By JERAMY STOVER, Sports Editor
Michigan football remains undefeated in the 2016 season after dominating Rutgers 78-0 on Saturday. The Wolverines (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten) were overwhelming on both sides of the ball and never gave Rutgers (2-4, 0-3) an inch to move on offense.
After failing to move the ball down the field on their first three possessions, Michigan scored on seven of their next eight offensive drives. On their first scoring drive Jabrill Peppers was the highlight of the possession with a 63-yard run from the quarterback position on a read option play. Peppers’ run got Michigan down to the four-yard line where Ty Isaac ran the ball into the end zone from on the next play.
Peppers was used as a wildcat quarterback for a handful of plays throughout the game in which he normally ran an option play. Peppers rushed for 74-yards on three carries including two touchdowns.
The only time Rutgers came close to scoring was in the second half when a pass from Shane Morris appeared to hit off a receiver’s foot and pop up into the air where a Rutgers defender snatched the ball and ran all the way to the end zone for an apparent touchdown. The play was reviewed after the score and ruled that the ball had touched the ground negating the touchdown and giving Michigan the ball.
The run game was especially effective for Michigan as they totaled 481 yards on the ground and tied the program record for rushing touchdowns with nine. Freshman running back Chris Evans had the most success running the ball recording 153-yards on 11 carries. Karan Higdon had 108 rushing yards on 11 carries and found the end zone twice. Isaac came one yard short of making it three 100 yard rushers for the Wolverines as he also scored two touchdowns.
The defense was also stout the entire night not letting the Scarlet Knights get anything going. It took Rutgers until the second to last drive of the game to finally earn a first down.
Senior defensive end Taco Charlton recorded a team-high two sacks during the game. Freshman linebacker Josh Metellus and senior linebacker Ben Gedeon also recorded sacks.
Peppers nearly returned a punt for a touchdown in the first half but the score was called back due to a block in the back penalty.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh doesn’t think there is any player in the country that is better than his redshirt sophomore do-it-all guy.
“Gosh if there’s a better player in the country, I don’t know who it is. In my humble opinion, I believe that you’re looking at a Heisman Trophy winner,” Harbaugh said referring to Peppers.
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Wilton Speight joked after the game that Peppers looks like a player that “I created on my Xbox.”
Michigan outgained Rutgers on the night 600-39 in total yards. The Scarlet Knights were 0-for-17 on third down conversions and had five passing yards the entire night.
Harbaugh praised Michigan’s defensive coordinator Don Brown after the game, and admitted it isn’t the first time.
“Don Brown is an amazing coach. I know I’ve been saying that a lot, but it’s obvious to everyone – it is to our team and our whole defensive staff.”
The win gives Michigan six on the season and means the Wolverines are officially bowl-eligible. Michigan doesn’t play until Oct. 22 when they return home to take on Illinois.