ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Jim Harbaugh’s return to the sideline coincided with No. 2 Michigan doing what it does best: establishing the run and slowing down opponents on the ground.
Blake Collum ran for two touchdowns and 97 yards on 21 carries as the Wolverines under coach Harbaugh pulled away on Saturday after receiving a three-game suspension from the school for an NCAA recruiting violation. They defeated Rutgers 31-7.
Michigan rushed for 201 yards, averaging 5 yards per carry and giving up just 3.3 yards per run for 77 total yards.
“That was a game that Coach Bo Schembechler would have been really proud of,” said Harbaugh, who played quarterback under the late coach Bo Schembechler in the mid-1980s.
The Wolverines (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) started late and didn’t take their first lead until JJ McCarthy threw a tie-breaking 18-yard touchdown pass to Semaj Morgan late in the second quarter.
Michigan took a 17-point lead on Mike Sainristil’s 71-yard interception return with 4:31 left in the third quarter, two plays after officials waved the flag against the Wolverines.
The Scarlet Knights (3-1, 1-1) took a 7-0 lead on Gavin Wimsatt’s 69-yard touchdown pass to Christian Dremel on the third snap of the game, but added points in each quarter. A missed opportunity.
“There’s no way we’re going to miss an opportunity against a team like that,” Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said.
Colm capped off a 94-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to help Michigan tie the game on its second possession.
“Rutgers was up 7-0, so we knew we needed to score for energy,” Colm said. “That second drive was a big part of the game.”
McCarthy was 15-of-21 for 214 yards, one touchdown and no turnovers, a week after recording a career-high three interceptions.
Wimsatt was 11-of-21 for 180 yards, including a touchdown and an interception. He ran six times for 28 yards.
Kyle Monangai ran for 27 yards on 11 carries for the Scarlet Knights.
“They have a very gap sound, a disciplined team, and they’re physical,” Monangai said. “Anyone who does that is going to have a hard time running the ball.”