It took a season and a half, but redshirt freshman Brandon Peters finally played a legitimate series at quarterback for the Michigan football team.
After fifth-year senior quarterback John O’Korn threw for just 13 yards with an interception, Michigan made the switch to Peters on its fifth drive of the game, who threw for 69 yards and a touchdown.
Peters dropped a lofted pass to sophomore running back Chris Evans late in the first half for his first-ever touchdown pass.
The switch elevated the mood in Michigan Stadium. Leading at halftime against Rutgers, 21-7, Michigan also switched up its game plan.
With O’Korn, the conservative play-calling leaned on the running backs. Michigan would often give the ball to junior Karan Higdon, fifth-year senior Ty Isaac or redshirt freshman Kareem Walker, but the coaches rarely gave O’Korn the green light to pass downfield.
When O’Korn finally got the go-ahead signal midway through the first quarter, he got intercepted.
With Peters, Michigan balanced out its offense. On his first drive, the Wolverines ran five times, passed on three and capped off the outing with a 10-yard rushing touchdown from Higdon.
Michigan’s first touchdown came early in the second quarter, when fifth-year senior fullback Khalid Hill punched in a one-yard touchdown run, capping off a 13-play, 80-yard drive.
But Rutgers, also favoring the run, responded soon afterwards. Receiver Janarion Grant lined up for a direct snap and torched past Michigan’s secondary for a 65-yard touchdown run.
By the end of the half though, Peters’ connection to Evans gave the Wolverines at least some breathing room.