Friday, October 9, 2015

Northwestern Preview

Time: 3:30 EST
Location: Big House
Weather: Cloudy, High 62
Line: Michigan -8

Last year, Michigan and Northwestern looked to be trending toward a 0-0 tie and the M00N game became famous.   This year we might see something similar as both defenses are ranked as two of the best ones in the country.  Michigan ranks #2 in total defense and Northwestern ranks #1 in points against just allowing 7 points per game.

Tale of the Tape

NW Passing D vs. Jake Rudock = Northwestern
Michigan RB's vs. NW D = Push
NW Passing Game vs. Michigan D = Michigan
NW Running game vs. Michigan D = Push
Home vs. Being on the road = Michigan

We know Northwestern will spread you out and beat you with the run.  Their talented RB Justin Jackson has had four 100 yard rushing games just this season, he is averaging 127 per yards per game.  Michigan is giving up 74 yards per game on the ground.   Something has to give here. 

Northwestern's defense has started the same 11 guys all year but have been a bit up and down with the run game.  Northwestern running defense was good against Stanford and Minnesota but gave up some yards against Ball State and Duke. Ball State ran for 181 yards and threw for 178 yards.

Northwestern's offense has also struggled in the red zone scoring touchdowns.  They have been in the red zone 17 times this year and only scored 5 touchdowns, which means they kick a ton of field goals. 

Sing Hail to the Victors if.......................................
  • Michigan can run the football successfully
  • Rudock plays clean
  • Michigan can shut down big plays
  • RJS has a good game replacing Mario
  • Michigan scores Touchdowns on offense
Say, I guess Northwestern is pretty good if................................
  • Michigan can't stop the run in the spread
  • Michigan gives NW a short field with turnovers
  • The game is very close late
  • Northwestern's Defense out plays the Michigan D

Most experts think Northwestern beat Stanford at the perfect time, the first game of the year and a Noon EST start.  The Wildcats have played well and there is no doubt about it.   They have only traveled to Duke and the Big House is a much bigger stage.   The only head scratcher was the Ball State game where NW slept walked the first half and turned the ball over 3 times and had to rally to beat Brady Hoke's former team.  

This is going to be an ugly game as Michigan has been known to start slow at times as well.  I'm worried about the QB play on both sides.  Jake has to play "clean" and keep the chains moving.  I'm also worried about the Michigan running game as our RB's are in question and out offensive line has played poorly at times.    If Northwestern's QB can run for first downs and hit big plays in the air, it will be a long day for the Wolverines.   If Michigan can pressure the QB and stay in their rushing lanes, it will be a long day for the Wildcats.    I think a big stat predictor is the Wildcats only scoring 5 TD's in the red zone all year.

This will be a low scoring game,  QB play and which defense plays the best will be the difference.  
Both teams need the win to compete in the Big Ten and continue to earn respect nationally. 

Michigan 20 Northwestern 9

1 comment:

Scott K said...

one of these games, i think we might see Rudock come out throwing, a bunch of short, quick slants and out routes. let Jake find some rhythm and confidence early, moving the chains a couple times with consecutive 5 to 7 yard passes. then the running game might get off to a better start when they're not stacking the box on D and the LB's have to back off a little and defend the pass.

I trust in Jim and staff, they've been making it happen as well as they need to.

GO BLUE! 27-6 Michigan