Preview: Wisconsin

Submitted by Brian on November 13th, 2009 at 1:18 PM

wisconsin-logoThe Essentials

WHAT Michigan at #21 Wisconsin
WHERE Camp Randall, Madison, WI
WHEN 12:00 EST
November 13th, 2009
THE LINE Wisconsin –9*
TELEVISION Nationwide on BTN
Gamefinder
WEATHER Around 50, cloudy,
slight chance of rain
 
*Line provided by online sports betting site Sportsbetting.com.

Run Offense vs. Wisconsin

The stats here are grim. Wisconsin may have gone up against a I-AA snackycake but it was a I-AA snackycake that runs the triple option and put up 214 yards on 55 carries: their 1-AA game actually distorts their run defense negatively. There are probably four teams in I-A that can say that.

In the Big Ten, rushing has been near pointless for opponents lately:

Opponent Carries Yards TD YPC
MSU 20 102 0 5.1
Minnesota 23 99 1 4.3
Ohio State 24 114 0 4.8
Iowa 33 94 1 2.9
Purdue 26 82 0 3.2
Indiana 25 70 1 2.8

Michigan State fell behind big in that game, which helps explain how the meh Spartan rushing offense got 5.1 YPC and why they wouldn't go to it more than 20 times if they were picking yards up at such a good clip. Then you've got a decent performance by Minnesota, a good one by Ohio State, and three obliterations. Despite a ton of sacks—about which more later—Wisconsin's stats hold up under scrutiny. This is one of the best rushing defenses Michigan has played, with only Penn State and Michigan State(!)* anywhere in the statistical ballpark.

Michigan's rushing game never got untracked in a bizarrely short game against State, but the more recent outing against Penn State saw three separate rushers crack four yards per carry; erase five sacks for Penn State—about which more later—and Michigan finished the day with 138 yards on 34 carries, 4.1 yards per attempt. This was accomplished with a long run of 17 yards and without David Molk, so there aren't any factors that suggest Michigan won't be able to replicate that performance against the Badgers.

Well, there may be one: Michigan's senior tailbacks have come down with their usual array of minor injuries. According to Rodriguez, Brandon Minor was "day to day" earlier this week after re-emerging as the primary option against Purdue. He was almost entirely absent from the Illinois game. Carlos Brown, the primary guy against Illinois, was hampered with tendinitis against Purdue and saw one carry. Neither was on this week's injury report, but they weren't on the injury report either of the last two weeks. Either or both could be limited and we won't know until their mysterious absence lasts into the second quarter.

I'm expecting something similar to the Penn State game, where the rushing is effective but erratic enough that Michigan can't just pound it all day; a big play or two is a possibility but not a major one. Unless Michigan can get some pass blocking drives will be hard to sustain.

*(Seriously: MSU is 15th in rushing defense, which makes that game earlier this year far less weird.)

Key Matchup: Brandon Minor's ankle versus Everything Good And Holy.

Pass Offense vs. Wisconsin

Wisconsin's been far more vulnerable here when Purdue receivers aren't making Danny Hope's mustache droop and opposing passers aren't arm-punting all day. Ben Chappell, who you will remember as a polished, entirely average sort of fellow:

# Player Att Comp Int Yards TD Efficiency
4 Ben Chappell 35 25 2 323 3   165.8
  Totals 35 25 2 323 3  

If that looks familiar, Ben Chappell against Michigan:

# Player Att Comp Int Yards TD Efficiency
4 Ben Chappell 38 21 1 270 0   109.7
  Totals 38 21 1 270 0  

I'll take any statistic that suggests the opponent's secondary is on par with Michigan's. Please.

The wider view isn't as kind but it does suggest some vulnerability: the Badgers are 65th in pass defense efficiency, and those numbers Wisconsin's stats are probably about right relative to how they've performed. The Purdue game may have been a break but Wisconsin scrubs also gave up two long aerial touchdown drives to Michigan State after that game had descended into garbage time.

