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Posts Tagged ‘New Jersey’

New in Blue: 2016 DT Michael Dwumfour

Monday, January 25th, 2016


Michael Dwumfour(Rivals)

Michael Dwumfour – DT | 6-2, 286| Wayne, N.J. – DePaul Catholic
ESPN: 3-star, #48 DT Rivals: 3-star, NR 247: 3-star, #75 DT Scout: 3-star, #68 DT
Other top offers: Penn State, Iowa, West Virginia, Boston College, Temple, Wake Forest

After a big recruiting weekend that gained commitments from defensive end Josh Uche and linebacker Elysee Mbem-Bosse, Michigan’s recruiting class continued to gain steam on Monday by flipping defensive tackle Michael Dwumfour from Penn State. The Wayne, N.J. native tweeted his decision just after noon Eastern, shortly after announcing his decommitment from the Nittany Lions.

Like Uchce, Dwumfour is a consensus three-star by the four major recruiting services. ESPN ranks him the highest as the 48th-best defensive tackle in the class. Scout has him at 68th and 247 at 75th, while Rivals does not have him ranked.

Scout lists Dwumfour’s strengths as body control and balance, change of direction, and hand quickness, while listing his areas to improve as backside pursuit and size. Scout’s Brian Dohn gives an explanation.

“Dwumfour disengages well and he is quick with his hands. He has explosion, but has a tendency to stand up quickly before accelerating forward. Once he explodes forward at the snap, he will become even more effective. Dwumfour has good strength and he plays with a low center of gravity, and he keeps his pad level low. He changes direction well and can make plays in space. At 6-foot-1, some schools make be hesitant to offer.”

Dwumfour committed to Penn State after attending their camp last June, but after visiting Michigan the weekend of Jan. 15, the 6-foot-2, 286-pounder decided to follow his New Jersey friends to Ann Arbor. He was a high school teammate of running back commitment — and early enrollee — Karim Walker and is also good friends with No. 1 recruit and fellow defensive tackle Rashan Gary, who Michigan hopes to land on National Signing Day.

His commitment may precede a decommitment from tackle Jordan Elliott, who officially visited Texas over the weekend and appears to be ready to stay in his home state. At the moment, Dwumfour is the 25th member of the class, but there will be more additions and subtractions in the next nine days.

With a stacked defensive line in 2016, Dwumfour will undoubtedly redshirt to bulk up. Once Ryan Glasgow graduates, he’ll have a chance to work his way into the rotation.

New in Blue: 2016 RB Kareem Walker

Thursday, December 17th, 2015


Kareem Walker (Don Smith, NorthJersey.com)

Kareem Walker – RB | 6-11, 210 | Wayne, N.J. – De Paul Catholic
ESPN: 4-star, #1 RB Rivals: 4-star, #1 RB 247: 4-star, #2 RB Scout: 5-star, #2 RB
Other top offers: Florida State, Alabama, Arizona State, Ohio State, MSU, USC, Oregon

The nation’s top running back, Kareem Walker made it two for two for Michigan this week. Just a day after Hollywood, Fla. linebacker chose Michigan over Florida State, the Wayne, N.J. native announced his commitment to the Wolverines during a ceremony at his school on Thursday afternoon.

Walker is widely regarded as one of the top running backs in the 2016 class. Rivals and ESPN rank him the best, while Scout and 247 have him second behind Clemson commit Tavien Foster and Penn State commit Miles Sanders, respectively. Scout is the lone site to give Walker a fifth star, and lists his strengths as balance, instincts, and power. His areas to improve are listed as blocking ability, breakaway speed, and vision. Scout recruiting analyst Brian Dohn expands on that.

“Walker runs well between the tackles and is explosive through the hole,” Dohn said. “He runs with a low center of gravity and is difficult to bring down on first contact. He can get to the edge but needs to improve on finding the hole when the play isn’t blocked well in front of him.”

Walker originally committed to Ohio State during the national championship game on Jan. 12, but decommitted from the Buckeyes on Nov. 3. His recruitment picked up since then with Michigan, Alabama, Florida State, and Arizona State in hot pursuit. But it was the Wolverines that won over his services.

Michigan’s running game has been largely ineffective the past few seasons with just one 1,000-yard rushing running back — Fitzgerald Toussaint in 2010 — since Mike Hart’s senior season in 2007. This season, De’Veon Smith led the Wolverines with 644 yards, but the majority of those came early in the season. He averaged just 44.7 yards per game in Big Ten play. Walker, meanwhile, rushed for 1,607 yards and 26 touchdowns as a senior at De Paul Catholic High School in New Jersey this season.

As a big back with the explosiveness and quick feet that Smith lacks, Walker will get a chance to battle for playing time right away. Jim Harbaugh showed this season that he’s not above putting anyone out there who he feels might give the offense a spark. Smith led the team with 155 carries, but 10 different running backs or fullbacks got carries, nine of them double digit carries. That includes freshman Karan Higdon, who carried the ball 11 times for 19 yards. Walker will get the chance and if his performance warrants carries Harbaugh will give them to him.

Walker is the fourth running back in the class, joining Prattville, Ala. back Kingston Davis, Winchester, Ind. back Kiante Enis, and Indianapolis, Ind. back Chris Evans, but Enis and Evans are unlikely to stick in the backfield. Both are officially listed as athletes and could play slot receiver, or even switch to the defensive side of the ball. Davis, meanwhile, is expected to sign his grant-in-aid package today at 2pm, locking him in as an early enrollee. The addition of Walker should vault Michigan’s recruiting class to the top — or near the top — of the class rankings on all the major sites with just a few spots left to fill before national signing day.

