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Michigan 20 Rutgers 13 – Game 4 Recap

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GAME 4 PROJECTION vs. RESULTS

Final Score: 20-13, Michigan by 7 over Rutgers
SP+ Projection: Michigan by 21.2 (-14.2)
CD Projection: Michigan by 29 (-22)

FIVE FACTORS

GAME 4 RECAP vs. Rutgers

For the fan base, this game was a teeth-clenched, white-knuckled grinder. The offense did not look sharp on the ground, or through the air. The defense gave up a lot of yardage, and even the kicker and punter seemed off.

But, for the team and for the coaches, this game should be extremely valuable. There is now ample film to analyze and strengthen the team’s weaknesses during this week of practice. The game planning didn’t start especially bad, but there are also major questions about getting out-maneuvered during the half time adjustment period.

Offensively, the linemen up front have to digest this game to understand how Rutgers was able muck up the middle. Michigan’s 17% success rate in the 3rd quarter was followed by an abysmal 15% success rate in the 4th. Blake Corum wasn’t able to get loose in this game, but finished as the leading rusher with 68 yards on 21 carries (3.2 ypc). Cade McNamara was 9 of 16 passing for 163 yards, but seemed a bit off target again. Before the half, McNamara missed an open receiver in the end zone on 2nd down, and Michigan settled for a short field goal. In retrospect, that may have been a pivotal moment.

On defense, the Wolverines were worn down more than we would have predicted by the Rutgers ground game. The Scarlet Knights rolled up 196 yards rushing (4.7 ypc). Three young linebackers should find this film invaluable. Nikhai Hill-Green, Junior Colson and Kalel Mullings answered the call to duty when an injury kept senior caption Josh Ross sidelined. Rutgers had a specific scheme to slow down Aidan Hutchinson, and challenged the rest of the Wolverines to step up. In the biggest moment of the game, David Ojabo was able to answer the bell, stripping QB Noah Vedral, and Colson recovered the fumble to seal the victory.

I don’t know how valuable film study will be for the two specialists, but they will both get back to work to sharpen their execution also. Kicker Jake Moody was 2 for 3 after narrowly missing a 47-yarder wide right in the 4th quarter. Brad Robbins averaged 40.8 yards per punt, but shanked a 32-yard punt when everyone expected him to pin the Knights deep. Rutgers was able to contain Blake Corum on kick returns, but AJ Henning flashed again in the 3rd quarter punt return for 29 yards. It feels like just a matter of time before Henning hits pay dirt. Onward!

About Clint Derringer

@clint_derringer on Twitter U-M B.A. Sport Management & Communications ‘05 U-M M.S. Program & Project Management ‘18

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