Any bounce back the Wolverines provided against Rutgers was always going to be shrouded in the caveat of the opponent. While Wisconsin features one of the nation’s best offensive lines, Rutgers was always going to be overmatched by Michigan’s athleticism. Still, dominating Rutgers beats the alternative.
Had Michigan lost — or even played to a close win — we’d be gathered here to eulogize this football season and discuss the dying pulse of the program writ large. Instead, the Wolverines beat Rutgers 52-0. The Scarlet Knights turned around and fired their head coach Sunday morning, casting their net for a savior to their seemingly-interminable irrelevance.
Against Rutgers, Michigan came out firing. The Wolverines played mistake-free football to start, stuck to their guns and scored within five plays. Then they marched down the field again on the second drive, going up 14-0 before 10 minutes of game time had passed. Call it a result of Josh Gattis calling plays from the field or a result of simply playing a defense as porous as Rutgers’.
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Slowly, time ticked away, and the loss at Wisconsin continued to fade from memory. The clock finally hit zero. Gattis unfolded his arms, embraced his team and, for the first time all year, took a confident stride forward.