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No. 2 Michigan starts slow but finishes strong in 31-7 win over Rutgers

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JJ McCarthy threw a game-clinching 18-yard touchdown pass to Semaj Morgan late in the first half and No. 2 Michigan beat Rutgers 31-7 on Saturday with coach Jim Harbaugh on the sideline for the first times since his service in a school. imposed a three-game suspension.

The Wolverines (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) took a 17-point lead on Mike Sainristil’s 71-yard interception return with 4:31 left in the third quarter. Blake Corum’s second touchdown of the game — his eighth score of the season — gave Michigan a 31-7 lead early in the fourth.

Michigan’s Blake Corum scores second TD against Rutgers

The Scarlet Knights (3-1, 1-1) took a 7-0 lead on the third snap of the game on Gavin Wimsatt’s 69-yard touchdown pass to Christian Dremel, but missed opportunities to score more every quarter.

Corum capped a 94-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to help Michigan tie the game on its second possession and the All-American running back finished with 97 yards on 21 carries. McCarthy finished 15 of 21 for 214 yards with one touchdown and no turnovers, a week after throwing a career-high three interceptions.

Wimsatt completed 11 of 21 for 180 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He ran six times for 28 yards.

Mike Sainristil intercepts Gavin Wimsatt and takes him home

Mike Sainristil intercepts Gavin Wimsatt and takes him home

MISSED OPPORTUNITIES

The Scarlet Knights, with a chance to take a two-point lead, nullified a 27-yard drive with a holding penalty and were called for a false start on third down in the first quarter on a possession that ended in a punt.

Rutgers was called for a false start on fourth-and-one, leaving the Knights with a 51-yard field goal attempt that Jai Patel missed when the score was tied early in the second quarter.

On fourth-and-2 from Michigan’s 27 in the third quarter, Wimsatt was taken off on two plays after officials overturned an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Michigan cornerback Will Johnson. On fourth-and-6 from the Michigan 19 in the fourth quarter, Wimsatt threw an incomplete pass.

TAKEAWAYS

Rutgers: Wimsatt can play through the air and with his legs. Early in the game, he fooled the Michigan defense by keeping the ball on read-option plays.

Gavin Wimsatt connects with Christian Dremel on a 69-yard TD pass, giving Rutgers an early lead against Michigan

Gavin Wimsatt connects with Christian Dremel on a 69-yard TD pass, giving Rutgers an early lead against Michigan

Michigan: Harbaugh’s return from a suspension for violating NCAA rules coincided with the team’s miscommunication on offense, leading the Wolverines to use timeouts that could have been costly if the match was closer.

SERIES

Michigan has 19 straight home wins, its longest streak since 21 straight wins from 1998-2001. The Wolverines have won 29 of their last 32 games.

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FOLLOWING

Rutgers: Hosts Wagner, an FCS program, on Saturday.

Michigan: In its first road game, it faces Nebraska on Saturday.

Associated Press reporting.

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