Opponent Watch: Week 10

Submitted by Heiko on November 9th, 2012 at 10:41 AM

About Last Saturday:

Jug Half Full - 35, Jug Half Empty - 13

Tom Olmscheid / AP

Get well soon.

May I suggest a bacta tank?

/ runs away giggling.

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The Road Ahead:

 

"This big?" / "No, THIS BIG."

No. 24 Northwestern (7-2 overall, 3-2 B1G)

Last week: Idlecats.

Recap: 

Mmm bokeh.

This team is as frightening as: A guy who shows up to a fight armed with only a Maglite. Except it's not a Maglite. It's a lightsaber. And he is Luke Skywalker. Fear level = 10

Michigan should worry about: Northwestern possesses the best wide receiver in the world. His name is Kyle Prater, and you don't know this because they have been keeping him a secret. They have been saving the surprise. Michigan has no idea what's coming. 

But I do.

Michigan can sleep soundly about: There is no shame in getting beaten by a player who is so elite that his presence at USC violated the laws of competitive fairness, which forced him to transfer to a small liberal arts school in Evanston and wear purple for the rest of his life.

When they play Michigan: Prater will have 12 catches for 170 yards and four touchdowns. 

Next game: @ Michigan.

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Iowa (4-5 overall, 2-3 B1G)

Last game: Iowa 21, Indiana 24 (L)

Recap: Some days you beat Michigan State in overtime. Some days you lose to Indiana because you let Cameron Coffman complete 21 of 33 passes for 315 yards and 3 TDs after you jump out to 14-3, your second early lead all season. 

And then some days you get to play Purdue, and for Iowa, that will be a nice thing to do on Saturday.

AIRBHG update: Damon Bullock was nearly smitten when the left the game grabbing his knee, but then he came back. AIRBHG considers this a warning.

This team is as frightening as: The Sick Man of the B1G, which is the Sick Man of BCS conferences. Fear level = 3.5.

Michigan should worry about: What if Denard doesn't get to play on Senior Day? This is a seriously depressing possibility, especially if he doesn't play against Northwestern. I'm going to go cry now.

Michigan can sleep soundly about: Either way, Senior Day is going to be epic. 

When they play Michigan: SHOW UP ON TIME.

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Ohio State (10-0 overall, 6-0 B1G)

Last game: Illinois 22, Ohio State 52 (W)

Recap: Illinois played a surprisingly competitive game once you discount the entire second quarter.

Next game: Bye

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Objects in Mirror:

No. 1 Alabama (9-0 overall, 6-0 SEC)

Last game: Alabama 21, No. 5 LSU 17 (W)

Recap: It bleeds and cries. Just like the rest of us.

Next game: vs. No 15 Texas A&M

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Air Force (5-4 overall, 4-1 MWC)

Last game: Air Force 21, Army 41 (L)

Recap: Five turnovers will usually end in bad things happening.

Next game: @ San Diego State

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UMass (0-9, 0-5 MAC)

Last game: UMass 0, Northern Illinois 63 (L)

Mike Cox: 25 carries, 81 yards

Next game: @ Akron

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No. 4 Notre Dame (9-0 overall)

Last game: Pittsburgh 26, Notre Dame 29 3OT (W)

Recap: Rainbows above Notre Dame Stadium.

Next game: @ Boston College

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Purdue (3-6 overall, 0-5 B1G)

Last game: Penn State 34, Purdue 9 (L)

Recap: The person who set the line (Purdue +3) was fired in the second quarter.

Next game: @ Iowa

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Illinois (2-7 overall, 0-5 B1G)

Last game: Illinois 22, Ohio State 52 (L)

Recap: Registered a safety and two touchdowns. That's progress.

Next game: vs. Minnesota

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Michigan State (5-5, 2-4 B1G)

Last game: No. 20 Nebraska 28, Michigan State 24 (L)

Recap: I don't want to talk about it.

Next game: Bye

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No. 20 Nebraska (7-2 overall, 4-1 B1G)

Last game: No. 20 Nebraska 28, Michigan State 24 (W)

Recap: I DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT.

Next game: vs. Penn State

Comments

A2Wildcat

November 9th, 2012 at 11:39 AM ^

There have been a myriad of factors affecting Prater's production (or lackthereof) this year.  

First and foremost, Northwestern just isn't passing as much as it has when Bacher, Kafka, or Persa were at the helm.  (Mc)^2Call has decided that the combination of Colter, Mark, and (to a lesser extent) Trumpy in the backfield is just too sexy to ignore and has consequently migrated the offense to a run-first spread. As a result, EVERYONE in our ridiculously deep WR core has gotten fewer catches.

Furthermore, as I alluded to earlier, our WR core is deeper than spoken-word night in the East Quad basement.  When your transfer from USC is having to compete for spots with RS Freshmen and sophomores, you know that you're recruiting pretty well at WR.  All things considered however, Prater is getting his fair share of playtime which brings me to point number 3: he's contributing, just not catching.

Prater has however shown a lot of proficiency with his downfield blocking.  While the rest of our WR core often looks a little anemic when asked to block for Colter/Mark/Trumpy, Prater has been consistently opening holes in the secondary with his vicious "blocks" (sometimes pronounced: "holds").  Of course it's kind of hard to catch when you're trying to beat your DB to a bloody-pulp with his own helmet, so naturally Prater has fallen behind in the statlines.

Finally, Prater has been really effectively covered so far.  So far, our opponents have been VERY respectful of Prater and have given him plenty of cushion.  Normally this would open lots of quick passes, but for whatever reason (Colter isn' tall enough to see Prater, Prater can't run a hitch to save his life, Siemian is programmed to always throws to Colter when he's in, etc.) it hasn't worked out this year.  Chances are he'll get loose eventually, but I don't think it'll happen until Illinois.