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Running game slowed but Michigan Wolverines still survive with 20-13 win over Rutgers on Saturday

Michigan wide receiver Roman Wilson, left, makes a catch for a 37-yard reception and is defended by Rutgers defensive back Christian Izien in the second quarter in Ann Arbor on Saturday. (AP photo)

By LARRY LAGE

AP Sports Writer

ANN ARBOR — No. 19 Michigan found out, almost the hard way, that its running game can be slowed down.

Hassan Haskins ran for touchdowns the first two times the Wolverines had the ball to help them take a 17-point lead, but the undefeated team had to hold on to beat Rutgers 20-13 on Saturday.

“Gritty game,” coach Jim Harbaugh said. “It wasn’t pretty, but when they start making a space for pretty on the scoreboard then we’ll worry about that.”

Michigan (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) opened conference play by running the ball on its first seven snaps and 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.

“We just couldn’t really find a rhythm and that’s the first time that’s happened when I’ve been in the game,” quarterback Cade McNamara said.

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 wide receiver Roman Wilson, left, makes a catch for a 37-yard reception and is defended by Rutgers defensive back Christian Izien in the second quarter in Ann Arbor on Saturday. (AP photo)