Michigan Football vs Rutgers: How to watch, injury updates and storylines

Matchup
Michigan Wolverines
1-3
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
1-3
Saturday Nov 21
7:30 ET
Big Ten Network
Michigan -12.5

Michigan football hits the road Saturday to take on Rutgers in a must-win game. Here’s how to watch and stream plus the latest on injuries.

It’s hard to believe that Michigan football finds itself in a must-win situation against Rutgers, but following a 1-3 start, that’s where the Wolverines are.

This game is important for a lot of reasons. For starters, Michigan shouldn’t lose to Rutgers and you can bet Jim Harbaugh wants to extend his perfect 5-0 mark against the Scarlet Knights, but with Greg Schiano in charge, it isn’t as easy as it once was.

Rutgers has also landed a bunch of Big Ten transfers including a couple of former Wolverines. But still, the talent level should drastically favor Michigan football, especially with some positive injury news coming out about Jalen Mayfield and Ryan Hayes.

Chris Balas of the Wolverine (subscription required) indicated that both Mayfield and Hayes would start Saturday. Center Andrew Vastardis won’t and instead, redshirt freshman Zach Carpenter will take his place.

And to be honest, that’s a good move. The coaches should have went to Carpenter after the Michigan State game when Vastardis couldn’t stay out of his own backfield. My assumption is that Carpenter is an upgrade and he keeps the center job the rest of the year.

Honestly, Michigan football has some young talented offensive lineman such as Zak Zinter and if guys aren’t getting it done, they should be starting.

It will be interesting to see if Zinter is starting or not, because Andrew Stueber could be back at guard. If Zinter isn’t a starter, it’s another sign that this staff isn’t playing the best players.

Even so, with the return of its starting tackles and a new center, I would expect the running game to be the focus and my goodness, it should be. And I swear, it a Michigan running back doesn’t get 10 rushing attempts tonight, I’ll absolutely lose it.

Michigan football should be able to overwhelm Rutgers at the point of attack and if this team can’t or won’t do that, then that’s a major concern.

At any rate, here’s all the info you need to watch, listen or steam.

Key Info

Game 5: Michigan at Rutgers

Where: Piscataway, New Jersey

Time: 7:30 ET

TV: Big Ten Network

Stream: Fox Sports App or Fubo TV

Radio: mgoblue.com

Storylines

One thing that hasn’t been talked about for Michigan is what this could mean for the Wolverines’ bowl chances. I’m not sure if people assume bowls won’t be played or that U-M will get a berth regardless of record, but that’s not the case.

If Michigan loses to Rutgers, it would probably need to win three of the last four games to get into a bowl matchup at 4-5. A couple of wins at 3-6 might do the trick, depending on how things work out but you can’t have the 11 or 12th record in the league and hope to get a bowl bid.

Conversely, if Michigan is able to build some momentum this week and then close strong, it could probably still play its way into a better known game.

A determining factor in that could be who plays quarterback, which isn’t something we know at this point. I predicted Milton would start and I still think that’s the case.

However, as in the 2017 game against Rutgers when John O’Korn was pulled after a slow start, Milton will have a short leash and if he struggles early, expect to see Cade McNamara.

As for Saturday, here are three keys to Michigan beating Rutgers for a sixth straight time under Harbaugh. We also break down three Scarlet Knights to watch and examined five reasons why Jim isn’t likely to be fired anytime soon, although a loss to Rutgers could change that.

The pressure surrounding the program going into this matchup is the biggest storyline and either Michigan can start to change that narrative with a win or it will be completely overwhelmed by it.