Though the programs have historically been on two different levels, the Wolverines have a history of allowing the Scarlet Knights to stick in games. Saturday seemed no different for a half as Michigan led only 14-7 heading into the intermission.
However, Michigan would lurch to a comfortable lead after Mike Sainristil jumped a fourth-down screen route to boost Michigan’s lead.
With just under five minutes remaining in the third quarter, Rutgers was driving. Michigan’s defense had been solid all game, save for a 69-yard touchdown on the opening drive. However, Gavin Wimsatt was playing to a different tune in the third quarter. He threw a pair of difficult completions that pushed Rutgers into Michigan territory, but the Knights once again found themselves stuck in the mud. Down 10 with a fourth down situation on hand, the Knights elected to go for it.
The play call was a wide receiver screen. Rutgers lined up with two receivers to the field side and pulled their entire interior offensive line into space, attempting to cut off the slot corner. The boundary receiver cut in towards the QB while the slot WR went to set a block on the cornerback. Fortunately for Michigan, neither of the DBs bit. Will Johnson stuck his man like a third-grade art project while Sainristil undercut the route perfectly. He snatched the ball from the receiver, slipped under Junior Colson on a trapeze-like move, and was off to the races.
Sainristil’s opportunistic and cerebral play flipped all the momentum for the Wolverines. What was a 10-point game turned into a three-possession lead with an offense that had been stuffed time and time again.
The senior captain has proved his worth time and time again. This was one of the many clutch moments Mike has had since moving to DB. The fan-favorite will be looking to boost his draft stock this season and is well on his way to making an NFL roster.