A New Hope: 2017 Michigan vs. Rutgers Game Recap and Highlights

Photo Credit: Marc-Gregor Campredon/MGoBlog

As mentioned in the game preview, this was going to be a big first half for John O’Korn with the likelihood of Brandon Peters seeing time at some point during the game. But I didn’t expect it to happen so quickly as O’Korn both literally and physically fumbled the starting job. The fifth year senior went 3-6 for 13 yards, one interception, and had two fumbled snaps, which led the Wolverines to be, somehow, tied with Rutgers into the second quarter.

So, after clearly reading the requests of every Michigan fan on Twitter, Jim Harbaugh finally turned to the future and inserted redshirt freshmen QB Brandon Peters into the game. And he didn’t disappoint.

Here are Michigan’s offensive drives after Peters came into the game:

  1. Touchdown – 8 plays, 77 yards, scored on 10 yard Karan Hidgon run
  2. Touchdown – 7 plays, 49 yards, scored on 20 yard Peters to Chris Evans pass
  3. Touchdown – 4 plays, 54 yards, scored on 5 yard Kareem Walker run
  4. Missed Field Goal – 11 plays, 47 yards, Nordin missed 37 yard FG
  5. Touchdown – 2 plays, 61 yards, scored on 49 yard Karan Higdon run
  6. Turnover on Downs – 11 plays, 52 yards
  7. Punt – 3 plays, 7 yards

Even against a team like Rutgers, that’s a nice line for pretty much any offense. And it’s even better when you add in it being Peters’ first extended playing time and how badly the offense has looked all season long. This was the shot in the arm that everyone needed.

To go along with the steady performance by Peters, Michigan’s running game was stellar once the threat of a completed down field pass was added. Higdon led the way with 158 yards and 2 TDs on 18 carries, while Isaac went over 100 yards, Walker had several nice runs, including his first touchdown, and Evans showing off his skill set in both the running and passing game.

As for the defense, it wasn’t the dominant performance myself and, probably, everyone else expected. However, the defensive line spent most of its day in the Rutgers backfield, racking up 5 sacks and 11 tackles for loss. Rutgers QB Giovanni Rescigno was hit several times in the game but he managed to make a couple really nice throws to help set up a score and then, once again, Janarion Grant used his electricity to score quickly in the Big House.

Michigan moved to 6-2 (3-2) on the season and looks to retain the Little Brown Jug against Minnesota, with Peters at the helm.

Standouts 

  • QB Brandon Peters
    • Peters was much better than I thought he’d be in this game. He showed his poise in the pocket, his strong arm and his smarts. Making something out of nothing twice and leading the offense unlike any quarterback has this season, he’s a guy that should be exciting to watch improve over the next couple weeks. He finished 10/14 for 124 yards, 1 TD and a 96.2 QBR.
  • RB Karan Higdon 
    • Higdon once again proved why he’s the #1 back in the offense as he used his speed, quickness and vision to churn out yards all game long. He added a nice 49 yarder to the house to ice the game in the 4th quarter. With the young guy manning the QB position, Higdon will need to continue to show out.
  • DT Maurice Hurst
    • Hurst’s first step is just ridiculous. It almost looks like he’s offsides on each snap because of how quickly he is in the backfield, disrupting the play. He wasn’t able to finish off all of his plays, he once again showed that he is one of, if not, the best overall players in all of college football.
  • DE Rashan Gary 
    • Gary was a monster all game long for Michigan. His athleticism, size and speed off of the edge makes him scary. But it’s the work ethic and tenacity that makes him a nightmare for offensive tackles, quarterbacks and defensive coordinators. He made several big plays, including multiple tackles for loss and a bone crunching sack, but it was a play where he missed a sack, bounced back up, tracked down the QB and helped finish off a Winovich sack that was his play of the game.
  • Other Options:
    • DE Chase Winovich 
    • RB Ty Isaac
    • RB Kareem Walker
    • TE Sean McKeon 

Check out the highlights from the 2017 Michigan vs. Rutgers game:

What did you think of the game? Is it Peters from here on out for Michigan? Do you have a new hope when looking at the rest of the schedule? Let us know in the comment section below!