Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#345 Rutgers vs.
#346 Michigan
Saturday, September 23, 2023 at 12:00pm EDT
Written by Mark Ruelle

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There will be Big Ten football action in Ann Arbor, Michigan on Saturday afternoon as the Michigan Wolverines play host to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Both teams come into this matchup at 3-0 with Rutgers unranked and the Wolverines ranked #2 in the country. The opening kickoff is slated for 12:00 PM EST.

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Rutgers Rolling

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights football team improved to 3-0 on Saturday in front of a packed house at SHI Stadium with a 35-16 win over Virginia Tech. Rutgers is now 3-0 for the third straight season under head coach Greg Schiano as they prepare for their biggest test of the season in Michigan on Saturday.

"Here is the deal. I want everybody to understand the amount of effort that goes into one game. If you had to think, I have to do this 12 times you would psych yourself out. That's why we say it's a Virginia Tech season. You pour so much into that week, that season, and now tonight you got to take a break and start over and do it again into the Michigan season. If you don't do it -- I don't know, I'm not tough enough to look at it as 12 straight. I got to look at one at a time, and that's why you are team does it. That's really where's it's at. We found a way to be 1-0 in the Virginia Tech season. I'm really happy about that. We didn't play our best at times, but our guys figured it out. That's part of it." Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano said after the game.

Running back Kyle Monangai had a career-high three touchdowns while leading the Scarlet Knights with 143 yards rushing. Quarterback Gavin Wimsatt was 7-of-16 for just 46 yards passing but did throw a touchdown to wide receiver Christian Dremel in the win. Wimsatt also ran for a career-high 87 yards in the game. In all, Rutgers had 302 yards of total offense including 256 yards on the ground. They finished a solid 6-of-13 in third down conversions.

Rutgers' defense was led by linebacker Tyreem Powell's career-high 11 tackles. They forced two turnovers in the game, a fumble recovery by defensive lineman Wesley Bailey and an interception by defensive back Flip Dixon. They had four tackles for loss in the game including two sacks. The Scarlet Knights held Virginia Tech to 319 yards of total offense including just 5-of-15 on third down conversions.

Rutgers heads to Michigan with the 77th ranked offense in the country. They are led by a strong ground attack that is 16th in the nation through three games. Rutgers needs to control the tempo because the team is not efficient through the air. The Scarlet Knights are ranked just 121st in passing this season through three games. Defensively, Rutgers has been stellar thus far. They are ranked 13th in total defense on the season. The team is 15th against the run and 41st against the pass thus far.

Rutgers has done a better than average job at protecting the football through three games. They are 19th in turnover differential at +1.3 thus far. They are also a solid 19th in penalties per game which is crucial for a team that lives and dies with its run game.

Injury Report: OL J. De Croce, WR J. Ofurie, WR N. Brantley, RB A. Young, LB D. Djabome, WR C. Long , and OL T. Needham are all listead as Questionable.


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Welcome Back

The Michigan Wolverines improved to 3-0 after a 31-6 win over Bowling Green on Saturday. The win marked the third and final game played without head coach Jim Harbaugh, who was serving a three-game suspension for recruiting violations that was imposed by the school. Harbaugh returns to the #2 ranked team in the country in time for the Big Ten opener for the Wolverines. Michigan's win was not without error but interim head coach and offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore thinks the team will learn from games like this:

“Humble,” Moore said of having struggles in a victory. “You live, you learn, you continue to progress. As long as you learn from it, you progress and get better. I think you always got to be humble in everything. You’re never going to play a perfect game, but obviously we’ve got some stuff to fix, and we will. We’ll continue to put our head down and work to get to where we want to be.”

