2020 Michigan vs Rutgers: Takeaways and Highlights

Hey, how about a more positive Sunday morning, huh? Yes, it was “just Rutgers” but have you watched Michigan play this year? Two struggling teams played a 4.5-hour game that went into 3 overtimes. It wasn’t pretty but Michigan did finally get some things answered in their 2nd win of the season including who their starting quarterback is moving forward.

Michigan 48 – Rutgers 42

Here are my takeaways from Michigan’s win over Rutgers:

1. Gamer Cade

Plenty of people were asking, “why didn’t Cade McNamara play earlier?” or “how did the staff not see this in practice?”. Well, that could be because McNamara is more of a gamer than a practice standout. It’s a very normal thing for players to be better in games and game situations than in day to day practices. Throwing against air or even against opponents you see every single day can skew who’s actually the better in-game quarterback.

Milton has all the physical talents in the world. McNamara does not. But that doesn’t matter when it comes to quarterbacking a team. Ask Drew Brees about physical limitations or ask Jamarcus Russell about pure athletic talent.

As someone who was never a great practice player, I can relate really well with Cade here. Sometimes you need those real situations to show off your skills instead of just countless reps against teammates.

Now, I do also want to mention, I don’t think Milton was that bad. Yes, he had plenty of struggles and stares down receivers like it’s his job. But he showed some great arm talent again. Thing is, the offense just works better with McNamara. It’s that simple.

Looking like Mark McGrath’s son, McNamara used screens and slants, mixed with the occasional downfield shot to rack up 260 passing yards and 5 total touchdowns to lead Michigan to a much-needed win that’ll give this team a chance to finish the season above .500.

2. In 2020, a Win is a Win

This isn’t the NFL. Losing games doesn’t help a college football team in any way. While poor play may help with recruiting at times, it doesn’t help the program overall, especially when that negative portion of the fan base storms social media like a bunch of pissed off Beliebers.

The people who cheer for losses or bitch the entire game and want people fired after every possession are one of three people:

  • Miserable fans that aren’t happy unless they’re unhappy and want everyone to stew in shit with them
  • Individuals looking to drum up clout based on hot takes & potential coaching changes
  • Fans with unrealistic expectations of who this team is this year and what this program is over the last half-century.

Michigan is a 9-3 maybe 10-2 program at best with a once in a blue moon dream season. It’s not a powerhouse dynasty it once was back in the sketchy TV feed days. And that’s ok, it’s still an all-time, blue blood program with arguably the largest fan base. Perfection is wanted but is not always warranted.

That being said, should Michigan be better than 2-3 this year? You bet your ass. And championships need to come but being consistently negative and dogging wins or celebrations for a young team doesn’t help anything or anyone.

3. Stock Up

  • Frosted Tips
    • Props to Cade McNamara for bringing back the late 90’s-early 2000’s Michigan football we’ve all been craving. Highlights, guy tips, frosted ends, whatever you want to call it, the hair (not the stat line) was the highlight in this one. Next up, puka shell necklaces, trucker hats, and Abercrombie & Fitch post-game sweaters.
  • Hassan Haskins
    • Great game from the freight train. Haskins runs like his hair’s on fire on every carry. Quick burst, looks for contact, hard cuts, twists and turns to fight for every yard. He was a huge part of why Michigan found success on offense. Going forward, it should be him and Zach Charbonnet getting the heavy majority of the reps. Just downhill runners that’ll break tackles to help a young offensive line.
  • Giles Jackson
    • Sometimes we forget how fast he really is. That kick return sure did help as he scooted to the end zone on the 2nd half opening kick off to give Michigan the momentum boost it badly needed to begin the comeback. He also put up 4 catches for 50 yards including a big one on 3rd down in the 2nd overtime to set up the touchdown. Much needed performance from #0.
  • Cornelius Johnson
    • He wasn’t perfect. The lost fumble on the first possession and the inability to win in the air on at least two different occasions (including one in the end zone at the end of the game) need to be worked on. But it was the bounce-back that gets him on here. He had his mishaps and still played pretty well, scoring two big touchdowns and starting to show signs of becoming a playmaker for this team going forward. Five rocks for 105 yards and 2 TDs is always noteworthy.
  • Josh Ross
    • Wasn’t perfect but he was the only player I saw on defense that was playing with a purpose each and every snap. He was flying around, hyping up his team and doing what he could to make plays. The big 11-yard sack in the 4th quarter to push Rutgers back was a huge moment of the game that gave Michigan the ball back, which resulted in a touchdown. With McGrone out, he stepped up and led.
  • Chris Hinton
    • Been waiting for him to have a breakout game. This wasn’t exactly it but he flashed that blend of size, skill and quickness on multiple occasions in this one, including racking up his first sack of the season and getting into the backfield several times to move the play. Michigan needs much more of that moving forward.
  • Walk-Ons
    • Yes, the Michigan defense has been pretty brutal this season and Don Brown has plenty of explaining to do. But you do also have to add in injuries a bit because it’s depleted an already inexperienced squad. But a tip of the hat is in order to Adam Shibley, Hunter Reynolds, and Jess Speight. The current/former walk-ons played well and made plenty of plays when thrust into duty.
  • Rutgers Football
    • Props to Greg Schiano. He’s a pretty good football coach. Has his team playing hard and (somewhat) disciplined. Though the talent isn’t there yet, his team’s fight in each game they play. The future is much brighter in New Jersey than it has been since, well, since he left for the NFL in 2012.
  • Missing Field Goals
    • Per TMI’s Zach Shaw, Michigan is 2-0 this season when going 0-3 on field goal attempts and 0-3 when it doesn’t. So, keep those high snaps and missed kicks coming!

4. Stock Down

  • Dax Hill
    • Don’t want to pile on but this was by far Hill’s worst collegiate game. He didn’t have any sense of urgency or effort at times, getting exposed on the big pass play on Rutgers’ first drive, throwing a two hand shove on the big reverse play in the 2nd half, and getting lost in coverage a couple of other times. However, he did have a couple of big plays including an acrobatic pass breakup on what should’ve been an offensive pass interference in the end zone and then the game-sealing interception in the 3rd overtime. This should be a good learning experience game for the former five-star.
  • Kicking Game
    • Though Michigan is undefeated when going 0-3 on field goal attempts this season, this is an issue. Jake Moody had his game one struggles and Quinn Nordin had his this week. But it’s obviously more that just the kicker. Field goals are a system that takes each person doing their job right to be successful. Can’t have high snaps, missed holds, or missed blocks. Otherwise, it won’t matter what the kicker does. The whole unit needs to get its act together and figure out who are the best players to play before one of these kicks kills a game.
  • Don Brown
    • Injuries keep piling up but it doesn’t really change the fact that Brown’s defense is just getting gashed each and every week. I highly doubt Harbaugh would fire him during the season but this is just another example of why an overhaul on the defensive coaching staff is necessary this offseason.

What are your takeaways from Michigan’s 3 overtime road win over Rutgers? What do you think of McNamara’s play and hairstyle? Let us know in the comment section below!

Photo Credit: FoxSports/AP

Garrett Fishaw