Michigan football looks to stay unbeaten in first road game
Wolverines 5-0, ranked No. 4 in country
PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Fourth-ranked Michigan looks to stay unbeaten when it hits the road for the first time to face Rutgers on Saturday. The Wolverines shut down then-eighth-ranked Wisconsin 14-7 to post their first victory over a top-10 opponent since 2008, and they can extend their winning streak to six games by beating Rutgers for the second successive season.
Michigan was held below 45 points for the first time in five games but its stifling defense, which ranks fifth nationally in tackles for loss (9.4), hopes to feast on a Scarlet Knights' offense that has been held to 14 points or fewer in four of five games this season. Rutgers is heading in the wrong direction following a 58-0 loss to No. 2 Ohio State in Week 5. The Scarlet Knights managed just 116 total yards against the Buckeyes and have scored only seven points combined over their last two games as they prepare to face a fearsome Wolverines' pass rush that has recorded 20 sacks in five contests. "They are an attacking defense and like to bring a lot of pressure," Rutgers head coach Chris Ash told reporters. "This is another big challenge for us and an opportunity to go out and continue to try to improve and measure where we are at against one of the nation's top teams."
TV: 7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2. LINE: Michigan -27.5
ABOUT MICHIGAN (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten): Left tackle Grant Newsome suffered a season-ending knee injury against the Badgers and was replaced by Juwan Bushell-Beatty, who is likely to get the start on Saturday. Kenny Allen, who made 18-of-22 field goals last year, missed two more attempts to bring his season total to 4-of-8 - prompting Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh to declare there will be a "kicking competition in practice" this week. Dark-horse Heisman candidate Jabrill Peppers, who led Paramus Catholic High School to two state championships, will play in New Jersey for the first time after missing Michigan's trip to Piscataway with a leg injury in 2014.
ABOUT RUTGERS (2-3, 0-2 Big Ten): Chris Laviano continues to struggle as he was limited to 3-of-12 passing for 33 yards while backup quarterback Tylin Odin misfired on all four of his pass attempts in the loss to Ohio State. Tyreek Maddox-Williams led the Scarlet Knights' defense with a career-high 11 tackles while Kiy Hester and Deonte Roberts added 10 tackles apiece against the Buckeyes. Cornerback Ross Douglas, who graduated from Michigan in the summer and transferred to Rutgers with two years of eligibility remaining, returned last week after missing two games with a leg injury and hopes to make some plays against his former team.
1. Michigan ranks in the top 10 nationally in scoring offense (10th) and scoring defense (sixth).
2. Wolverines WR Amara Darboh has four receiving touchdowns in five games.
3. Rutgers has dropped nine of its last 10 Big Ten games since the start of the 2015 season.