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Michigan Wolverines vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights: Preview, Predictions and Prognostications

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When: October 8, 2016; 7pm ET
Where: Piscataway, NJ; High Point Solutions Stadium (52,454)
TV: ESPN2
All-Time Series: 1-1 tie
Last Meeting: Michigan Win, 49-16 (2015)
Line: Michigan (-27)

1 Burning Question: How Does Michigan Handle the Road?

It has been good to be a Michigan Wolverine football player so far in the 2016 season. They haven’t had to go anywhere but to their own stadium to play a game so far this season.

That changes this weekend, after five straight home games it is on the road to meet the struggling Rutgers Scarlet Knights. However, the last time these two got together at High Point Solutions Stadium it wasn’t a very fun occasion for the Wolverines.

Of course, the two programs are in a very different spot here, and with a veteran team one would think Michigan would adjust to playing on the road just fine.

But, with quarterback Wilton Speight facing his first game in hostile territory you never know how one will respond to that. We’re guessing it will be just fine given Michigan’s defensive domination and Rutgers’ offensive issues.

2 Key Stats:

— 20. That is number of total points scored by Rutgers in three games against Power 5 opponents. It hasn’t been a fun transition for the Scarlet Knights offense, and that should’ve been expected given the transition to a spread-run attack from the pro-style offense that has been run at Rutgers for about ever. Still, in order to win a game in the Big Ten the Scarlet Knights are going to have to muster up more than a single touchdown. Otherwise, it will continue to be a long season for the defense as it is left out to dry too many times.

— 44.4. That is the scoring average for the Michigan offense this season. It also is the ninth-ranked average in the country so far this season. Considering Rutgers just gave up the farm and then some in a 58-0 loss to Ohio State last weekend, Michigan’s offense has to be licking its chops. Still, Chris Ash has some big time knowledge and a bit of an edge on Harbaugh to date. Will that matter in this matchup? Likely not.

3 Key Players:

Wilton Speight, Michigan QB: As we’ve said before, this will be Speight’s first start outside of the Big House and he has to get this offense going early on. Allowing Rutgers or any other team that has been struggling to hang around may not be a good thing. That will be on Speight and the passing game to try to back off what is likely to be an aggressive scheme from Ash and Co.

Robert Martin, Rutgers RB: Asking anyone to run well against Michigan has been an exercise in futility, but the reality of winning games for Rutgers is that it has to run well. That starts with Martin, who leads the team with 398 yards and a solid 5.6 yards per game average. If he can get loose from time to time and maybe get over the 100-yard mark, Rutgers just may have a chance.

Michael Cintron, Rutgers P: In a game like this field position and NOT KICKING TO JABRILL PEPPERS is of the utmost importance. Rutgers is going to have enough to deal with besides having to worry about a return from Peppers. Cintron has also seen plenty of work already this season, averaging seven punts per game and 38.3 yards per punt. If he is on his game, backing Michigan in to tough situations will be very helpful.

4 Staff Predictions:

Andy: Michigan 52-6
Dave: Michigan 55-3
Phil H.: Michigan 38-7
Philip R-R.: Michigan 41-13
Zach: Michigan 49-3

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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Buckeyes Football

Every Big Ten East Division team’s biggest question after spring football

Spring Football has come to an end, and the East division has stolen all the attention, but did all the questions get answered?

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Michigan’s trip to Rome is in the books, which means the Big Ten has finally and officially wrapped up spring football. Hooray!

But, along with the official end of spring football comes a lot of reflection. Programs will turn to meetings to discuss players, positions and coaching ideas going forward, while the fans will look forward to what the fall may hold for their team.

For us here at talking10, it is time to reflect and ask the tough questions after 15 practices and nationally televised spring football games (if you want to call them that). So, what are the big questions being asked across the Big Ten?

Last week we took a look at what is being asked around the Big Ten’s West division. This week it is the Big Ten East division’s turn on the hot seat. Can the division that has won the conference crown every year since the new divisions went directional and not ‘Leaders’ and ‘Legends’ on us maintain its hold on the B1G title?

Let’s look across the B1G East division, shall we?

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