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No. 4 Michigan takes on Rutgers as a heavy favorite

No 4 Michigan heads to Rutgers as a heavy favorite and College Football Playoff contender

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By The Associated Press

Thursday, November 8, 2018

No. 4 Michigan (8-1, 6-0 Big Ten, No. 4 CFP) at Rutgers (1-8, 0-6), 3:30 p.m. EST (Big Ten Network)

Line: Michigan by 39.

Series record: Michigan leads 3-1.

WHAT’S AT STAKE:

For Michigan, national title hopes. It might take a miracle for Rutgers to beat Michigan, but the Wolverines also don’t want to mess around and play a close game against one of the worst teams in FBS. The Wolverines are in line to win their first Big Ten title since 2004 and to compete for their first national title since 1997. They just need to get past Rutgers and Indiana for their next major roadblock in the finale at Ohio State.

KEY MATCHUP

Michigan RB Karan Higdon vs. an overmatched Rutgers defense. Higdon has hit 100 yards rushing in seven consecutive games and ranks No. 8 nationally, averaging 120.4 yards per game. He’s 37 yards shy of 1,000 on the season. Wisconsin ran for 317 yards last week against Rutgers.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Michigan: All of them? But how about QB Shea Patterson, who is coming off his fourth, three-touchdown game of the season and was named a finalist for the Davey O’Brien Award. Patterson has thrown for 1,667 yards with 14 touchdowns.

Rutgers: RB Raheem Blackshear can catch it, too. He had a team-high 162 yards receiving yards at Wisconsin, the most receiving yardage in a game by an Rutgers running back in school history. He caught a touchdown pass and posted a career-high 200 all-purpose yards.

FACTS & FIGURES

Nine Wolverines are from New Jersey: OL Juwann Bushell-Beatty, OL Kraig Correll, DL Michael Dwumfour, DL Rashan Gary, DB Brad Hawkins, DL Ron Johnson, DB Hunter Reynolds, OL Cesar Ruiz and OL Jon Runyan. ... Rutgers will host a top-five opponent for the 13th time in program history. The Scarlet Knights haven’t beat a ranked team since a win over No. 23 USF in 2009.

More AP college football: http://collegefootball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25

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