The Michigan defense is looking to get back on track after a disappointing performance in its 29-26 victory over Minnesota this weekend. Now it has the task of knocking of Rutgers, a team that beat the Wolverines last season and had students rushing the field.
This is a game that U-M should win. The Michigan Insider breaks down the upcoming game.
Last Meeting: Rutgers defeated Michigan 26-24 in 2014.
What a win means for Michigan: It doesn't mean all that much in the grand scheme of things. They defeated a team it was supposed to win against and it keeps its Big Ten championship hopes, albeit slim right now, alive for the time being.
What a win means for Rutgers: A win against Michigan would be huge for Rutgers. A team that has seen its fair share of negative storylines this season, this could be the shot in the arm to finish the season strong. It doesn't necessarily mean head coach Kyle Flood's job is safe, but it could give the team and the fans some confidence that he can be the guy (maybe or maybe not). A victory over Michigan doesn't make or break the season but back-to-back victories is definitely something to look back on with pride.
Player to watch: This is one quite easy, the health of Leonte Carroo is the major player to watch. Flood has said recently that Carroo has not been participating in practice and, at the time of this writing, looks to be a gametime decision on Saturday. If Carroo cannot go, Rutgers is losing its biggest playmaker on the offensive side of the ball. Needless to say, that's a huge loss that turns into Michigan's gain. If he does play, the potential Carroo-Jourdan Lewis battle would be fun to watch. A talented receiver against arguably the best defensive back in the conference, this will be the match-up to watch. Something Lewis has had experience winning in the past.
What they're saying: Head coach, Kyle Flood via ScarletKnights.com
On the difference between Michigan this year vs last season: Schematically they're very different. Last year as we were going into the game I thought they were a very physical football team, very talented. But they play the game differently on offense now than they did last year, a little bit more of a pro-style offense. They do let Jake (Rudock) run around a little bit, some designed quarterback runs, but not a lot. So it's more of your traditional pro-style offense.
On defense they're a little bit more multiple in their fronts on first and second down. On third down last year Michigan was very multiple in what they did, very challenging package last year, and they have a very challenging package this year although we haven't completely game planned it yet, but I've seen enough to have an idea of what we're going to see on third down.
On Jabrill Peppers: They've continued to increase his role as the season has gone on. Punt returns, kick returns, those are things he's done since the beginning of the year, playing on defense. They move him around. He plays corner; he plays on the slot. He's up on the line of scrimmage at times, and then the last two games now you're starting to see him on offense. So a very talented football player. So they're trying to put him in as many places as they can to make sure he affects the game.