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Rutgers football falls short to No. 19 Michigan for 1st loss

Junior running back Isaih Pacheco recorded his first 100 yard rushing performance of the season as the Rutgers football team fell to No. 19 Michigan 20-13 in Ann Arbor. – Photo by Tom Gilbert

The Rutgers football team was defeated 20-13 on Saturday against Michigan. The loss is the first of the season for the Scarlet Knights (3-1, 0-1) and their sixth straight loss against the No. 19 Wolverines (4-0, 1-0).

Michigan, who started off the game with the football, set the tone immediately with a 74-yard touchdown drive that spanned approximately half of the first quarter. By the time the first quarter ended, Rutgers had responded with a field goal from senior kicker Valentino Ambrosio to make the score 7-3.

The second quarter saw the Wolverines take further control of the game, outscoring the Knights 13-0 to take a 20-3 lead into the break.

After surrendering 20 points in the first half, the Rutgers defense was able to keep Michigan off the scoreboard for the entire second half, prompting a late-game rally by the Knights.

The team scored its first and only touchdown of the game when senior quarterback Noah Vedral found sophomore running back Aaron Young for a 14-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter.

After an Ambrosio field goal cut the Wolverines' lead down to one possession early in the fourth quarter, Rutgers had three more chances on offense to tie the game. After failing to score on the first two of those drives, the Knights’ final possession ended in a fumble by Vedral with 1:49 remaining in the game, allowing Michigan to run out the clock and capture the win.

“We certainly had our opportunity to win the game, and that’s what hurts,” said head football coach Greg Schiano after the game. “Nobody’s here for moral victories — we’re here to win the game, and that’s what we fully expected to do. And we didn’t do that, so it hurts a lot.”

Vedral finished his day with 18 completed passes for 156 yards and one touchdown. Meanwhile, junior running back Isaih Pacheco registered his first 100-yard rushing game of the season with 107 yards. Vedral was the team’s second-leading rusher with 46 yards.

On defense, Rutgers held the Wolverines to a season-low 112 rushing yards after Michigan had rushed for more than 300 yards in each of their first three contests. Junior defensive back Avery Young led the Knights with seven tackles while fellow junior defensive backs Christian Izien and Kessawn Abraham each recorded a tackle for loss. The defense did not record a sack.

For the Wolverines, Cade McNamara ended the game with 163 yards passing while Blake Corum led the team in rushing. Hassan Haskins scored both of Michigan's touchdowns.

Rutgers will return home next Saturday to take on Ohio State. The game is scheduled to kick off at 3:30 p.m. and will be broadcasted on Big Ten Network+.

“We got a bunch of guys in the locker room there that played really, really hard and are really, really hurting,” Schiano said. “But the great thing is that we’re in the Big Ten conference, we get to go home next week, play in front of our fans against a really good opponent, and that’s what we’re going to focus on as soon as we get this one cleaned up.”

For updates on the Rutgers football team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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