Michigan-Rutgers Preview Capsule
No. 4 Michigan (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) at Rutgers (2-3, 0-2), 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Line: Michigan by 26½.
Series Record: Tied 1-1.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
After surviving a tough one against Wisconsin, Michigan finally hits the road. While the game should be a mismatch, it will allow Jim Harbaugh to make another recruiting statement in talent-rich New Jersey. The Wolverines have nine Garden State players, led by dynamic LB Jabrill Peppers. The group also includes freshman DE Rashan Gary, the nation’s most sought after recruit last year.
Rutgers’ receivers against Michigan’s pass defense, ranked No. 2 nationally. The Wolverines use a lot of press coverage with start CB Jourdan Lewis. Rutgers’ wide outs struggled against Ohio State’s press last week.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Michigan: Peppers. The extraordinary junior will be looking to put on a show in his return home. The recently turned 21-year-old has played 13 different positions this season: linebacker, free safety, strong safety, cornerback, nickel cornerback, quarterback, running back, wide receiver, slot receiver, punt returner, kick returner, gunner and hold up.
Rutgers: RB Robert Martin. With Janarion Grant out for the season, he is the key to the offense. He is fifth in the conference with a 99.5 yard average rushing and ninth in all-purpose yards (105.8).
FACTS & FIGURES
Two of the oldest college football programs. Rutgers played in the first game in 1869. Michigan first played in 1878. ... This is third straight year the teams have met. Rutgers won at home in 2014 and got blown out at the ‘Big House’ last season. ... Michigan is 8-2 in the Big Ten in Harbaugh’s two seasons. ... Michigan leads the nation in third down defense (15.4 percent) and is second in pass defense (135.4 yards per game). ... Wolverines CB Channing Stribling ranks fifth nationally with three interceptions. ... After this game, Rutgers will have faced three of the nation’s top five: including No. 2 Ohio State and No. 5 Washington. ... Scarlet Knights are averaging 4.60 penalties, 15th best in country. ... Rutgers is ninth nationally in red zone defense, allowing points on 11-of-17 situations.
This capsule has been corrected to show Rutgers played its first game in 1868, not 1969.