Jim Harbaugh sees growth from Rutgers football: ‘I’m so impressed…they are really well coached’

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — For one half of football, Rutgers football had No. 5 Michigan on the ropes. The Scarlet Knights had a halftime lead against a Wolverines program that is once again strongly in the mix for the College Football Playoff.

Rutgers went into halftime up 17-14 before Michigan began rolling in the second half of what would become a 52-17 lead for the Big Ten power.

Last season, Rutgers lost 28-21 at Michigan in a game where the Scarlet Knights very nearly tied the game in the fourth quarter. In 2020, Rutgers lost at home to Michigan in triple overtime. The Rutgers performance left a strong impression on Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh.

In this game, Rutgers had a halftime lead before three turnovers in the third quarter completely derailed the momentum from the first two quarters.

“They are a really good tackling team. I’m so impressed. I’ve been a great admirer of Coach Schiano. You can tell that they are a team that practices tackling,” Harbaugh said after the game.

“I bet that they tackle in the spring, they tackle in the fall, they tackle in game weeks. They are really well coached. They are one of the best third down teams that we’ve played against. They are the best punting outfit in the history of college football. I don’t think they’ve given up any yards really in the punt game.”

So what changed in the second half? A Gavin Wimsatt interception early in the third quarter gave Michigan the ball and, eight plays and 54 yards later, a 21-17 lead via a J.J. McCarthy touchdown pass to Donovan Edwards.

Then, thing began to snowball from there and Rutgers wouldn’t score in the second half.

“We played clean football field in the first half. The penalties kind of disappeared. Really, there was no turnovers. It was clean football,” Schiano said after the game.

“To beat a team that’s a National Championship contender, you have to play clean football for 60 minutes. You have to do some things that are a little aggressive and be able to cash in on those things and that’s where we were in the first half.

“But the second half, the roof caved in there a little bit in that time period and it’s hard to go back and catch up.”

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Five things we learned as Rutgers football loses halftime lead, lose to No. 5 Michigan

Rutgers football lost on Saturday to No. 5 Michigan.
Rutgers football lost on Saturday to No. 5 Michigan.

Story originally appeared on Rutgers Wire