The secondary is vulnerable. The problem will be getting to it. Magically delicious Badger defensive end O'Brien Schofield has seven sacks this year and the run stats above required serious extraction to separate the actual runs from the copious sacks Wisconsin has racked up. They're 27th nationally, and remember they basically did not have a I-AA game in this statistic. Michigan is 82nd in sacks allowed despite being 82nd in pass attempts: the pass protection has been really, really bad. Michigan's responded with rollouts and screens and crazy huge dropbacks from the shotgun, so they might be able to get around the pass protection issues by it's going to be a matter of mitigation.

Roy Roundtree might be key again. He was the bulk of the pass offense against Purdue and while Wisconsin will adjust to that, the slot receiver is a guy who will be open in seams and on bubble routes when linebackers are cheating to the run game and having a rangy, sure-handed target like Roundtree can provide Forcier with an array of quick options on which magically delicious defensive ends are spectators. Then the weakside linebacker must choose between eating Brandon Minor facemask seven yards downfield or watching Roundtree grab a short seam route or four. Part of the slot receiver's popularity in this edition of the Rodriguez offense is borne of necessity: guy is close and you can get it to him quick.

I'm heartened by the relative inexperience of the Badger linebackers and think Forcier will have a good day in the short to intermediate stuff, with Koger and Roundtree frequent  targets and that RB wheel route re-emerging into a threat. On passing downs Michigan will be ineffective and Forcier flushed or sacked frequently. The usual.

Key Matchup: Huyge or Dorrestein versus Large Minus In Next Week's UFR. This is easy, right: the RT spot has been a sore one in pass protection all year.

Run Defense vs Wisconsin

To adequately address the Michigan defense this weekend we have to address the rumors that there's been a major shakeup in the secondary. The rumors are so rampant that they just about must be true. "Guy is practicing at this position on the first team" is a rock-solid piece of information that comes with future intent; "OMG Forcier transfer!" is the opposite of that.

So: Michigan is likely to reconfigure its defense. The obvious thing to do is pull the overmatched or underperforming safeties off the field; rumors are focused on Brandon Smith, linebacker as of two weeks ago, as a replacement. This makes sense against Wisconsin, as Michigan figures to be in an eight-man front on any reasonable rushing down. Then you've got one deep safety who will probably not be Jordan Kovacs because Kovacs has shown over the past few weeks that he has magically un-delicious walk-on speed. Woolfolk may move, or it may be Warren, who's been playing a two-deep safety in various formations for much of the year after the Woolfolk move. This means JT Floyd gets another crack at corner.

--------------------------

To the run defense: despite rumors that the Big Ten is a huge power running sort of conference from people who haven't watched a college football game in ten years, this will be the first actual test of Michigan's defense against a team of neanderthals who know and love rock, only rock. Previous traditional running teams have not done that well…

Opponent Player Carries Yards TD Average Long
MSU Larry Caper 13 39 2 3 23
MSU Glenn Winston 24 47 1 2 15
Iowa Brandon Wegher 13 21 1 1.6 7
Iowa Adam Robinson 10 70 0 7 19
PSU Brandon Beachum 7 23 0 3.3 11
PSU Evan Royster 20 100 0 5 41
PSU Joe Suhey 3 18 0 6 13
Totals Totals 90 318 4 3.5 41

[Note: QB/WR runs excised for tighter focus on 'rock' style running.]

…but none of those teams is actually much good at running. Iowa and Michigan State are terrible; Penn State is 42nd.

To boot: many of those yards have not been Michigan getting overpowered by their opponent but Michigan doing something dumb like Mouton leaving a 41-yard cutback lane for Royster, Kovacs whiffing on Robinson, or Mike Martin stopping his flow down the line against Caper. This is the opponent-invariant bit. Michigan's defense has been bad for reasons other than physical limitations.

Unfortunately, if there's a team out there more likely to expose Michigan's physical limitations it's the last game on the schedule. Wisconsin is Wisconsin except this year they've replaced an overweight plodder with John Clay, a true moosebeast of a tailback who looks like Beanie Wells or Adrian Peterson, a guy it's hard to believe is playing college football instead of the NFL variety. Clay had some issues early in the year of the practice fumbling or disciplinary variety that saw him lose time to decent backup Zach Brown, but once he emerged he did so with vigor. He is currently the leading rusher in the Big Ten and is averaging 5.1 YPC.

