Michigan Football: 3 Keys for Wolverines against Rutgers

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Michigan football starts the Big Ten season entering at 3-0. Looking like a brand new team reminiscent of the early Harbaugh years, the Wolverines look unstoppable. Will they be able to get past Rutgers?

Surprise, surprise, surprise. Michigan football has flown under the radar three weeks into the season. Backed by one of the best run games in all of college football, a vastly improved defense, and a reinvigorated Jim Harbaugh, the Maize and Blue are back folks.

But this week is different. This Saturday concludes the out-of-conference play and begins Michigan’s road to Indianapolis, Indiana, and a Big Ten championship.

The opponent on deck this week, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, enter the matchup in Ann Arbor 3-0 as well. Led by prodigal son twice returned, Greg Schiano, Rutgers is no longer a Big Ten basement dweller, but a legitimate team that needs to be respected.

What does Michigan need to do come kickoff to win the game? Here are their three keys to victory. Let’s get into it.

1. Stop Isaih Pacheco

Through three games, Pacheco has accounted for three touchdowns. Don’t be misled, Pacheco is the best Rutgers has to offer and that’s for both sides of the ball. He is a dynamic playmaker who can make a man miss. The ability he has to hit the hole and go will not only be a good test for Michigan for the rest of this season, but it will be a critical factor to this game.

We know what happened last year, Michigan football won 48-42 in 3OT. Why did it get to that point? There was a litany of issues for the Wolverines, but in particular, it was Pacheco who despite averaging 3 yards-per-carry kept the drives alive on multiple occasions and was critical in the passing attack that helped keep them alive throughout that game.

Look for Aidan Hutchinson setting the edge and a revamped interior defensive front featuring the likes of Chris Hinton, Mazi Smith, and Oregon State Beaver transfer Jordan Whittley to remain sound in their assignments. That front will be critical in limiting the Scarlet Knights’ most important offensive feature, and that’s why whether or not they contain and limit Isaih Pacheco is a key to victory come Saturday.