New in Blue: 2016 WR Brad Hawkins

Friday, July 3rd, 2015



Brad Hawkins(NJ.com)

Brad Hawkins – WR | 6-1, 202 | Camden, N.J. – Camden
ESPN: 4-star, #25 WR Rivals: 4-star, #42 WR 247: 4-star, #37 WR Scout: 4-star, #38 WR
Other top offers: Auburn, Michigan State, Ohio State, Oregon, Notre Dame, South Carolina, Arizona State

June was a big month for Michigan recruiting but it didn’t take long for Jim Harbaugh’s staff to land their first July commitment. Camden, N.J. wide receiver Brad Hawkins announced his commitment to the Wolverines on Friday afternoon.

Hawkins is rated four stars by all four of the major recruiting services. ESPN rates him the highest as the 25th-best receiver in the 2016 class. 247 Sports has him 37th, Scout 38th, and Rivals 42nd. ESPN ranks him the 191st-best overall player in the class, while 247 has him 198th, Rivals 206th, and Scout 224th.

Scout lists his strengths as body control, route-running, and size, while noting his areas for improvement as downfield threat and speed. Scout’s Brian Dohn liked what he saw.

“Hawkins is one of the top receivers in the East’s 2016 class because of his combination of size, acceleration off the of scrimmage, his ball-tracking skills and his ability to use his body to shield defenders. He is physical and catches the ball at its highest point. He goes over the middle and can out leap defenders to make catches, and he is tough to bring down after the catch. If his speed improves, he will be the total package.”

Hawkins held a who’s who of offers including Oregon, Auburn, Ohio State, Michigan State, and Notre Dame to name a few. He unofficially visited Michigan on March 27 and again last weekend with a large group of New Jersey recruits, including teammate Ron Johnson, who committed to the Wolverines last Thursday.

He’s the 21st commitment in the class and the first receiver, moving Michigan up to sixth in the 247 Sports team rankings, behind only LSU, Florida State, Ohio State, Alabama, and Miami. Michigan jumped fellow Big Ten foes Michigan State and Penn State.

New in Blue: 2016 DE Ron Johnson

Thursday, June 25th, 2015


Ron Johnson(247 Sports)

Ron Johnson – DE | 6-4, 240 | Camden, N.J. – Camden
ESPN: 4-star, #16 DE Rivals: 4-star, #6 DE 247: 4-star, #17 DE Scout: 3-star, #48 DE
Other top offers: Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan State, Oregon, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, South Carolina

Less than a week remains before the calendar flips to July, but Jim Harbaugh and his staff aren’t showing any signs of slowing down on the recruiting trail anytime soon. A day after landing four-star offensive tackle Devery Hamilton, the Wolverines picked up a commitment from four-star defensive end Ron Johnson.

Johnson is a four-star according to ESPN, Rivals, and 247 Sports and a three-star according to Scout. Rivals ranks him the highest as the sixth-best weak side defensive end in the 2016 class. ESPN ranks him as the 16th-best defensive end, while 247 has him 17th and Scout 48th. ESPN ranks Johnson the highest nationally as the 103rd-best overall player in the class, while Rivals has him 109th, and 247 has him 231st.

Scout lists his strengths as ‘athleticism’,’hand quickness’, and ‘speed’, while noting his areas to improve as ‘change of direction’ and ‘strength’. Scout’s Brian Dohn expanded on that evaluation:

“Johnson has an excellent motor and also plenty of athleticism. He gets up the field in a hurry, but also uses technique, including a nice swim move. He stays low at the snap and can dip his shoulder to get around the edge, and also can chase a play down from behind. He needs to work a bit on his change of direction, which is good for a kid his size. His speed off the edge is why colleges like him a lot.”

At 6’4″, 240 pounds heading into his senior season at Camden High School in New Jersey, Johnson is a great addition to the class. He held offers from Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan State, Oregon, and Notre Dame, among others. He unofficially visited Michigan back in March and subsequently received a visit from tight ends coach Jay Harbaugh a couple weeks later. He made a return trip to Ann Arbor this week along with several other New Jersey recruits and committed on the spot Thursday afternoon.

Johnson is commitment number 20 in the class and the 14th in the month of June. He joins fellow defensive end Rashad Weaver, filling a big need in the class, especially after missing out on in-state defensive end Khalid Kareem. With anywhere from five to eight spots left in the class, Michigan hopes to land more commitments this weekend and continue building the New Jersey pipeline.

Michigan hoops preview: Rutgers

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015


UM-Rutgers
Michigan (11-7, 4-2) vs Rutgers (10-9, 2-4)
Tuesday, Jan. 20 | Piscataway, N.J. | 6:30 p.m. EST | Big Ten Network
Offense
65.5 Points/gm 60.2
(408-984) 41.5 Field Goal % 40.0 (408-1,021)
(148-415) 35.7 3-pt FG % 30.3 (124-400)
(215-295) 72.9 Free Throw % 67.8 (220-331)
11.9 FT Made/gm 12.4
31.7 Reb/gm 35.8
12.6 Assists/gm 10.6
9.8 Turnovers/gm 12.9
Defense
62.3 Points/gm 62.7
(416-946) 44.0 Field Goal % 40.2 (424-1,055)
(120-345) 34.8 3-pt FG % 31.0 (124-400)
34.0 Opp. Reb/gm 36.5
6.2 Steals/gm 5.7
1.7 Blocks/gm 4.4
Individual Leaders
Caris LeVert (14.9)*, Zak Irvin (13.9) Points/gm Myles Mack (14.7), Kadeem Jack (12.8)
Caris LeVert (4.9)*, Derrick Walton Jr (4.5) Reb/gm Junior Etou (7.1), Kadeem Jack (6.5)
*Out for season

___________________________________________________________________________________

Michigan’s 56-54 win over Northwestern on Saturday night was a costly one. The Wolverines lost their leading scorer, rebounder, assister, stealer, and shot blocker when Caris LeVert re-injured his foot on the final play of the game. The injury will require season-ending surgery, leaving an already hobbled Michigan squad looking for someone to step up. Rutgers is next on the docket, so let’s take a look at the Scarlet Knights.

