No. 25 Michigan looks to put its recent setbacks in the rearview mirror when it hosts Rutgers on Saturday. The Wolverines have dropped two of their last three games, including a 42-13 loss to second-ranked Penn State in Week 8, to tumble in the national polls, and hope to get back on track by downing the Scarlet Knights for the third straight time.
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh revealed that senior quarterback John O’Korn will remain the starter despite growing calls for freshman Brandon Peters to get his shot at breathing life into a moribund offense, which has been held to 16.6 points over its last three contests. Rutgers is on a roll after holding off Purdue 14-12 to notch back-to-back victories for the first time since joining the Big Ten in 2014. The Scarlet Knights have lost 19 straight games to ranked opponents, including a demoralizing 78-0 defeat to Michigan last season, but hope to extend their conference winning streak to three games for the first time in five years, when they were a member of the Big East. “We’re not worried about last year and that’s not even in our thoughts or conversations,” Rutgers head coach Chris Ash told reporters. “It wasn’t a very good game but it happened and we can’t change it so we’re not going to talk about it.”
TV: Noon ET, BTN. LINE: Michigan -24
ABOUT RUTGERS (3-4, 2-2 Big Ten): Giovanni Rescigno was limited to 87 yards and a touchdown on 9-of-18 passing, but he did not throw an interception in the win against Purdue to help the Scarlet Knights improve to 2-0 since he took over as the starter. “The passing game has to be a big part of what we do,” Rescigno told reporters. “We have to get better and I have to help the receivers out.” Gus Edwards rushed for a 74-yard touchdown en route to a career-high 94 yards as Rutgers ran the ball on 67.2 percent of its offensive plays against the Boilermakers.
ABOUT MICHIGAN (5-2, 2-2 Big Ten): O’Korn completed 16-of-28 passes for 166 yards and was sacked seven times as he finished without a touchdown toss for the third consecutive contest. There is no timetable for Wilton Speight’s return as the junior quarterback remains sidelined for the foreseeable future with a cracked vertebrae but Harbaugh did reveal that his “bone is healing back together” and he’s “chomping at the bit.” Defensive end Chase Winovich, who has recorded 43 tackles and 5 1/2 sacks this season, hurt his knee against the Nittany Lions and is questionable for Saturday’s homecoming clash.
1. Michigan has outscored Rutgers 127-16 in their last two meetings.
2. The Wolverines have won 10 of their last 11 home games.
3. Rutgers has registered nine interceptions in seven games.
PREDICTION: Michigan 30, Rutgers 10