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Michigan football’s Jim Harbaugh on his team’s outlook, QB competition and more
Michigan Wolverines football head coach Jim Harbaugh speaks to the media on Monday, Nov. 16, 2020.
Free Press sports writers make their prediction for Saturday night’s game featuring Michigan football (1-3) and Rutgers (1-3) at 7:30 p.m., on Big Ten Network at SHI Stadium, Piscataway, N.J.
The Wolverines look to end its three-game losing streak when it visits the Scarlet Knights. Michigan has punished Rutgers in each of the past five years under coach Jim Harbaugh, but has never looked this bad.
After a nice win at Minnesota in the opener, Michigan was upset 27-24 by rival Michigan State at home, pummeled 38-21 by Indiana on the road and humiliated at home last week against Wisconsin, 49-11, in perhaps the worst performance in the Harbaugh era.
Rutgers, meanwhile, has lost three straight after winning at Michigan State in the opener. In its first year under coach Greg Schiano, the Scarlet Knights seem more competitive than in recent years. They lost vs. Indiana (37-21), at Ohio State (49-27) and vs. Illinois (23-20). — Marlowe Alter
Let’s get to the picks:
Jim Harbaugh’s program is sliding while Rutgers is rising under Greg Schiano. But the Scarlet Knights aren’t ready to topple Michigan just yet. The Wolverines do just enough to secure their second victory but fail to alleviate the anxiety that is wracking their fan base. Pick: Michigan 28, Rutgers 25
Jim Harbaugh can’t lose to Rutgers. He won’t lose to Rutgers. I think. Then again … nah, it won’t happen. Pick: Michigan 26, Rutgers 16
Michigan has not lost to Rutgers since 2014, its first year in the Big Ten and the last year of the Brady Hoke era. Do I think the Wolverines lose to the Scarlet Knights on Saturday night? No, although it’s certainly possible. It’ll be much closer than in recent seasons — after all, Rutgers just played Ohio State closer — 49-27 — than Michigan has the past two seasons. The outcome could be determined by the type of start the Wolverines have. As we’ve seen, they haven’t responded well to adversity during the past three games. The pick: Michigan 31, Rutgers 26