were around for the difficult times like these. Keep an open mind on Saturday, temper expectations and know you’re hardcore for hanging in there. Back to the score. Michigan 56, Rutgers 9
Danny Burrick: Will this be Chris Ash’s last trip to the Big House? Rutgers will have to show major signs of toughness if they want to have any chance to be able to compete with Michigan. Michigan should be fired up after a very embarrassing loss at Wisconsin last week. As I have said in previous predictions the game will begin to start to get out of hand in the second half when Michigan wears down Rutgers on both sides of the ball. Michigan 35, Rutgers 6
Aaron Breitman: Rutgers has been plagued by slow starts, allowing its opponents to score on the first drive in the last ten games. On the flip side, they rarely score on its first drive, going 0 for 3 this season so far. I’m certainly interested to see how much of a fight they can put up right out of the gate, which will be a big factor in the final score. I think this game will be predictable for Rutgers fans, with the game being relatively close until the defense starts to wear down and the talent divide on the field becomes obvious. Michigan 31 Rutgers 7
Fred Gaudios: Michigan looked really, really bad last week against Wisconsin (who is admittedly really, really good). The common trope is that Michigan will let loose with a righteous fury against Rutgers, but I have a sneaky suspicion we overperform this week, at least against the point spread (which is currently giving Michigan about 28 points against us). Last year, we were able to get lucky with one long, running touchdown against them. This year, I’ll say we score THREE touchdowns. Will we win? Heck no. Will Michigan score pretty much at will, especially in the second half? Yup. But I think the final score will look deceptively close. Michigan 41, Rutgers 21
Are we too pessimistic or being realistic? What do you think will happen in this matchup? Sound off in the comment section?