Yes, the title has a little stank on it. No one should be celebrating. It just took Michigan four quarters and three overtimes to beat Rutgers in Greg Schiano's first year at the helm. Michigan is still just 2-3 and doesn't really have anything of meaning to play for in 2020.
There were definitely a few things to be encouraged about, but this one shouldn't make anyone feel warm and fuzzy.
1. Cade McNamara
This one is an absolute no brainer. McNamara finished 27-of-36 for 260 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions and he did it after not starting the ball game. Yes, it's against Rutgers, but Joe Milton wasn't getting it done like that and the offense finally felt like it had some flow and consistency.
McNamara looks to have "it" at the quarterback position. He's calm, cool and collected, he plays with great poise, he moves around well in the pocket, throws very catchable balls and is extremely accurate. The future looks bright with him under center.
2. Flashes of great play calling
It took a while, but Josh Gattis really started to dial some things up when Cade McNamara got hot. He took what the defense gave him by calling quick bubbles out to Ronnie Bell and Cornelius Johnson, he called a couple deep shots and McNamara executed them and he got some of his speedy players on the edge. There were some slants called that resulted in first downs and some pretty big, timely plays. All in all, it turned into 497 yards of offense, McNamara's coming out party and obviously a win.
3. The play of Josh Ross
Ross was all over the field. After getting lost on coverage way more than he should for an experienced linebacker against Wisconsin, Ross settled in and made a lot of nice stops against the Scarlet Knights. He led the team with 11 tackles including one for loss and a sack. A couple of his hits were the kind that send a message and he put Noah Vedral on his back a few times even though it was after the ball was gone. There's no doubt that Rutgers is going to look back at the tape and say, "Damn, 12 was all over the place."
4. The young wide receivers
Have a day Cornelius Johnson. The sophomore receiver finished the night with five catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns. Mike Sainristil finished with four catches for 44 yards and a score. Giles Jackson finished with four grabs and 50 yards and Ronnie Bell finished with four receptions for 36 yards. Jackson also added a 95-yard kick return touchdown. The freshmen receivers weren't as involved in this one but it didn't matter. McNamara was buzzing and he spread it around to his young, talented receiving corps.
5. A true running back rotation?
For the first time all season it looked like Michigan had a No. 1 running back in Hassan Haskins and, what do you know? He got into a rhythm and went for 110 yards and a score on 22 carries.
The rest of the backs were used sparingly, including Chris Evans as more of a pass catcher, and that part of the offense was finally productive. McNamara even had some pretty effective runs and the whole offense finally clicked at times. It still wasn't a complete performance, but it was more complete than anything we've seen this year since Minnesota.