Peters to the rescue: New QB sparks Michigan
Ann Arbor — Early in the week, when Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh was asked about the possibility of backup quarterback Brandon Peters getting some playing time, he said he didn’t have a crystal ball and could not make a prediction.
It became clear in the second quarter a change was needed, and Peters, a redshirt freshman, entered the game and immediately gave Michigan a spark, leading the Wolverines to a 35-14 victory over Rutgers at Michigan Stadium on Saturday.
Michigan now is bowl eligible at 6-2, 3-2Big Ten, while Rutgers’ two-game winning streak was snapped and is 3-5, 2-3.
Peters, who replaced starter John O’Korn, was 10-of-14 for 124 yards and a touchdown.
“It was a pretty special experience,” Peters told Big Ten Network after the game.
BOX SCORE: Michigan 35, Rutgers 14
The Wolverines had two 100-yard rushers. Karan Higdon had 158 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns, including a 49-yard run. Ty Isaac, who was taken to the locker room late in the game for injury evaluation, had 109 yards on 14 carries. Kareem Walker and Khalid Hill each had a rushing touchdown.
The Wolverines outgained Rutgers, 471-195, including 334 rushing yards.
Midway through the second quarter, as Michigan’s offense was sputtering the game tied at 7, after Michigan gained one yard and went three-and-out, Peters started warming up on the sideline, throwing and then practicing some snaps from center Patrick Kugler.
Peters entered the game to a huge ovation, replacing starter John O’Korn with 7:01 left in the first half and led Michigan to back-to-back touchdown drives giving the Wolverines a 21-7 lead.
Higdon scored on a 10-yard run to cap an eight-yard 77-yard drive that saw Peters complete his first pass of the game. He rolled right and found tight end Tyrone Wheatley Jr. for 15 yards. He went 3-for-3 in the drive, including connecting with freshman Nico Collins for his first college reception, a 12-yarder.
The Wolverines built a 21-7 lead when Peters completed a 20-yard pass to running back Chris Evans. It was Peters’ first college touchdown pass and the first passing touchdown for Michigan in 15 quarters, since the second quarter at Purdue.
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Michigan opened the second half with a quick score directed by Peters but highlighted by Higdon’s 32-yard run to the Rutgers’ 5-yard line. Kareem Walker got his first college touchdown on a five-yard run.
Rutgers pulled to 28-14 on a well-designed drive that went 75 yards on 11 plays. A 21-yard pass to Hunter Hayek on third down kept the drive alive and Gus Edwards barreled in for a two-yard score.
Kicker Quinn Nordin had made 10-straight field goals but missed a 37-yarder. Michigan added another touchdown on its next series, when Higdon took off for a 49-yard score, making it 35-14.
O’Korn struggled early in the game, twice fumbling – and recovering – the snap and had an interception. The first series mirrored how the offense has looked in recent weeks. Michigan moved the ball effectively with the run, then a negative-yardage throw to Eddie McDoom and then a penalty and suddenly the Wolverines were in third and long and the drive stalled.
Michigan’s next drive ended with an O’Korn interception.
O’Korn did lead the team on a long, 80-yard, 13-play scoring drive that included a fourth-down conversion. Isaac’s 21-yard run took the Wolverines to the half-yard line and Khalid Hill got his second touchdown of the season giving Michigan the 7-0 lead.
Minnesota at Michigan
Kickoff: 7:30 Saturday, Nov. 4, Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor
Records: Minnesota 4-3, 1-3 Big Ten; Michigan 6-2, 3-2