A few teams have held him in check but one of them is Ohio State, with whom there is no possible comparison to Michigan's defense. The other—outside of a strange 15 carry, 45 yard day against NIU in the opener—was Iowa, though, and we saw that Iowa's rushing defense was pretty mediocre this year. However, Clay's crushed Indiana, Purdue, Minnesota, and Michigan State. Put Michigan's defense in one of those two categories, and it's the wrong one.

Michigan is already slant happy and will remain even more so against a Wisconsin line that is much bigger than they are; I think you''ll see a lot of cutbacks because guys are hitting it into the backfield. These cutbacks will meet late and ill-prepared linebackers and Clay is going to get his 2-3 YAC on most plays and grid like he usually does. He'll also break a long one when someone screws up. Fact of life. He should easily clear 100 yards.

Key Matchup: Whoever is at linebacker versus overpursuit. This week's key matchups are "things I expect Michigan will not do well."

Pass Defense vs Wisconsin

Death by tight end. I know that our Wisconsin guest suggested that Garrett Graham had disappeared after the Michigan State game—in which he and Tolzien had a creepy mind-meld—but Michigan has a knack for making tight ends re-appear. The dossier is extensive at this point: Moeaki, Quarless, etc. Last week against Purdue Kevin Leach got lost on a mesh route and turned a third and five dumpoff crossing route into a 56-yard completion. Garrett Graham will  be hand-wavingly wide open on a series of waggle plays/seam routes, especially if Michigan goes to a one-high eight man front as the previous section suggests they will. Linebackers will bite, and Graham will be open, and he will probably get 100 yards.

That out of the way: Tolzien's been decent in his first year as a starter. He's 51st in efficiency and is completing 62% of his passes. His main issue has been interceptions; he threw five in the two losses against Ohio State and Iowa; those were huge factors in their losses. If Michigan can cover some guys, he might screw up, especially if Brandon Graham is attempting to eat his face.

That might happen. Wisconsin's sack numbers are decent on the surface—they're 49th—but that conceals a passing offense that doesn't get a whole lot of work. The Badgers are 94th in pass attempts. If Michigan can get Wisconsin into passing situations, Graham can nibble on a cheek here and there. Those figure to be few and far between.

When Wisconsin gets protection, the deep threat is Badger legacy Nick Toon. He's Wisconsin's best deep threat and a guy who can probably get open downfield against Woolfolk—who's been vulnerable—but not Warren. He's averaging 14.5 yards per catch but only has two touchdowns on the year.

And then there's Michigan's presumably reconfigured secondary. I assume Toon will draw the non JT Floyd corner, which means second receiver and infrequent target Isaac Anderson will get a lot of work. Given what we saw from Floyd earlier this year he's going to play off and hope for the best.

That'll be the recipe, I guess. Tolzien won't have a lot of attempts, but the ones he gets will be efficient.

Key Matchup: Roh/Leach/Ezeh vs Graham. If they can get a chuck or read the play action or just do something long enough for the dodgy pass protection to matter, maybe?

Special Teams

This should be a solid advantage for Michigan. Darryl Stonum continues to prove himself the conference's best kick return specialist. He's already broken the single-season kick return yardage record set by Steve Breaston a few years ago. That's largely because of sheer volume, but Stonum took one back for a touchdown against Notre Dame and has interspersed excellent returns throughout the rest of the year. He took two over the 50 against Purdue. Wisconsin, meanwhile, ceded a kick return touchdown of its own against Ohio State and Adam Hoge of Bucky's Fifth Quarter thought they might be vulnerable despite a recent improvement in performance.

Michigan's punt returns have been substandard all year, so that's not much of a threat; Wisconsin is about average in net punting.

When Michigan kicks to Wisconsin, expect little. Wisconsin's in the triple digits in both punt and kickoff returns and David Gilreath has taken a major step backwards this year. Kicker Phillip Welch has been okay, not great. He's hitting two-thirds of his attempts and missed an extra point against Wofford. He was very good last year, going 20/24. Jason Olesnavage is 10/12 with a far costlier missed extra point.

