By Aidan Champion
The No. 19 Michigan Wolverines are one of the hottest teams in the Big Ten East. Coach Jim Harbaugh and company will be playing their fourth-straight game in the Big House, where they have yet to lose this season.
The Wolverines have soundly defeated all three of their opponents so far, with no intention of slowing down. This weekend, Michigan will face a 3-0 Rutgers team that also has not really been matched with a challenge until this point.
The Maize and Blue come off a dominant 63-10 win over Northern Illinois in a contest that was never close. The Wolverine defense showed up yet again, holding former Michigan State quarterback Rocky Lombardi to just 46 passing yards.
Michigan’s Cade McNamara showed out again last Saturday, throwing for 191 yards and a touchdown in just eight completions. Meanwhile, the ground game was just as dominant, as running back Blake Corum ran for 125 yards and three touchdowns.
Michigan ultimately recorded almost 400 more total yards than the Huskies.
Rutgers’ offense was also seemingly unstoppable last Saturday in its win over Delaware. Scarlet Knights QB Noah Vedral was nearly perfect in his outing, putting up 323 passing yards and two touchdowns, while only throwing four incompletions of 25 attempts.
Vedral’s No. 1 receiver was senior wide receiver Bo Melton, who had 121 receiving yards on just five receptions. He also scored a TD.
Like Michigan, the opponent’s passing posed no threat to the Scarlet Knights, as Rutgers held the Fightin’ Blue Hens to just 98 passing yards.
Rutgers’ is 15th in the nation in passing yards allowed with 145.7 per game. It is also just two spots ahead of the Wolverines in the nation’s top rushing defenses.
With all considered, it is difficult to gauge where each of these teams really stand, as neither one has faced a worthy opponent. What happens in this game will tell a lot about each program, especially since it is the first in-conference matchup for each of them.
Most would agree that the Wolverines should be favored in every department of this contest, but then again, no Big Ten dual should ever be taken lightly.
Though Michigan has an opportunity to give itself a cushion in the top tier level of the Big Ten East a third of the way through the season, it still has yet to compete on the road.
Regardless, a win on Saturday will still answer a lot of questions in terms of how this Wolverine team stacks up against conference opponents. Though Rutgers resume doesn’t exactly stand out, it still has a resilient defense and a very efficient threat at the QB position.
Michigan and the Scarlet Knights are the last remaining Big Ten East teams to play an in-conference contest. A victory for the Wolverines will serve as a significant statement as they step into Big Ten play.
The matchup kicks off at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday and can be watched on ABC.
Written by: Aidan Champion
Aidan is an MSU Journalism Student and Spartan Football writer for: impact89fm.org
Photo courtesy of mlive.com