Saturday will be a top ten Big Ten Conference showdown with huge playoff implications when the Wisconsin Badgers come to the Big House to face the Michigan Wolverines.
Things You Need to Know
No. 4 Michigan Wolverines (4-0, 1-0) vs No. 8 Wisconsin Badgers (4-0, 1-0)
Kickoff: 3:30 PM
Where to Watch: ABC
Odds: Michigan favored by 10.5 points
Honorary Captain: Ann Curzan, a UM professor
What to Watch For
The Battle in the Trenches
Expect a clash of the titans all game when these two Big Ten powerhouse offensive and defensive lines step on the battlefield. You will see some of the biggest and strongest lineman in the nation go head-to-head in what I think—the most important thing to watch for on Saturday, in my opinion. Jim Harbaugh has brought that old school toughness back to Michigan and that will be on display when his lineman face an equally tough opponent. I believe the game will be decided by which team’s OL and DL performs the best.
First, let’s look at the offensive lines and why they need to win the battle up front. Each team has a younger quarterback with limited game experience, so the OL will need to give great pass protection. Badger freshman Alex Hornibrook is coming off a great win vs. Michigan State, but this week he is up against a more fierce defensive line. Wilton Speight is in his first year as the starter, and off to a great start, throwing for nine touchdowns and almost 900 yards with only one interception. Wisconsin loves to run the ball a lot so they are counting on its OL to provide holes for the running backs to enter. Wisconsin running back Corey Clement will be the feature back and he has five rushing touchdowns in his 65 carries this season.
The Wolverines have been up and down with its rushing attack. f they want to be successful versus this Badger defense, who is only allowing 80.5 rushing yards per game, the OL must get a push off the ball and create holes. Mason Cole, Grant Newsome, Kyle Kalis, Patrick Kugler, Ben Braden, Ben Bredeson, Erik Magnuson, this is your game to win; step up and be ready to battle in the trenches. Also, look for Michigan to run more jumbo packages, where they bring in an extra tight end for blocking, to run more effectively. The Wisconsin DL is also a group of big guys. The defense is 7th in scoring and 12th in total defense, only allowing 277 yards per game.
On the other side of the ball, Michigan will put some of the nation’s best defensive linemen on the field. I have been referring to them as the Michigan monsters because they are big, quick, and will keep coming at you nonstop all game long. These guys are in the opponents backfield disrupting plays continually. The DL has been great at stopping the run up the middle and getting to the quarterback. If they put a lot of pressure on the young Badger QB, he should start making mistakes. The game plan is to stop the run first to make Hornibrook throw the ball.
Just writing this article, I am excited to watch these guys slug it out play after play. This is what Big Ten football is all about. I know people want to see big offensive gains or great interceptions, but I want to see which teams OL and DL can outperform its counterpart and help win this crucial football game.
9.5 tackles for loss, 33 tackles in all, Big Ten leading 22.7 yards per punt return, three kick returns for over 50 yards including one for a touchdown, Big Ten defensive player of the week winner, three time Big Hit of the week winner, Heisman trophy hopeful and one of the most electrifying players in the nation, Jabrill Peppers!! Enough said.
Visitors at the Big House
- Alex Leatherwood, a 5-star OL from Florida will be on an official visit, according to his Twitter page.
- Jordan Anthony, LB will be on a official visit according to MGoFish.
- Cesar Ruiz, the nations top center, according to his Twitter page.
- Brelin Faison-Walden, outside linebacker and Penn St commit, according to Steve Lorenz at Wolverine247.
- Chuck Filiaga, offensive tackle, according to his Twitter page.
- Jedrick Willis, offensive tackle, according to his Twitter page.
- Kwity Paye, a 3-star linebacker and Boston College target, according to Wolverine247.
- Antwan Reed, a 2018 offensive lineman according to Brandon Justice.
- Ryan Gersonde, top ranked punter in class of 2017, according to Brice Marich.