Key Matchup: CATCH THE DAMN BALL.

Intangibles

 cat-glamour-03

Cheap Thrills

Worry if...

  • Wisconsin has adjusted to the Roy Roundtree show and Michigan is forced to rely on pass protection more than they'd like.
  • Michigan has no answer for the beast machine.
  • Forcier doesn't play on the second drive.

Cackle with knowing glee if...

  • Wisconsin's OL can't handle the quickness of Martin and Van Bergen.
  • The reconfigured secondary makes you wonder what the hell took them so long.
  • It's 2010.

Fear/Paranoia Level: 8 out of 10. (Baseline 5, +1 for The Scales They Fall From My Eyes, +1 for We're Winless On The Road And Camp Randall Is Slightly More Intimidating Than Memorial Stadium, +1 for I Bet Totally Changing The Defense In Game 10 Is Going To Work Great, –1 for I Guess It Can't Be Worse, +1 for Forcier Aigh!).

Desperate need to win level: 9 out of 10. (Baseline 5, +1 for Bowl Game, +1 for Partial Cessation Of Hostilities In The RichRod War, +1 for Escape Big Ten Basement, +1 for Tip The Scales Back Towards Not Doom.)

Loss will cause me to... work on my Henri the Otter of Ennui impression even more.

Win will cause me to... relax.

The strictures and conventions of sportswriting compel me to predict:

To reiterate on the Forcier thing: I expect he will miss the first series and then return. If that assumption does not pan out, head for the hills and re-emerge in two weeks.

Given that: I can see many ways for Wisconsin to move the ball against Michigan's defense, reconfigured or not, and have explained them in detail above. I think Michigan will have a decent day on offense but be poor on third-down conversions because of the pass protection issues; they'll need about two huge breaks to win.

Finally, opportunities for me to look stupid Sunday:

  • Garrett Graham goes over 100 yards receiving.
  • Minor is the primary back and also goes over 100 yards.
  • Robinson gets more work in the backfield than he has to date.
  • Wisconsin, 30-20.

Comments

UM Fan NY

November 13th, 2009 at 1:31 PM ^

to predict a close game, i just can't see it. it's senior day and wisconsin is pissed about last year. throw in the clusterfuck that is our defense, the tin men we have at RB, 3/5 of an oline that can't pass block, the qb issues this week, and the weekly soap opera that is 'how can i fuck up a punt return this week'. i think we go down, and go down hard.

big goofy looking coach wearing red 38
coach with goofy looking red wristband 14

PROVE ME WRONG BOYS!

DrJesseLeePhD

November 13th, 2009 at 2:42 PM ^

I think that we'll look good on the first drive and be competitve until something bad happens then enter epic meltdown mode and give up 20 something points in the second half. It happened against Illinois and Purdue and it looks like it will happen again against Wisconsin. 14-10 at the half, M, then FAIL! 38-14 seems about accurate.

TokyoBlue

November 13th, 2009 at 1:51 PM ^

I'm heading out for Camp Randall this evening, and, honestly, I only foresee pain. Will be there in my #5 jersey until the end, though. Just like the band on the Titanic.

markusr2007

November 13th, 2009 at 1:54 PM ^

1.) Normally, this one might have had "upset alert" written all over it: Favored home team with powerful, downhill rushing attack facing talented but schizophrenic visiting team that nobody believes can win and is desperate to achieve bowl eligibility. Unfortunately for UM, the 2008 game revenge factor for Wisconsin's seniors probably cancels out any such "upset alert".
This Badger team really seems to have latched on to that 2008 loss as motivation.

2.) Actually, Wisconsin's strategy to beat Michigan Saturday is so easy, a monkey could do it:

a.) Put 8 in the box, dare Michigan to throw and let the Festival of Sacks begin!

b.) Run John Clay off tackle. Now run it again. And again. And again. And again. What? You've scored a touchdown already?

Jebus

November 13th, 2009 at 1:51 PM ^

I still see a Wisconsin win, but I think it's closer. Why? I'm guessing it's all this glue I've been sniffing.