The Starters
Minutes Points FG% 3FG% FT% Reb Ast TO Blk Stl
Myles Mack (G) 36.2 14.7 40.9 33.3 84.7 4.6 4.5 2.8 0.1 1.8
Kadeem Jack (F) 31.4 12.8 40.5 29.0 61.8 6.5 1.1 2.5 0.7 1.2
Bishop Daniels (G) 21.6 8.1 41.8 33.3 70.2 2.0 1.5 2.4 0.5 0.7
Junior Etou (F) 30.4 7.7 40.2 31.0 75.0 7.1 0.4 1.3 0.5 0.3
Greg Lewis (F/C) 25.0 5.4 47.8 00.0 64.3 4.8 0.8 1.5 1.3 0.8
The Others
Minutes Points FG% 3FG% FT% Reb Ast TO Blk Stl
Mike Williams (G) 24.3 7.3 34.4 23.1 80.0 2.1 1.2 0.7 0.7 0.8
D.J. Foreman (F) 13.9 2.7 43.8 40.0 28.0 2.1 0.5 0.9 0.2 0.1
Malick Kone (G/F) 11.7 2.0 31.0 22.2 50.0 1.8 0.8 0.4 0.2 0.3
Kerwin Okoro (G/F) 9.1 1.7 24.0 18.2 100.0 1.2 0.6 0.9 0.0 0.1
Shaquille Doorson (C) 9.6 1.6 51.9 00.0 25.0 2.2 0.1 0.4 0.5 0.0
The Schedule
Date Opponent Score
Nov. 16 George Washington L 53-70
Nov. 19 Fairleigh Dickinson W 61-44
Nov. 23 St. Francis (N.Y.) W 76-73
Nov. 25 Saint Peter’s L 50-68
Nov. 28 Vanderbilt* W 68-65
Nov. 29 #8 Virginia* L 26-45
Dec. 1 at Clemson^ W 69-64
Dec. 6 at Seton Hall L 54-81
Dec. 9 New Hampshire W 60-56
Dec. 14 Manhattan W 63-55
Dec. 20 St. Francis (PA) L 68-73
Dec. 23 Sacred Heart W 79-54
Dec. 28 at Monmouth W 59-58
Dec. 30 Northwestern L 47-51
Jan. 3 Penn State W 50-46
Jan. 8 at Nebraska L 49-65
Jan. 11 #4 Wisconsin W 67-62
Jan. 14 at #14 Maryland L 65-73
Jan. 17 at Minnesota L 80-89
Jan. 20 Michigan
Jan. 24 at Penn State
Jan. 27 Michigan State
Jan. 31 at #23 Indiana
Feb. 3 at Illinois
Feb. 8 Ohio State
Feb. 12 Purdue
Feb. 19 at #25 Iowa
Feb. 22 #23 Indiana
Feb. 26 at Purdue
Mar. 3 #13 Maryland
Mar. 7 at Michigan
*Barclays Center Classic, ^ACC/Big Ten Challenge

What an interesting case study Rutgers is this season. The Scarlet Knights have lost to two Saints — Peter’s and Francis — by an average of 11.5 points, they were held to just 26 points in an entire game against Virginia, but they handed fourth-ranked Wisconsin their second loss of the season. The other? Duke.

The Series

Michigan is 5-0 all-time against Rutgers, but the teams haven’t played since the 2004 NIT championship game which Michigan won 62-55. Michigan is 2-0 in Piscataway, having won 97-69 on Dec. 21, 1983 and 32-22 on Dec. 20, 1933. John Beilein is 4-2 against Rutgers during his career.

Notes

• Seven of Rutgers’ 10 wins have been decided by five or fewer points

• Rutgers is the lowest scoring team in the Big Ten, averaging just 60.2 points per game, and the only conference team with a negative scoring margin (minus-2.5)

• Rutgers is the third-worst free throw shooting team in the Big Ten (67.8 percent), the worst field goal shooting team (40.0 percent), and the worst three-point shooting team (30.3 percent)

• Rutgers ranks second to last in the Big Ten in turnover margin (minus-0.89)

• Kadeem Jack ranks second in the Big Ten in offensive rebounds per game (2.5)

• Junior Etou ranks tied for third in the Big Ten in defensive rebounds per game (5.6)

• Myles Mack ranks second in the Big Ten in minutes player per game (36.2)

Jersey Short: Rutgers 26 – Michigan 24

Sunday, October 5th, 2014


Michigan at Rutgers(MGoBlue.com)

A trying week for the Michigan football program following a loss to Minnesota, complete with a concussion controversy that gained national mainstream media attention, a student rally calling for the firing of athletic director Dave Brandon, and increased calls for Brady Hoke’s head, was bookended with yet another loss. This time, the Wolverines came up just short in a 26-24 defeat at Rutgers on Saturday night.

It was the first ever meeting between the two oldest schools in FBS and it resulted in the first ever Big Ten Conference victory for the team that won the first ever college football contest over the school with the most wins in college football history.

