PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Playing in front of his family and friends in his homes state of New Jersey for the first time since enrolling at Michigan, U-M star Jabrill Peppers wanted to put on a show that they would remember.
Well, he didn’t disappoint.
Peppers, who plays multiple roles on offense, defense and special teams, ignited U-M’s run game first on Saturday night with a sensational 63 yard run to set up Michigan’s first score, and the rout would be on from there, as No. 4 Michigan defeated Rutgers 78-0 in Peppers’ homecoming affair
“Whenever you get the balls in your hands you just wanted to make something positive happen,” Peppers said. “Today God had his hand on me today on some of those plays. I just have to give it up to the blocking and the coaching scheme. They set the guys up in positions to excel so we just went out there and handled business today.”
Not only did Peppers handle his business, he upped its value, adding two touchdown runs to go along with his 74 yards rushing, needing only three carries to do his work.
“It was real fun, this was my first time playing in New Jersey since high school,” Peppers said. “So I definitely wanted to come out here and make a statement with the guys tonight. It just adds a little extra flare when you’re playing in front of the home crowd. I couldn’t ask for a better victory.”
It could’ve been a little better, why? Well, in the first quarter, Peppers had another “wow” moment, when he took a punt return for a score, dinking, juking, while a full speed using a spin move to get out of a tackle then ducked under his defender sprinting for the score, only to have offset by a U-M penalty.
“Hopefully I can get another one, things happen don’t dwell on it,” Peppers said of the return. “That was just my mindset. I really don’t know how I did that. But it felt good; it felt good. But you can’t dwell on those things, man.”
On his second touchdown, Peppers gave his final sendoff by pointing to the crowd by the stadium canon in the corner of the end-zone, which was filled with U-M fans, and he later revealed is where his mother was seated.
“That’s just something I’ve always done since high school, every time I score or have a big play, I’ll point up there, I’ll point to the sky for my brother and things like that,” Peppers said of the gesture. “So I was back home in New Jersey I figured I would get back to the roots.”