24-20, them. I would love to be wrong.

jamiemac

November 13th, 2009 at 2:01 PM ^

Its an underdog, over special.

34-31. Somebody wins. Not sure who.

But, take the points and the total. Not sure either team can stop the skill talent on offense. Two of the best, young offenses in the league on display.

We'll do a lot better tomorrow than you think.

Ziff72

November 13th, 2009 at 2:04 PM ^

Brian I think this game you need to pay special attention to the RPS. I think this game boils down to Wiscy's willingness to hammer Mich with the pass game and go away from their neanderthal tendencies. If they come out and boot us to death and have our heads spiraling and then come back and Clay us to death once we've been gashed by TE waggles they win easily. If they try to go meathead against our slanting 9 guys in the box they could get bogged down and Tolzien could be forced to do something stupid. Every team saves up shit for Michigan and I suppose MeatHead will do the same. I expect an array of TE screens, deep rb passes and a trick play not yet seen from Wiscy that will have us spiraling quickly. Please try to pound Clay at our d, please please please.

sharkhunter

November 13th, 2009 at 2:15 PM ^

these next 2 games are our November bowls. Every B10 team is due for an upset, osu lost to purd, iowa lost to nw, psu lost to osu and iowa, msu lost to central, and we were upset by ILL and Purd. Wisc is due for an upset. Time to turn it around and crush someone's hopes.

bigmc6000

November 13th, 2009 at 4:03 PM ^

Obviously you don't know what you're talking about...

RichRod knew CB was likely to get tackled by anything with any kind of force so he has instructed him to wear his full uniform all the time (even in bed lest he fall off the side) ;)

(CB - if you're reading this please make us look like idiots this weekend and get us to a bowl game :)

ThWard

November 13th, 2009 at 2:35 PM ^

I agree that UM can move the ball... but all it really takes to stop the UM offense, at the current moment, is a 2nd or 3rd down sack. Essentially, putting UM in 3rd and long (2nd down sack) will highlight the pass protection problems, and a sack on 3rd down obviously kills a drive. So unless UM absolutely dominates on the ground, I don't see us avoiding enough negative yardage plays to really put up the points necessary.

Further - as someone else said, Wisco's game plan is so easy it's annoying. Usually I love UM's chances when the other team plays nothing but rock (MSU most years, Iowa most years, PSU until recently, Wisco most years) - but this year, Wisco's playing Rock against a defense that either has no "paper" or, more directly, plays like paper (mixing analogies, boom).

The thing is... I've predicted every loss so far this year, including MSU/Purdue/Illinois (sadly)... so just for fuck's sake, I'm going to go against my gut and do my part to reverse our shitty karmic trend.

Michigan 31 Wisco 26.

Ryano

November 13th, 2009 at 3:04 PM ^

OK, so Michigan doesn't have paper, but they are working on a great alternative - plastic. It covers rock just as well, requires less energy to produce, does not lead to deforestation, and is recyclable. It's also not as easy to cut with scissors. Bring on the Plastic Pain!

matty blue

November 13th, 2009 at 2:51 PM ^

1) as has been mentioned, wisconsin is not the most creative offensive team around...they are likely, IME, to try to pound the rock instead of spreading the field. if our d-line can play to a draw and we let linebackers flow downhill, we may be able to hold them down, at least better than most of the teams we've played. this is the first "conventional" offense we've played in a while - that, while not being an "advantage," makes a death of a thousand cuts slightly less likely.

2) i like our chances to run the ball, at least intermittently. that's borne out of not much more than blind faith. that, and the fact that we've been effective offensively for most of the season, against at least a couple of good defenses. this is a good defense, not a great one, going against a good rushing offense that can look great at times. i don't think we'll get to 200, or get any one back over 100 (i expect us to spread the load to shaw and smith as well), but i think we'll run enough to open the edges for roundtree, matthews, et al.

it will be uphill, obviously, but my maize-colored glasses say: michigan 34, wisconsin 30.