Michigan started the game with a nine-play, 57-yard drive that stalled on the Rutgers 22-yard line. But Michigan managed three points on a 39-yard Matt Wile field goal. Rutgers countered with a seven-play, 58-yard drive and a 35-yard field goal to tie the game at three.

UM-Rutgers-small-final-FINAL
Final Stats
Michigan Rutgers
Score 24 26
Record 2-4, 0-2 5-1, 1-1
Total Yards 336 476
Net Rushing Yards 158 74
Net Passing Yards 178 402
First Downs 18 18
Turnovers 1 0
Penalties-Yards 3-30 9-85
Punts-Yards 4-190 3-146
Time of Possession 29:14 30:46
Third Down Conversions 4-of-11 8-of-16
Fourth Down Conversions 0-of-0 0-of-2
Sacks By-Yards 2-21 3-18
Field Goals 1-for-2 2-for-2
PATs 3-for-3 2-for-3
Red Zone Scores-Chances 3-of-3 3-of-3
Full Box Score

Michigan went three-and-out and Rutgers went 47 yards in eight plays and took a 6-3 lead on a 45-yard Kyle Federico field goal. But Michigan responded with the first touchdown of the game. Devin Gardner kicked off the drive with a 23-yard pass to Devin Funchess and then the two connected for eight yards. Three plays later, Gardner lofted the ball up across the middle and Jake Butt made a one-handed catch for 20 yards to give Michigan a first-and-goal at the Rutgers five. Gardner tried to sneak it in, but was stuffed. On second down, Gardner ran to the right and outran the defense to the end zone giving Michigan a 10-6 lead.

After trading punts, Rutgers took over on its own 20-yard line. Quarterback Gary Nova found a wide open Andrew Turzilli for an 80-yard touchdown catch and run. Michigan blocked the extra point and Rutgers led 12-10.

Michigan couldn’t do anything with its next possession and punted it back to Rutgers, who took possession at their own 12. Nova connected with Desmon Peoples for 33 yards on the first play, but Michigan’s defense held strong to force fourth-and-10. Rutgers ran a fake punt, but Michigan stopped it for a loss of two yards and took over on the Rutgers 43. Six plays later, De’Veon Smith scored from a yard out and Michigan regained the lead, 17-12.

Rutgers got to work with 1:43 remaining in the half and marched right down the field. Facing third-and-goal at the Michigan 7-yard line, Nova dropped back to pass. But Frank Clark shot through the middle untouched for a sure-fire sack. However, Nova shooed him away with a stiff-arm and found John Tsimis in the end zone to put the Scarlet Knights ahead 19-17 and re-take the momentum heading into the half.

Neither team was able to score in the third quarter, but on Michigan’s second possession, Gardner was intercepted at the Rutgers 41. The Scarlet Knights capitalized, going 59 yards in 10 plays, and capping it off with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Nova to Turzilli.

Michigan wasn’t dead yet, however, as offensive coordinator turned to the run game to pound the ball down the field. Derrick Green ran for eight yards, eight yards, and 21 yards to get to the Rutgers 32. Gardner rushed for eight and Smith five giving the Wolverines a first down at the 19. Gardner rolled to his right, eluded several defenders and raced into the end zone to pull Michigan within two at 26-24 with 9:17 remaining.

Michigan’s defense forced a punt and got the ball back hoping to drive the field for a game-winning score that could take some of the heat off the program. Smith rushed for nine yards and then four for a first down. Gardner hit Khalid Hill for a 12-yard gain, and two plays later, connected with Funchess for 17. On third-and-eight at the Rutgers 38, Gardner completed a pass to Amara Darboh on the right sideline. Darboh took two steps and dove out of bounds just past the first down marker. But as he hit the ground, the ball squirted out and the play was ruled an incomplete pass. Hoke challenged and it was upheld, giving Michigan a fourth-and-eight from the Rutgers 38 instead of first down at the 28. Hoke elected to attempt a 56-yard field goal, but Wile’s kick was blocked, allowing Rutgers to run out the clock for the victory.

Rutgers finished the game with 476 total yards, 402 through the air. Both of those numbers are the most Michigan has allowed this season and the most Rutgers has gained this season. Michigan gained 336 yards with a balanced effort of 178 through the air and 158 on the ground. Gardner completed 13-of-22 for 178 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception. He also rushed 10 times for 40 yards and two touchdowns. Green led the way on the ground with 74 yards on 12 carries, while Smith had 31 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown. Funchess caught five passes for 71 yards, while Jehu Chesson caught two for 34.

Michigan has now won just three of its last 12 games and hasn’t beaten a power-five school since topping Northwestern in triple-overtime last November 16. The two teams Michigan has beaten since then — Appalachian State and Miami (Ohio) — are a combined 2-9 this season with one of those two wins coming against an FCS school (Campbell) and the other just a one-point victory over 0-6 UMass.

The Wolverines fall to 2-4 on the season and 0-2 in the Big Ten for the first time since 1967. The Wolverines return home to face Penn State (4-1, 1-1) at 7 p.m. EST next Saturday.

Michigan-Rutgers game preview

Friday, October 3rd, 2014


Game Preview_Rutgers_banner

It has been a trying week for the Michigan football program after a loss to Minnesota — just the fourth in 46 years — and the controversy that has followed from a hit taken by quarterback Shane Morris that resulted in a concussion. It has been talked about not only on ESPN, but NBC Nightly News, the Today Show, Good Morning America, 60 Minutes, and more. For the players and coaches, Saturday can’t get here soon enough, but the big question is whether the team can use the adversity as a galvanizing force or whether the distractions will sink the team even further.

