Friday, November 11, 2011

Illinois Preview

Time: 3:30 EST
Location: Memorial Stadium
Weather: Partly Sunny high of 57, Windy with gusts 19-40 MPH
Line:  Illinois -1

After a week of Big Ten schools making national news, we almost forgot we have a game this week.  BTW: If you missed it, yesterday Ohio State got the NCAA "Failure to Monitor" violation.   The Big Ten Office must be just loving all this Positive News! 

Speaking of the Big Ten this year.  It seems nobody can play on the road.  I think maybe the best road win all year was Northwestern's upset of Nebraska last week.   Illinois is coming off a bye week and Michigan is coming off a loss to Iowa.  

If you remember last year, I think Michigan won 100-99 which got the Wolverines bowl eligible for the first time in two years.  Even though that was a win, that game did nothing to help Rich Rodriguez get a 4th year in Ann Arbor.   Both teams are better on defense this year but both teams have struggled lately. 

Illinois is on a 3 game losing streak which include losses to OSU, Purdue and Penn State.  Michigan is 1-2 in it's last 3 games with only a win over Purdue at home in between road losses.   The one game that sticks out to me is that Ohio State beat Illinois by completing one pass.   Really?  Even though playing well up front on defense the Illinois offense is struggling.   The last 3 losses they have scored 7 - 14 - 7 points.   The 14 came against Purdue. 

Guess What?  This is another no brainer game plan for Illinois.   On defense they will stack the box and try to stop the Michigan run game.   I would assume they tried that against OSU as well.  On offense, they are going to try to get to the edge of the Michigan defense to get the young Michigan linebackers out of position.  I expect a ton of options and sweeps.  The weather is calling for high winds similar to the Michigan State game, so expect each team to keep the passes down to a minimum. 

Tale of the Tape

Michigan's Run Game vs #6 ranked defense = Illinois
Michigan's passing game vs high winds = Wind
Illinois Struggling Offense vs Michigan D = Push
Road Borges vs Home Borges = Road Borges
Intangibles = Illinois Bye Week and Being at Home
Coaching = Advantage Greg Mattison

This game (like the MSU and Iowa games) is in the hands of Al Borges and Denard Robinson.  I believe Denard is hurt.  If I had to guess he has some type of knee/leg issue.   He is not explosive as he was earlier in the season.   I only want to see Devin Gardner if Denard is hurt or needs a blow, that 2 QB package is not fooling anyone. 

Sing Hail to the Victors if..........................
  • If Al Borges has learned anything from MSU and Iowa.  Anything!
  • Denard gets at least 150 yards on the ground
  • Michigan running backs get over 100 yards
  • Denard doesn't turn the ball over
  • The Michigan defense gets some turnovers and even scores points
Say is that an F'ing rerun because I have seen this show before......................
  • Michigan can't move the ball consistency on the ground
  • The wind and Denard's inaccuracy caused interceptions
  • Illinois QB Scheelhaase and Illinois RB's are getting big runs
  • Al Borges continues to not understand how to use Denard effectively
I don't see good news during this game for the Wolverines.  I am just not sold on Al Borges and road games yet.  I think the defense has played well enough to win both games at Iowa and MSU and the Michigan offense has let them down in the red zone when the game is on the line.  

Here is how I see it:
  • Al doesn't understand this offense needs to be in the spread most of the time.
  • Denard is banged up and Devin is not ready
  • The wind is going to effect Michigan taking advantage of a poor Illinois secondary with Roundtree, Hemingway, and Gallon. 
  • The defense will keep it close but will give up some points
I am hoping for a Minnesota 2008 type of surprise from this team, but I'm not expecting it. 

Illinois 24 Michigan 17



dude1984 said...

Like the blog...

I think screens and play action, even without establishing the run, could be very effective for Michigan. Running off tackle seems to be a weakness for Illinois. I would like to see more 2 TE power formations.

On defense, 5 on the line of scrimmage pre-snap and alternating between cover 2 man and zone blitz should be effective.

Chucky Gruden said...

Never.... Go Blue. We win a close game.