1. Freshman vs. Phenom – Against a player as electric as Jabrill Peppers, there is no margin for error. Peppers abused Rutgers, and speifically freshman linebacker Tyreek Williams, on his first two big plays in the Wildcat. Peppers beat Williams to the edge on his 63-yard run. He then blew threw a Williams arm tackle on his way to a touchdown in the north end zone.
2. Out of Gas – Again the inconsistencies of the offense put Rutgers' defense in an unwinnable situation. Jay Niemann and his players showed up ready for war with a pair of three-and-outs and a turnover in its first three stands. The problem? Rutgers' offense held the ball for all of 3:01 in that same timeframe with zero first downs. Once Peppers sparked Michigan's offense, Rutgers fell apart and the Wolverines steamrolled despite one foot on the brakes.
3. Ineffective Personnel Changes – Rutgers tried a bunch of guys in spots where they are thin but few payed off. Marcus Applefield replaced Zack Heeman at left tackle, and picked up a penalty on his first series. Zach Allen's run at quarterback ended poorly. Credit the Rutgers coaches for at least trying something different for struggling players. Replacing Ross Douglass at free safety, freshman KJ Gray over-pursued and whiffed on a Chris Evans gashing run.
4. Leg Day – Michael Cintron punted a massive 16 times against Michigan. Give the walk-on credit for consistency after so many attempts this season.
5. Band Wars? – The Rutgers marching band playing “Hail to the Victors” in Michigan sections of Saturday's game added off the field awkwardness to an already ugly day for the football program.
6. Crosshairs – Michigan is the second straight offense that locked in on Blessuan Austin for the deep ball. Austin competed but Michigan trumped him twice in the first half for big gains. Outside of a questionable pass interference call, sophomore Isaiah Wharton carried forward his competitive play from Ohio State week.
7. Position Change – Although his only reps came on special teams, Josh Hicks warmed up as a defensive back. Hicks started at safety for one game last season. The junior had 27 runs for 127 yards this season.
8. Separation – Twice early, Rutgers had receivers open against the tough Michigan defense. Quarterback Chris Laviano could not hit them. Before Laviano sat, he threw an inaccurate but catchable ball to Andre Patton that fell incomplete. He hesitated too long when an open Jawuan Harris could have scored six and allowed Michigan recovery time.
9. Douglas vs. the Alma Mater – Douglas made his first Rutgers start Saturday. Against his former school, Douglas did not play much but was the best available with Saquan Hester and Kiy Hester both injured.
10. Day of Debuts – Two players debuted for Rutgers because of the massive injury and depth issues. Walk-on linebacker Talib Abdur-Ra'Oof and defensive back Marcus Parker both made their Rutgers debuts on special teams. Abdur-Ra'Oof came to Rutgers from Bergen Catholic while Parker played at Hackensack. South African receiver Ntwademela Perry made his home debut after he also played special teams at Ohio State.null