UM-Rutgers-small-final
Quick Facts
High Point Solutions Stadium – 7 p.m. EST – BTN
Rutgers Head Coach: Kyle Flood (3rd season)
Coaching Record: 19-12 (all at Rutgers)
Offensive Coordinator: Ralph Friedgen (1st season)
Defensive Coordinator: Joe Rossi (1st season)
Returning Starters: 15 (8 offense, 7 defense)
Last Season: 6-7 (3-5 AAC)
Last Meeting: 1st meeting
All-Time Series: 0-0
Michigan in New Jersey: Michigan leads 2-0
Brady Hoke vs Rutgers: 0-1 (Ball St. lost 52-30 in 2008)

The road has been a thorn in Hoke’s side since he arrived in Ann Arbor and that’s just where the team is headed this week. Perhaps it can become a place of calm away from the circus that Ann Arbor has become. The venue, however, will be anything but calm, as Rutgers announced its second sellout of the season and just the fifth since 2009. It’s also a night game and has been denoted as this season’s “blackout game”, which means although small compared to the Big House (52,454 capacity), High Point Solutions Stadium will be electric.

It’s the first ever meeting between college football’s two oldest FBS programs. Michigan calls itself Team 135 because this is the 135th season of Michigan football. But Rutgers began playing in 1869, 10 years earlier, known then as the Queensmen. Rutgers beat Princeton 6-4 in the first game and then lost to Princeton 8-0 a week later. Those were the only two games played between the only two college football teams at the time, and both claim a national title.

Head coach Kyle Flood is in his third season at Rutgers and his third straight season in a different conference. The former offensive line coach and assistant head coach under Greg Schiano took over in 2012 when his predesessor left for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In his first season, Rutgers tied for first in the Big East, but the caveat would be that four of the eight teams in the conference shared the title, all with 5-2 records. Rutgers had a chance to win it outright by beating Louisville in the final week, but the Cardinals won 20-17 and ultimately earned the conference’s BCS berth. Rutgers then lost to Virginia Tech 13-10 in the Citrus Bowl. Flood shared Big East Coach of the Year honors with then-Louisville head coach Charlie Strong.

Flood lost both of his coordinators following the 2012 season and brought in former Kansas State head coach Ron Prince to run the offense. After a 52-51 overtime loss at Fresno State to open the season, Rutgers won four straight, including a four-point win over Arkansas and a 55-52 triple-overtime thriller over SMU. But then the wheels fell off. They went 2-6 the rest of the way with a 29-16 loss to Notre Dame in the Pinstripe Bowl to end the season.

Prince’s time in Piscataway would be short-lived as he jumped to the Detroit Lions following the season, and Flood replaced him with former Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen. Flood also fired defensive coordinator Dave Cohen, who had been promoted from linebackers coach prior to the 2013 season, and promoted special teams coach Joe Rossi. Needless to say, Flood has faced plenty of turnover in his short tenure thus far and hopes the move to the Big Ten will provide more stability.

Rutgers comes into this game with a 4-1 record, but is still looking for its first Big Ten win. Penn State came to New Jersey and beat the Scarlet Knights 13-10 in Week 3 in their first ever Big Ten contest. Rutgers has wins over Washington State (41-38), Howard (38-25), Navy (31-24), and Tulane (31-6). Let’s take a look at the matchups.

Michigan defense vs Rutgers offense: When Rutgers has the ball

Friedgen’s offense currently ranks 66th nationally in scoring (30.2 points per game), 67th in total offense (416.8 yards per game), 56th in rushing (176.2 yards per game), and 63rd in passing (240.6 yards per game). They also rank 73rd in third-down conversion percentage (40.3).

Gary Nova threw five interceptions against Penn State but has just two in the other four games (Mel Evans, AP)

Gary Nova threw five interceptions against Penn State but has just two in the other four games (Mel Evans, AP)

Quarterback Gary Nova has been a hot and cold quarterback his entire career and that’s no different this season. He has completed 64 percent of his passes for 1,197 yards, 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions. But five of those interceptions came in a 13-10 loss to Penn State, a game in which he completed just 15-of-30 passes and no touchdowns. Aside from that game and a Week 4 win over Navy in which Rutgers rushed for nearly 300 yards, Nova has thrown for an average of 285 yards with 10 touchdowns and just to picks in the other three games.

Like Michigan with Devin Funchess, Nova has one very good receiver to throw to and a bunch of others. Junior Leonte Carroo is already just three yards short of his 2013 season total with 475 receiving yards on 25 receptions and five touchdowns. He has had two 100-yard-plus games, including a six-catch, 140-yard, three-touchdown performance last week against Tulane. The only other player on the team with double-digit receptions is sophomore Janarion Grant, who has 10 catches for just 90 yards. Fellow sophomore John Tsimis has nine for 110 yards and two scores, while senior Kansas transfer Andrew Turzilli is second on the team in receiving yards with 182 yards on just four catches. His total is aided by a 93-yard touchdown. Junior tight end Tyler Kroft entered the season as one of the Big Ten’s best, but has been held without a catch in three of the first five games and played just six snaps last week due to an injury. He should be healthy and ready to go tomorrow, however.

The Rutgers offense took a huge hit when starting running back Paul James tore his ACL against Navy two weeks ago. He had 363 rushing yards (5.8 yards per carry) and five touchdowns to go along with 120 receiving yards and two more touchdowns prior to his injury. Last season, James rushed for 868 yards and nine touchdowns despite missing four games with a leg injury. This is a huge loss to the Scarlet Knight offense. In his place is 5’8″, 175-pound sophomore Desmon Peoples, who has 288 yards (4.3 yards per carry) but no touchdowns so far this season. His production has picked up since James went down, as he is averaging 82.5 yards, but just 4.1 yards per carry the past two weeks. Fellow sophomore Justin Goodwin filled in for James in the four games he missed last season, but moved to cornerback in fall camp. He started the season opener and recorded an interception, but switched back to his old position in Week 3. In two games played at running back the past two weeks, Goodwin is averaging 93 yards and 4.9 yards per carry.

