ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Hassan Haskins ran for touchdowns the first two times No. 19 Michigan had the ball and the undefeated Wolverines had to hold on to beat Rutgers 20-13 on Saturday.
Michigan (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) opened conference play by running the ball on its first seven snaps and Jim Harbaugh’s conservative game plan almost cost him. After leading 20-3 at halftime, the Wolverines failed to pick up a first down on their first four possessions in the second half.
The Scarlet Knights (3-1, 0-1) rallied from a 17-point, third-quarter deficit to pull within seven early in the fourth quarter, but Valentino Ambrosio missed a short field goal. On their next possession, they turned it over on downs and fell to 1 of 4 on fourth down.
Michigan ended its drought without a first down late in the fourth quarter to set up a 47-yard field goal and a chance to earn a two-score lead, but Jake Moody missed it.
That gave Rutgers the ball with 1:49 left and no timeouts. Two snaps later, quarterback Noah Vedral fumbled for his team’s first turnover of the season to seal the defeat.
Michigan entered the game averaging 350.3 yards rushing to lead the nation and was held to just 112 yards on the ground. Blake Corum was limited to 68 yards — half his average — on 21 attempts and Haskins ran for just 41 yards on 12 carries. Cade McNamara was 9 of 16 for 163 yards passing for the Wolverines.
Isaih Pacheco had 107 yards rushing for the Scarlet Knights, who won their first three games for the first time since 2012. Vedral was 18 of 31 for 156 yards with a touchdown pass to Aaron Young in the third quarter, starting the comeback that fell short.
Rutgers: The program does not have a win over a ranked team since 2009, taking away any chance coaches and players go home proud of a moral victory.
Michigan: Running the ball early and often worked well before the Big Ten season, but conference teams are going to force McNamara to throw more to beat them.
Michigan might stay where it is, or possibly could slip some in the AP Top 25 after the lackluster victory.
Rutgers: Hosts No. 10 Ohio State next Saturday.
Michigan: Goes on the road for the first time next Saturday to face Wiscons. The No. 18 Badgers were were beaten 41-13 by No. 12 Notre Dame.