Week 6 NCAA Football Picks: Michigan Wolverines at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Gary Nova has a 64 percent completion rate this season.
Gary Nova has a 64 percent completion rate this season.

Time: 4 PM ET
Spread: RUT -2
Total: 45.5

Betting Odds courtesy of Bookmaker

It’s been a rough ride for the 2-3 Michigan Wolverines, and the path isn’t expected to get any easier facing Big Ten rival Rutgers. The Rutgers Scarlet Knights are 2-point favorites against the Wolverines in a game which has big implications for two teams that have begun conference play 0-1.

The Wolverines began the season 2-1, but it was bittersweet since the one
‘L’ was a 31-0 shutout to then-No. 16 Notre Dame. Following a win against Miami (OH), Michigan dropped week 4 & 5 matchups to Utah and Minnesota by a combined score of 56-24 in the two games.

Devin Gardner has been a good QB in the craziness, though. He’s thrown for 733 yards on 63.3 percent completion, but has thrown too many interceptions (6) and only has five TDs on the year. His QB rating of 130.7 is solid, though.

In the backfield, both Derrick Green and De’Veon Smith have been effective. Together, they have rushed for 648 yards with six TDs between them. Smith is averaging 6.8 yards per carry, and both backs have long runs of over 60-yards.

The best Wolverine wideout has been Devin Funchess, who has caught for 321 yards on 24 receptions (13.4 yards per reception) and has three of Gardner’s five TD passes. He’s battling a leg injury but is expected to play. Amara Darboh has been solid too, with 142 yards and a TD. Jehu Chesson also averages double-digit yards per reception, with 117 yards on 11 catches.

Rutgers is 4-1 on the season, but has more or less beat the teams it was supposed to (Washington State, Howard, Tulane and Navy) while losing to the team it was supposed to lose to (Penn State in week 3). Having played rather weak opponents has given the Scarlet Knights deceiving stats. The team ranks 64th in passing yardage and 58th in rushing yardage, while averaging 30 points per game. Against Penn State, it managed just 10. Still, the Knights are averaging plus-9 in point differential.

Gary Nova is putting the accents on a fine career at Rutgers. He’s already thrown for nearly 1200 yards, with a 64 percent completion ratio. Nova has thrown seven INTs to 10 TDs on the year, but it’s hard to argue with his 171.7 QB rating and 10.78 yards per reception.

Paul James and Desmon Peoples have both been workhorses in the backfield, and James has already rushed for five TDs and 363 yards on 63 carries (5.8 yards per carry). Peoples has averaged 4.3 yards per carry on 67 carries.

WR Leonte Carroo has been the primary beneficiary of Nova’s passing. He leads the team in receptions (10), yardage (475) and TDs (5). Carroo has been good for 19 yards per reception, as well. Nova needs more options, since only one other receiver (Jenarion Grant) has more than 10 catches on the season.


MICH- UNDER 5-0 in last 5 road games; UNDER 4-0 in last 4 games vs. teams with winning records; 0-4 ATS in last 4 overall.

RUTG- 6-0 ATS in last 6 games after accumulating 450 yards or more in previous game; UNDER 8-1 in last 9 home games vs. teams with losing road records; UNDER 7-1 in last 8 games after accumulating 450 total yards in previous game.

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