The offensive line is an experienced unit that returned all five starters from last season with 99 career starts between them.

Michigan offense vs Rutgers defense: When Michigan has the ball

The defense returned just five starters from last season and currently ranks 66th nationally in scoring defense (30.2 points per game), 80th in total defense (408.8 yards per game), 49th in rush defense (130.4 yards per game), and 105th in pass defense (278.4 yards per game). And while the Rutgers defense allows opponents to convert third-downs 43.4 percent of the time (91st nationally), it leads the nation with 21 sacks.

Tackle Darius Hamilton leads Rutgers with 3.5 sacks and will be a big test for Michigan's offensive line (Rich Kane, Icon SMI)

Tackle Darius Hamilton leads Rutgers with 3.5 sacks and will be a big test for Michigan’s offensive line (Rich Kane, Icon SMI)

A year ago, Rutgers had the fourth-best rush defense and fourth-worst pass defense in the country. The disparity isn’t so stark through the first five weeks of this season, but as you can see from the rankings above, the Scarlet Knights are still much more adept at defending the run than the pass. The sack yardage certainly helps the rush defense numbers, but it also shows that when they can’t get to the quarterback, they’re vulnerable through the air.

The defensive line is anchored by junior tackle Darius Hamilton. The 6’4″, 255-pounder has 3.5 sacks and six tackles for loss so far. Joining Hamilton in the middle is nose guard Kenneth Kirksey, who has nine tackles and one for loss. Fifth-year senior David Milewski and redshirt junior Djwany Mera are the ends. Milewski has three sacks and six tackles for loss, while Mera has a half sack.

Redshirt sophomore linebacker Steve Longa is the leading tackler with 37 in addition to 1.5 for loss and one sack. The strong side linebacker, redshirt junior Quentin Gause, has 27 tackles, three for loss, and a sack, while the middle linebacker, sophomore L.J. Liston and senior Kevin Snyder, have a combined 27 tackles, 1.5 for loss, and 1.5 sacks.

Fifth-year senior strong safety Lorenzo Waters is the leader of the secondary with 24 tackles, four for loss, two sacks, an interception, and a forced fumble. Fellow fifth-year senior Gareef Glashen is one starting cornerback and has 29 tackles, one interception, and leads the team with seven passes defended. The other corner spot is a rotation between sophomores Anthony Cioffi and Nadir Barnwell, and freshman Dre Boggs. The three have combined for 22 tackles, two for loss, and two passes defended.

Special teams: The other third

Junior kicker Kyle Federico has converted 6-of-8 field goals with a long of 42. He made 12-of-18 last season with a long of 48. Junior Tim Gleeson and redshirt junior Joseph Roth have shared the punt duties, averaging 40.8 and 37.2 yards per punt, respectively. Gleeson’s total ranks eighth in the Big Ten.

Grant is the main return man for both kicks and punts. He’s averaging 20.5 yards per kick return and seven yards per punt return, although Rutgers has just three punt returns all season.

Prediction

Michigan received a big send off from the coaches and athletes of other Michigan teams as they left for New Jersey. With all the animosity swirling around the program after its third loss of the season and a concussion controversy, perhaps the one place Brady Hoke has struggled to win the most — the road — can serve as a rallying point and a springboard for the rest of the season.

Something tells me Devin Gardner will come into the game with a renewed purpose, similar to what we saw when he came in in relief of Shane Morris in the fourth quarter last week. We know he’s capable of putting up big numbers, and the Rutgers secondary provides a great opportunity to get back on track. But he will need protection from the nation’s leader in sacks.

Defensively, Michigan will need to find a way to put pressure on Nova and force him into the mistakes he is prone to make. The loss of James puts more pressure on Nova and the young running backs to step up. If Michigan’s offense doesn’t put the defense in tough positions, it should be able to hold Rutgers offense in check.

When all is said and done, I’m not confident in the line being able to protect Gardner well enough to allow the offense to sustain drives, especially since Rutgers’ defense has been pretty good against the run. Expect a close, back and forth game that goes down to the wire, but Michigan comes up just short. I hope I’m wrong.

Rutgers 24 – Michigan 20

M&GB staff predictions: Rutgers

Friday, October 3rd, 2014


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After losing the Little Brown Jug to Minnesota, Michigan now hits the r0ad where they have struggled under Brady Hoke. Tomorrow, they travel to New Jersey, where they haven’t played in nearly a century, to battle college football’s oldest program, Rutgers, who they have never faced.

Staff Predictions
Michigan Rutgers
Justin 20 24
Sam 17 29
Derick 21 27
Josh 13 38
Joe 20 28
M&GB Average 18 29

Justin: The adversity swirling around the program right now will serve as a galvanizing force that the team will rally around in New Brunswick. Devin Gardner will play with a purpose like he showed in his brief time last Saturday in relief of Shane Morris, and the Michigan offense will look better than it has all season against power-five teams.

Unfortunately, it won’t be enough. Rutgers leads the nation in sacks and Michigan’s offensive line hasn’t shown it is capable of protecting the quarterback yet. While the offense will move the ball, it will get bogged down by untimely sacks. The defense will look to capitalize on Gary Nova mistakes, but the home crowd will carry Rutgers to a narrow win.

