Steve, Craig, Tim, and Steve B welcome you to The Wolverine Den! For a preview of the next game, see below. For a look back (and to see the incriminating pictures), choose a game on the Last Week menu. If you plan on attending a tailgate at The Den for the first time, see the blog menu for Den Law and the house rules to many of the usual tailgate "activities". Click on Buy Gear for TWD shirt! See you on Saturday.
This Week at The Wolverine Den
Michigan at Rutgers
High Point Solutions Stadium
November 10, 2018 - 3:30 p.m. ET
The Michigan Wolverines return to Big Ten action with a trip to Piscataway, New Jersey to face the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Rutgers is coached by former Ohio State defensive coordinator, Chris Ash. It will be a good test for the Wolverines since Ash brings many of the Buckeyes schemes to the Rutgers team. But Rutgers and Michigan are teams moving in completely opposite directions. Michigan lost its opening game this season and has since won 8 in a row. Rutgers won their opening game this year to the Sun Belt's 3-6 Texas State, and has since lost 8 in a row. Michigan is #1 in the nation in total defense; Rutgers is 127th (out of 130 teams) in total offense. On paper, this will not be a close game. But, we still need to show up and play. Rutgers lost by only 3 points two weeks ago to Northwestern. Last week, they came within 14 points of Wisconsin, in Madison. They have been playing better of late and are playing at home. We need to do more than just show up in order to win.
Rutgers is led by a true-Freshman quarterback, Artur Sitkowski. He is playing like a true freshman – completing under 50% of his passes with 4 TDs and 15 INTs. But he hasn’t thrown an interception in the last two games – so he appears to be improving. RB Raheem Blackshear leads the team in both rushing and receiving. Last week against Wisconsin he had 200 combined yards. But Rutgers does not score much. They are dead last in the nation in scoring at only 15.3 points per game.
The Wolverine Den Trivia
The Big Ten Conference has 14 teams. But there are two additional teams that play in the conference but in only one sport. Who are those two teams?
On defense, Rutgers is a little better, sitting at 10th in the Big Ten in total defense. Linebackers Trevor Morris and Deonte Roberts are both in the top ten in the conference in tackles. Safety Saquan Hampton is 5th in the league in passes defended. But the Scarlet Knights give up 234 yards per game rushing and over 33 points per game. On special teams, Kicker Justin Davidovicz has hit on 8 of 10 field goal attempts with a long of 52.
Rutgers calls themselves the "Birthplace of College Football", having played the first game back in 1869. Michigan didn’t start football until 1879. Rutgers has played 19 more games than Michigan, but Michigan has 301 more wins than Rutgers. Two years ago in Piscataway, Michigan had 481 rushing yards in a 78-0 drubbing. Don’t expect that kind of scoring, but do expect a dominating win that gives our backup quarterback an opportunity to gain some game experience. In our last three games – all against ranked teams, Michigan gave up an average of 188 yards per game, 11.8% 3rd down conversions and 9 points while the offense rolled up a 414 yard average, 47.8% on 3rd down conversions and 33.6 points. Michigan also averaged 39 minutes in time of possession. Dominating Rutgers should be no problem, even without our best game.
Michigan leads the all-time series 3-1.
The Wolverines are a 39 point road favorite.