Rutgers-Michigan Preview

Published Nov. 3, 2015 1:50 p.m. ET

(AP) - Michigan is preparing for Saturday's game against Rutgers with questions at both quarterback and running back - and trying hard to have a short memory.

Just as the No. 16 Wolverines (6-2, 3-1 Big Ten) tried hard to forget their last-play loss to Michigan State on Oct. 17, they insist the emotional high of their goal-line stand for a 29-26 win at Minnesota last weekend will be short-lived.

"We didn't dwell on (the Michigan State play) long at all. Coach (Jim) Harbaugh told us to live with it and move on," nose tackle Ryan Glasgow said. "The play against Minnesota, I think we'll have the same approach. You can't think just because you do that once, or win a game on a great play, you can't let that blind you as you're preparing."

Glasgow and linebacker Joe Bolden were credited with the tackle on Minnesota quarterback Mitch Leidner's last-gasp sneak attempt. It was the Wolverines' second straight stop from inside the 1-yard-line in the final seconds after they successfully defended a play-action pass on the previous play.

Earlier in that game, Michigan starting quarterback Jake Rudock left the field after suffering what Harbaugh would later call a "torso" injury. On Monday, Harbaugh said Rudock's ability to play Saturday will be determined this week in practice but that he felt he was "further along than I thought he would be."

Harbaugh said "there's no magic formula" for determining Rudock's availability on Saturday other than he would not put him in a position to further injure himself.

"We'll go with the player that is our best option, the player that gives us the best chance to win," he said.


The Wolverines will apparently be without tailback Ty Isaac, who does not appear on the team's weekly depth chart. When asked for clarification, Harbaugh said it's "an internal matter." Asked for further comment, he said "I'll keep you posted," and, after a pause, added: "None of your business. That would be another way to say it."

Michigan faces Rutgers (3-5, 1-5) with a goal of trying to get its defense back on track against a Scarlet Knights team that has been outscored 97-17 the past two weeks.

After six games, the Wolverines' defense was the top-ranked unit in the country in points allowed (6.3 points), No. 2 in total defense (181.3 yards) and passing yards allowed (115.5 yards) and No. 3 in rushing yards allowed (65.8 yards).

In its last two games, Michigan's opponents have scored a combined 53 points and amassed 847 yards - 645 through the air.

The Wolverines have jumped up one spot to No. 2 in the country in rushing yards allowed thanks to the strong play of their defensive line, a group that didn't allow an inch to the Minnesota offensive line on that final play of the game.

After going head-to-head with that line in practice, Michigan offensive lineman Erik Magnuson said he felt sorry for his Golden Gophers counterparts.

"We're pigs, but they're like extreme wild boars," he said. "I feel bad for them. That's a tough situation to be in."

Rutgers' offensive line might not find things much more pleasant in Ann Arbor. The Scarlet Knights didn't score an offensive touchdown in a 48-10 loss at Wisconsin last Saturday, totaling eight first downs and averaging just 2.8 yards per play.

They didn't have any trouble moving the ball on the Wolverines last season. Rutgers piled up 476 yards - 402 passing - in a 26-24 win Oct. 4 in Piscataway.

Much has changed in the past 13 months, though, and current Scarlet Knights quarterback Chris Laviano will find his job even more difficult if Leonte Carroo can't go.

The senior leads the Big Ten with nine touchdowns, but suffered an ankle injury Oct. 17 against Indiana, played one half the next week against Ohio State and missed the loss to Wisconsin. Carroo is considered questionable for this one.

Rutgers has been outscored 243-85 in six straight road losses to ranked opponents dating to 2010.