WichitanWolverine

November 13th, 2009 at 2:53 PM ^

Aside from Wofford, Wisconsin has only won one game by more than one score (albeit a schellacking of Purdue). I'll admit I haven't been following Badgers football this year, as I have a soul, so I'm only looking at the most basic paper comparison, but is it really that improbable that we steal a win from them?

Michigan: 28
Wisconsin: 24

msoccer10

November 13th, 2009 at 3:39 PM ^

They killed MSU. I watched Michigan barely beat IU next to my sparty brother in law who was watching the Wisconsin-MSU game. I saw enough to be very worried. The score was only close because MSU got two garbage tds in the last few minutes after being down by three scores.

Heinous Wagner

November 13th, 2009 at 2:56 PM ^

In the case of our defense, a "reconfiguring" the secondary is like putting a dress on a pig. Plus, the new schemes increase the chance of missed coverages and heightened recriminations. They don't seem like quick studies to me.

Yet, I think we have more than a good shot if we can parlay superior team speed. It's time for Stonum to break another one, for Mr. Robinson's neighborhood to return, for good memories of last year to linger, and for the replay gods to repent.

Meeechigan 37, Wiscy 32

The King of Belch

November 13th, 2009 at 3:05 PM ^

Second half collapses...second half collapses...

I can see a close game at halftime--but, well, that pesky "the game's 60 minutes long" bugaboo that keeps happening this year. Sadly, it was in our favor early on--not so much now.

Nothing more to add other than since I see absolutely no chance, Michigan will win 32-23. It will be weird, though. Like some things will happen that we just never would expect. A punt return for a TD. A blocked punt for TD. They forget to show up.

I've made my call, and I'm betting everything I have on it. If any of you have a heart, you'll take me and my two daughters in after we lose everything. But really--only if you have a really nice, big house with a pool and a bar and you know a lot of hot chicks to fix me up with.

Durham Blue

November 13th, 2009 at 3:14 PM ^

but I think the offense will put up more points against Wiscy than we did against Purdue. The issue will be whether the D can hold Wiscy to fewer points, which I don't think will happen. But, if we can hit Wiscy on their off day offensively, well, this could be a win. Tolzien needs to screw it all up...and bad.

Six Zero

November 13th, 2009 at 3:24 PM ^

It'll be tough up there. If we haven't gotten a road win yet, it's gonna be damn hard to grab the first in Camp Randall. There's been plenty of other better Michigan teams in the past that just seemed to lose not to the Badgers team, but that stadium.

BUT the one thing our guys don't need is for the fanbase to turn on 'em, either. Sure, there's plenty that needs fixin', but maybe the boys have it in 'em for one more come-from-behind miracle. Either way I'm still excited and looking forward to a good ol' fistfight. GO BLUE!

jlvanals

November 13th, 2009 at 3:26 PM ^

actually shouldn't be reintroduced to the football to the tune of 30-35 times this week, as he should have in the previous 3 games. Abadon all hope ye who might rely on our passing game.

CriticalFan

November 13th, 2009 at 3:43 PM ^

Madison, WI Forecast Details
Saturday, November 14, 2009

High: 56°F RealFeel®: 53°F
Mostly cloudy with a couple of showers
Winds: SSW at 8mph
Wind Gusts: 10 mph
Amount of Rain: 0.27in

Prediction: A squishy field from rain during the night, then starting at noon again = Many drops/fumbles/botched snaps/punts, a missed field goal for certain, and anti-intuitive 3-pass/scrambles (or interceptions)-and outs by RR and Magee. Like MSU, only with Tate's hands more frozen.

A lower-scoring affair with both teams-- except for Minor (UM) and Clay (UW)-- struggling. 16-10 Wisconsin.

maizenbluenc

November 13th, 2009 at 4:29 PM ^

http://www.weather.com/weather/hourbyhour/graph/USWI0411?begHour=9&begD…

So the hourly report shows 20% chance of rain for three quarters, moving to 30% by the fourth quarter. If it does rain, Bucky Badger will run most the day for maybe 2-3 TDs. If it doesn't, and they decide to go all Tight End on us ... well more like Iowa (30 pts or so).

Agreed with those posters who are thinking Wisconsin's revenge for last year motive, will offset the desperation for a bowl game factor on our side.

