Location: Ross-Ade Stadium
Weather: High of 54, Partly Cloudy
Line: Michigan -3
Back at it for the Wolverines who have had to sleep on than poor performance in South Bend for two straight weeks. Now they are back in Indiana for a match-up with Purdue in West Lafayette. The Wolverines have not played well on the road and they don't seem to play well in Southern Indiana either.
Purdue's best effort of the year was against ND in a close loss. The rest of their games have been against the likes of Eastern Michigan, Eastern Kentucky and Marshall. Purdue seems to always have an NFL quality defensive lineman and this years team is no exception with Kawaan Short who is not short on talent. The Michigan offensive line will have their hands full keeping him from hitting Denard.
For Michigan there is one question mark that could mean a win or a loss: which Denard is going to show up? If it's the 2011 Nebraska and OSU game Denard then Purdue is in trouble. If it's the 2012 ND Denard then Michigan's dreams of a Big Ten Championship could take a major hit.
Tale of the Tape:
Michigan Run Game vs. Purdue Defense = Denard & Fitz
Purdue's DB's vs. Michigan WR's/Denard = Push (which Denard will show up?)
Purdue's QB's vs. Perry the ACL Elephant = Perry
Michigan's D vs. Purdue's Spread = Push
Purdue runs a similar spread to RR's offense. They have small quick WR's and will look to get the ball in their hands with screen and short routes. Purdue's QB's are Caleb TerBush and Robert Marve. Robert has torn his ACL for the 38th time again this season and practiced a bit this week. He is trying to play through the pain, as this has to be his final year unless the NCAA gives him a 10th year in college.
Is there any mystery to Michigan's strategy? Denard pass to the guys in the White Jersey, Fitz runs, Denard Runs. That's it folks. The only surprise this week from Big Al Borges could be a pass play to Taylor Lewan. The jury is still out if Taylor is going to throw it or catch it.
Sing Hail to the Victors if.......................
- Denard doesn't turn the ball over
- The Michigan D gets some turn overs
- Fitz is effective on the edge and goes for like 125 yards
- Mattison has a good strategy to stop the quick WR's for Purdue
- Michigan's road issues continue
- Denard and good decision seems like a thing of the past
- Short introduces himself to Denard way too many times
- The Purdue QB's & WR's pick apart the Michigan secondary
This is a hard game to pick. Reports have been that Denard has taken the ND loss very hard and has had his head down for over a week and some experts are starting to pick Purdue as the favorite for the Big Ten Championship. If you look at talent on each roster, Michigan wins in a landslide but Purdue is a hard place to play with it's train whistle, big drum and movie clips on the big screen. Their visitor locker room (from the outside) looks to be the size of highway rest stop restroom.
Brady Hoke had a magical first year as the headman at Michigan but he did not win a Big Ten Championship. He continues to preach how the only thing that matters is being in Indy in the Big Ten Championship game. This game will start to show us how good a coach Hoke is. His team has not played well in non-conference games and now the Big Ten season is in his lap. His team mentally seems very down since South Bend. Which Wolverines will we see on Saturday? The one that continues to make mistakes or the one that plays sound football? If they continue to make mistakes, this is going to be a very long year and a sad way to see Denard's career end at Michigan.
Time to play Michigan Football.
Players to watch: Funchess down the middle, Roundtree's final game against the team that he originally committed to and Denard around the edge of the defense. If Big Al can get some run looks early and gets Denard comfortable with some short throws, the Purdue defense can be picked apart. Look for Jake Ryan and true freshman James Ross to be the difference on defense. The defense will set up a couple scores for the offense.
Michigan 38 Purdue 24