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OTB Staff Roundtable Week 4 Predictions: Rutgers at Michigan

The Scarlet Knights will travel to Michigan on Saturday afternoon.

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at Rutgers Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers Football is 3-0 and will face one of its toughest tests of the season on Saturday against No. 2 Michigan. Do the Scarlet Knights have a chance on Saturday?

Below, check out how the staff at OTB sees the game playing out in Ann Arbor.

Greg Patuto: Rutgers fans, sit back and enjoy the game on Saturday. There is no pressure. The team is not expected to win this game. Rutgers needed to get to 3-0 and it did. Six wins is a realistic possibility now but this is not one of them.

The reason this game is enjoyable is because of the fact that the team is not expected to win, or even compete by some. With this defense and coaching staff, the Scarlet Knights could muck it up early. Michigan has not looked like itself and of course, that might change with Jim Harbaugh returning. The offense needs to open up a bit while the defense attempts to shutdown one of the best rushing attacks in the nation. If Rutgers can put together a couple drives, take care of the football, and limit penalties, fans should feel good about the team moving forward. Michigan 38, Rutgers 16

Jack Schocket: Rutgers is likely in for a tough day on Saturday, and there’s really no way around it. Michigan is an incredible team (ranked No. 2), getting back a great coach in Jim Harbaugh, with an elite defense. I’m not saying Rutgers can’t when, but chances are slim. However, the Scarlet Knights have played Michigan solid over the past few seasons, almost winning in overtime three seasons ago with Noah Vedral. If Rutgers is going to pull what’s possibly the biggest upset of the year, they’re going to need to do a few things. Firstly, they can’t turn the ball over, if they give Michigan any help, they’ll get run out of the Big House. Secondly, they need to run the ball effectively. The Wolverines have a great run defense, but Kyle Monongai is off to a great start, and Sam Brown proved himself a solid runner last season. Feed them the ball. Lastly, the defense needs to make JJ McCarthy beat them. If they can completely shut down the run, that makes McCarthy vulnerable to a takeaway by the Rutgers secondary, and will put Michigan in a tough spot. I expect Rutgers to hang around for a half, but ultimately Michigan will show why they’re the second-best team in the country and will pull away. Michigan 31, Rutgers 17

Matt Forno: Michigan gets Jim Harbaugh back on the sideline for the first time this season. Perhaps his absence was the reason they didn’t look like the No. 2 team in the country in their first three games against inferior opponents. Regardless, the Wolverines are still an elite, blue chip program that can very well find themselves in the CFP for the third straight year. I encourage fans to watch the highlights of UM’s first three games. JJ McCarthy played strong in their first two matchups, but struggled against Bowling Green throwing three bad interceptions. He’s a guy that likes to thread the needle on some throws, which is where I think the Rutgers defense can make some momentum shifting plays. They have the ability to stop the run, so forcing UM to become one dimensional is very possible. However, the the same can be said about the Rutgers offense. On Saturday, we find out how much Gavin has improved. Fans should sit back, relax, and enjoy this one. I think it’s going to be a very good game. If Rutgers doesn’t turnover the ball, something CRAZY could happen in Ann Arbor this weekend. I’m delusional and full of optimism, but I believe Greg Schiano came back to the banks for games like this. The team has the opportunity to be the biggest story in college football this season (sorry Deion)! Rutgers 23, Michigan 21

John Dean: Michigan is probably the best team Rutgers will go up against this year. They have a dominant defensive line, and linebackers to match. This will be the ultimate test of the improvement of the Rutgers running game. On offense Michigan has one of the best offensive lines in the country and two outstanding running backs. However their ground game has not been as elite as expected out of the gate. I think this game will come down to who is able to control the lines of scrimmage and run the ball most effectively. As much as I want to see Kyle Monangai go off and win Offensive player of the week again, I just don't see it. Look for Rutgers to keep it close until the Third quarter, and then the depth of the Wolverines will be too much for the Scarlet Knights. Michigan 35, Rutgers 14

Francis Hearne: Games like this are why Rutgers joined the Big Ten. On the road at the Big House against the No. 2 team in the land. Michigan is more talented. Michigan has the history. Michigan gets the superior recruiting classes. Michigan will be fired up for the return of Jim Harbaugh after that touching tribute in Week 1 (and by touching I mean extremely weird, it was a self imposed suspension). Everything points to a win for the Wolverines. So I’m taking the Rutgers Scarlet Knights! Jai Patel, the “X-Factor,” at the buzzer. Rutgers 24, Michigan 21