Rutgers 24 – Michigan 20

Sam: It’s amazing what a couple weeks of college football can do, eh? Just about a month ago, Ann Arbor was a frenzy of excitement, a melting pot of hope for the football team. Fast forward five games and we have easily the most discontent fan base in America, a massive concussed-player-left-in-the-game controversy on our hands, an athletic department and coaching staff that contradict each other on every possible occasion, a petition with more than 11,000 signatures calling for Dave Brandon’s removal making the rounds, and students marching on the (U of M) president’s lawn. And, oh yeah, Brady Hoke is the deadest of dead men walking.

With two straight embarrassments on the football field, Michigan faces what looks to be a serious uphill battle to even make a bowl game. What’s even worse is that Devin Funchess and Jabrill Peppers’ statuses are still up in the air. With a road game at Rutgers this Saturday, I’m not hopeful at all despite a growing sentiment that the players will certainly be fired up for this one. I’ll take the Scarlet Knights.

Rutgers 29 – Michigan 17

Derick: Michigan needs to get away from Ann Arbor, where the fans and media are up in arms about the team’s actions both on and off the field. Though the team has struggled on the road under Brady Hoke, it may benefit from getting away from the distractions and playing far from home.

That being said, the Michigan team that showed up each of the last two weeks is nowhere near strong enough to compete with teams in the Big Ten, and Rutgers finished off an unbeaten non-conference slate last weekend. I think Michigan will fall in New Jersey, despite a much cleaner performance with Devin Gardner back under center.

Rutgers 27 – Michigan 21

Josh: I want to believe Team 135 has some fight in them and will rally around their coach and go out and win one for the Hokester. I want to believe but what we’ve seen on the field is just about the polar opposite of fighters. The offense has regressed at a pace no one thought possible and now even the defense is stepping back. Rutgers isn’t all that great, but Michigan’s road woes (and offensive woes this season) spell doom for our beloved Wolverines.

The good news is Rutgers’ defense isn’t all that great, yardage wise anyway. The bad news is they can get to the quarterback, which basically means Michigan will lose. More good news is one of Rutgers’ running backs (Paul James) is out for the season so that might help ease the pain of the beating they’ll get. Aside from the monstrosity that was the Penn State game (five interceptions) the Knights’ quarterback, Gary Nova, has been pretty solid and I expect more of the same against a Michigan secondary that will likely be without its best player, Jabrill Peppers, who Desmond Howard said was the only kid on the roster who looked like he wanted to be great and wasn’t just going through the motions.

If the Penn State version of Gary Nova (turnover happy like Gardner can be) shows up, then Michigan might actually stand a chance. How much of a chance is anyone’s guess and at this point I’d be willing to bet there aren’t many of us going out on a limb to say it’s a good one.

Michigan can win this one. I know I was down on this team heading into the season (8-4) and I’ve been vocal on Twitter that Hoke may be in over his head and can’t develop these kids to save his life and Devin Gardner is basically Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but hear me out. We’ve seen what Devin Gardner can do when he’s on (Notre Dame and Ohio State last year). If, and it’s a BIG IF, he’s on he could single-handedly win this one. However, when he’s bad he’s so bad it’s like a car wreck you can’t look away from. That said, Gary Nova was Devin Gardner bad against Penn State. So if that Nova shows up AND good Gardner shows up Michigan can win this game.

That said, I don’t think either of those happen and Michigan falls farther into the abyss. Sadly, it’ll just make the Harbaugh supporters even louder. Honestly, I don’t see why either of them would come to Michigan and I’ve set my sights on more realistic (though still optimistic) targets, like Dan Mullen. Anyway….Michigan loses and we all look forward to basketball season and another potential Final Four run. Thank God for John Beilein. This must be how Sparty felt until recently: great basketball and horrendous football.

Rutgers 38 – Michigan 13

Joe: This is becoming more and more difficult to predict, watch and ultimately, enjoy on my Saturday afternoons. As much as it hurts to watch this team go through their offensive struggles and defensive lapses, I’m still a die hard fan and will pull for them no matter what.

I’m looking for something to hang my hopes on each week and have decided to concentrate on two of the young guns. Derrick Green on offense and Jabrill Peppers back on defense. They have shown some promise, in bunches at times, and they will need to keep it up this week against a “pumped up” Rutgers squad.

Rutgers senior quarterback Gary Nova has been extremely accurate at times but can also turn it over when pressured. The key for Michigan will be to get some pressure from the defensive line and mix in some corner blitzes. If they are not able to get in his face, it will be a long night. I think this will be a close game but will only make Hoke’s seat even hotter. As much as it hurts to say, I thing the Scarlet Knights pull one out over our Wolverines.

Rutgers 28 – Michigan 20

Tailgate Tuesday: Pork loin with mustard glaze

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014


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Tailgate Tuesday is our weekly collaboration with Joe from MmmGoBluBBQ. These will be posted each Tuesday throughout the season and each recipe will be themed around that week’s opponent. 

Previously: Hot-’n-Fast pulled pork with Carolina mustard slawIrish stout pepper beefSpatchcock RedHawk,Grilled Ravioli, Smoked “Land of 10,000 Lakes” Catfish.

While researching Rutgers and their most popular tailgating recipes, three common ingredients kept popping up: PORK……PORK……..and more PORK. Since I couldn’t get my hands on a New Jersey “Pork Roll”, I went with the next best thing. A delicious pork loin fit the bill for this week’s recipe. Yay PORK!!!!

