Denny Medley – USA TODAY SPORTS
Last time Michigan went against Rutgers in New Jersey, the Wolverines defeated the Scarlet Knights 78-0.
The game was a blowout, but Rutgers coach Chris Ash didn’t think Michigan was running up the score.
“I don’t think they did anything out of line,” Ash said. “You know, our job is to stop somebody and that’s what we’ve got to do. You guys can go back and reflect and look at what’s happened in the past, the last time they were here.”
Ash knows the challenges that a 8-1 Michigan team presents. He had high praise for the Wolverines.
“Looking ahead to Michigan – it’s a very good football team,” Ash said. “Right now, they’re playing with a lot of confidence. Probably playing as good as any team in the country. In the years that I’ve coached against Michigan, it’s probably one of the best teams that they have had in the way that they’re playing on both sides of the ball.
“So, it’s going to be a tremendous challenge, and great opportunity for us to try and improve against a great opponent here on Saturday.”
Ash pointed out Michigan’s defense as one of the best in the country.
Well, it starts (they’ve) got a bunch of players,” Ash said. “They’ve got guys that have been playing for awhile also. It’s a talented group, it’s a veteran group. They’ve been playing together for quite some time. They play fast, they’re physical, they don’t make a lot of mistakes. They capitalize on offensive mistakes and usually make you pay if you do that. They’re an impressive group to watch.
Michigan isn’t just defined by its offense.
Ash has liked what he’s seen of junior quarterback Shea Patterson so far this season.
“He’s a good player,” Ash said. “He brings a different dynamic to their offense with his ability to run. I think they’re improved in a lot of areas, not just in the quarterback position.”
One area where Michigan has taken a big leap forward is along the offensive line. With the improvements there, the offense has improved drastically.
“I think Ed Warinner has done a nice job with their offensive line,” Ash said. “They’re playing well on the O-line. They’ve got great skill players. On the outside, Peoples-Jones is a great receiver, Higdon is a great running back. You put all of that together – good offensive line, good quarterback play and good skill players on the outside – you get good results. That’s why there’s so (many) points they’ve been able to score.”
Ash knows this is one of the best teams in the country. There’s a chance a game like two years ago happens again.
“It is what it is,” Ash said. “You know, nobody did anything out of line. It’s our job to play better, and that’s what we need to do this Saturday.”