Michigan led just 7-6 as halftime neared but went on to score the game's final 24 points to pick up the win comfortably. The Wolverines turned the ball over three times in the first half, all on interceptions from quarterback J.J. McCarthy. McCarthy finished the game 8-of-13 with two touchdowns to along with the three picks. Wide receiver Roman Wilson had two catched for 42 yards including his sixth touchdown catch of the young season. Wide receiver Cornelius Johnson led the Wolverines' receivers with 71 yards receiving on three catches. The Wolverines were led by their rushing attack with 169 of their 312 total yards on the ground. Running back Blake Corum has 12 rushes for a season-best 101 yards and two scores.

On the defensive end, the Wolverines held Bowling Green to just two field goals and 205 yards of total offense. Defensive end Kris Jenkins had his first career interception to set up a second half score and linebacker Michael Barrett recovered a fumble that led to a field goal. They recorded three turnovers in all while adding three sacks and 10 tackles for loss in the game. In the second half, the Wolverines' defense held Bowling Green to just 85 yards without a point.

The Wolverines hope to return to the College Football Playoffs again this season after reaching the semifinals last season before being upset by TCU. The Wolverines currently have the 48th ranked offense in college football. They are 54th on the ground and 58th through the air. The Wolverines have experience and depth on offense and those numbers will likely continue to improve despite the team's struggles against Bowling Green. Defensively, Michigan has the 3rd ranked defense in the country as the Big Ten portion of their schedule begins. Michigan is 22nd against the run thus far and 9th against the pass.

The Wolverines have been a disappointment when it comes to ball security thus far. They are ranked just 77th in the country following last week's three turnover effort. Michigan has been efficient on both sides of the ball as they rank 13th in penalties per game.

Injury Report: DB Amorion Walker, DOUBTFUL, RB Tavierre Dunlap, DOUBTFUL, LB Jimmy Rolder, DOUBTFUL, DB German Green, DOUBTFUL, DB Makari Paige, QUESTIONABLE, DB Rod Moore, QUESTIONABLE, CB Will Johnson, QUESTIONABLE




Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

Insiders Status:


Rutgers is deserving of their 3-0 record and has looked particularly effective in each of the last two weeks in handling a tough Temple offense and then manhandling the Virginia Tech Hokies out of the ACC. This week, however, is a whole different situation facing the nation's #2 team in Ann Arbor. Michigan's defense is the third-best in the country and they will undoubtedly stack the box and force Rutgers to beat them through the air. Rutgers ranks just 121st in the country in passing and, if they are unable to run the ball, it will be a long day. It's going to be a long day. Michigan will dominate the line of scrimmage and make life miserable for Rutgers' 16th-ranked ground attack. On the other side of the ball, head coach Jim Harbaugh's return will bring back discipline and ball security to the Wolverines' offense. Harbaugh's style of offense involves dominating the trenches on the ground to set up the passing game. Don't expect another three-interception afternoon from McCarthy with Harbaugh back in charge. Look for Michigan to make a statement in their first Big Ten conference game of the year and win this one by at least four touchdowns.

Take Michigan -24.

Prediction: Michigan -24

Full-Game Total Pick

Insiders Status:


The Wolverines have a stifling defense that will thrive against the run-heavy Scarlet Knights. In order to beat the Wolverines, a team has to have the ability to be effective both through the air and on the ground. Rutgers' passing attack is amongst the worst in the country. Michigan will stack the box on Saturday and force Rutgers to try and attack them through the air. Don't be surprised to see yet another single-digit score from a Michigan appointment on Saturday. The Wolverines' offense will do much of the damage on Saturday but not enough to get this game over the total.

Take the under.

Prediction: Under 44.5

Written By Mark Ruelle , "Mark Ruelle"

Mark has been a sports fanatic since childhood. He is also an avid follower of sports analytics and has used it in his own betting analysis for over two decades. Now we have Mark on our team here at Stat Salt. He holds degrees in marketing, broadcasting, and English and uses this vast array of assets to dissect and analyze game matchups. Mark will provide you with a wide variety of statistics to consider and a strong opinion in each matchup that he covers. Please follow him daily for an up-to-the-minute analysis of all the important games.

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