It comes down to if Minor can play effectively, if Tate has the time to get a passing rhythm going, and if Wisconsin plods. If so: Michigan 33 - Wisconsin 27

If it rains for the second half, or Minor is limited, limiting our ability to balance the attack: Wisconsin 21 - Michigan 17

So I'll be offering sacrifices to the weather and the angry tailback hating injury gods tonight ...

Go Blue beat the Badgers!

Wolverine318

November 13th, 2009 at 3:50 PM ^

Don't worry guys, I have noticed a trend that relates to the performance of my NFL fantasy team. Michigan always loses the following weekend if my fantasy team loses. Last weekend I snapped my losing streak in fantasy football by beating the second place team in my league. So Michigan is going to win!!!!

SouthU

November 13th, 2009 at 3:56 PM ^

Like Clubber Lang, I'm predicting pain tomorrow: Sounds like they'll sit Minor out, Brown can't run through an arm tackle, throw in the weather creating some yakety sax (esp. by the punt returners), to say nothing of the sieve-like defense, and it will be awful to watch. More of the same, basically.

As Principal Skinner would say, "Prove me wrong, children. Prove me wrong."

OK, I'm done dropping names.

uminks

November 13th, 2009 at 4:09 PM ^

This team has been under pressure to win that sixth game and get a bowl bid. Most everyone has predicted no bowl. I think with the pressure off, you will see the offense and Tate (even if he doesn't start until the 2nd or 3rd series) have a big game. I like the fact that it will be in the mid 50s during the game...quite warm for mid November. Tate plays better in the warm weather. Much of Tate's sacks seem to be more coverage based (most of the time he seems quite tentative before a sack), I expect Tate to have better timing with his receivers...so don't be surprised with 250 + yards in the air! The defense won't be fixed but I'm predicting a lot of scoring. UM 38 WI 35.

Slinginsam

November 13th, 2009 at 4:50 PM ^

I went up there two years ago and a drunk fat guy in red and white overalls slaps me on the back while I'm in the men's room, and shouts, "we're gonna beat your fucking team".

Believe we keep it close, but UW prevails in this revenge bowl, 28-24.

I am wearing my #20 jersey for good luck. Will be partying at the Brathaus after the game.

bronxblue

November 13th, 2009 at 5:14 PM ^

I do think Wiscy's offense plays into UM's defense better than teams like Purdue and Illinois. No ninja handoffs, no designed QB runs, no short passing except maybe to the TE. Wiscy can pound the ball against anyone, but UM does have athletes along the front 7 that can at least hit Clay quickly. I'm sure there will be missed tackles, and play action will be scary, but I have a sense that UM will stay in this game. Offensively the run game can move against virtually anyone, and the decent weather tomorrow should help. Maybe integrate DR a bit more than usual and see what happens.

Prediction:
Violent woodland creatures: 34
Slightly less-violent woodland creatures: 32

wiscwood

November 13th, 2009 at 8:37 PM ^

I saw Johnny Clay shred my son's team the year Clay and Park H.S. in Racine Wisconsin won the state championship. He is very good. He can be stopped. Michigan has to tackle well. There can be no arm tackles, he is too strong. He is surprisingly fast and strong. Again, Michigan can win this game if they beat Clay to the point of attack. That is easier said than done. This is a winnable game. It is just going to take Michigan playing their best all game, and there is the problem.

Regarding the "fire RR" junk, RR will have to do badly once he has the team he needs to win. 71 of 85 possible scholarship players, most of them freshmen and sophmores, Vince Lombardi could not make this team solid. I have confidence in the potential of this team. We are too spoiled and short sighted. Michigan will be good again. This time in Michigan history hurts pretty badly. I think we need to support our team regardless, for the sake of possible commits reading our blogs. Negativity and complaining does nothing. Michigan is rebuilding and the structure is not done yet. It will be grand.

I live in Wisconsin, but I'm a Michigan Alumni and fan. Monday will be interesting. I hate Wisconsin almost a bad as I hate OSU. I really hate the buckeyes!

Go Blue! Stomp Big Red!