Ingredients:

• 2-3-pound pork loin (not tenderloin)
• Basic BBQ rub (equal parts)
• Kosher salt
• White granulated sugar
• 
Dark chili powder
• 
Montreal steak seasoning
• 
A little cayenne or chipotle powder if you like some heat

Brine:

• 1 gallon HOT water
• 
1 cup kosher salt
• 
1 cup brown sugar

Mustard Brown Sugar Glaze:

• 1 cup brown sugar
• 
2 Tbsp flour
• 
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
• 
1 tsp dry mustard

Directions:

Mix brine ingredients and stir until seasonings are dissolved. You may need to heat things up in the microwave or on the stove to get seasonings fully incorporated. Allow to cool. Submerge the pork loin in the brine and refrigerate for 12 – 24 hours. A large ziplock bag works great for this or you can use a food storage bucket as seen below. The brine is a great way to add some flavor and moisture to a great cut of meat. Feel free to add different seasonings to your brine. The only basics are water, salt and sugar.

Once the loin has been brined, it’s time to set up your smoker or grill for indirect heat. I decided to use my rotisserie for this cook, but it is not necessary. I just like playing with my BBQ toys whenever possible. Score the meat by cutting crossways 1/8 inch deep. This will add a little extra surface for our rub and create some extra crunchy bark. We all love some good bark. Leave the fat on the loin. Add a good amount of your BBQ rub and make sure it gets into the cracks of the loin. You can see the scored meat below. I went a little deeper than I planned on, but it still worked. If you are not using a rotisserie, just place the meat on the cool side of your grill.

Pork Loin 1-2

We are shooting for a smoker/grill temp of 275 – 300 degrees. Add some pecan or apple wood chunks (any fruit wood will do) to the lit coals and you are ready to go. We will likely be cooking this for about 90 minutes, depending on the overall size of your loin. We are done when we hit an internal temp of 144 degrees.

After about 45 minutes, you can see the pork start to sweat. This is also where the internal fat starts to breakdown and release some of our moisture. This is where the brine really helps. The loin has very little fat, so the added moisture is needed. Look at those tasty juices trying to escape. MMMmmmmmm…….

After about 70 minutes, my temp was nearing 140 degrees. I decided to make up a glaze to add another layer of flavor. Combine all four ingredients for the glaze and heat up. You can put the glaze in the grill/smoker for about 15 minutes and it will melt everything together. Once you get to 140 degrees, it’s time to brush on your glaze. Brush every few minutes until you reach 145 internal degrees. Remove from the heat and tent with foil for 15 minutes. This allows the juices to settle and keep things tender.

Pork Loin 3-4

After 15 minutes, it’s time to slice and enjoy. These make great sandwiches as well. Not a bad leftover sandwich when you settle in for the NFL games on Sunday. This is one of my favorites and could not be any easier. Don’t be afraid to cook your pork to MEDIUM. Even tho Betty Crocker of the 1950s recommends we cook our pork until it’s void of all moisture, 140 plus degrees is perfect for this cut. ENJOY!

Pork Loin 5-6

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This week’s drink: Detroit CoolerDetroit CoolerDetroit Cooler

Ingredients:

• 4 oz Vernors
• 2 oz vanilla vodka
• 
1/4 of an orange

Combine ingredients over ice and finish with a fresh squeeze of an orange wedge.

Thanks to www.sypsie.com for this great drink recipe. Very refreshing and incorporates our favorite Michigan drink. VERNORS.

For more great recipes, photos, and barbecue ideas, follow Joe on Twitter at @mmmgoblubbq. And don’t forget to check out his site, MmmGoBluBBQ, for recipes, product reviews, and more.

Five-Spot Challenge 2014: Rutgers

Monday, September 29th, 2014


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First of all, sorry for making “Twitter handle” a mandatory field in last week’s Five-Spot Challenge. It was not intended to be, and won’t be in the future for those of you who don’t have Twitter.

Congratulations to first-time contestant GengIsKhan for winning despite a poor showing for the team on the field. GengIsKhan was the closest to predicting the yard line Michigan’s first drive would end. The Wolverines made it to just the 26-yard line and his prediction of 31 was just five away. He was also just four away from the combined uniform number(s) of Michigan’s first touchdown (4) with a prediction of eight (Shane Morris to Devin Funchess) and just six away from Funchess’ longest reception (14). For his win, GengIsKhan wins a $20 M Den gift card.

Season-long leader Kfarmer16 finished second last week, 34 points behind the winner, to maintain a narrow three-point lead the Week 4 winner, freezer566, who came in third this week. KashKaav was the only participant to correctly predict that De’Veon Smith would score Michigan’s first touchdown. Eight of the 22 contestants predicted Derrick Green, while four predicted Devin Gardner to Funchess. For question two, seven of the 22 contestants thought Michigan would score on its opening possession and only four were correct in predicting that Michigan wouldn’t make it past midfield.

Everyone underestimated David Cobb’s rushing yards (183). Bluwolf77 was the closest, just 48 away with his prediction of 135. Bigboyblue was the closest to Funchess’ longest reception (14 yards) with his prediction of 15. MEKMichigan‘s prediction of 17 was just three away. Finally, not a single contestant predicted that Michigan would not make a field goal. GengIsKhan was the closest with a prediction of 35 yards.

Only two contestants predicted a Minnesota win, but both of them predicted close Minnesota wins (23-20 and 28-27). The average score prediction was Michigan 27 – Minnesota 17.

The weekly results and overall standings have been updated.

Michigan travels to New Jersey this weekend for their first ever meeting with Rutgers. The game will be televised by Big Ten Network at 7 p.m. EST. Rutgers comes into the game with a 4-1 record, and like Michigan, is 0-1 in the Big Ten. The Scarlet Knights will be looking to pick up their first ever Big Ten victory.

Here are this week’s questions: