What a difference the bye week makes. Michigan went from a turnover machine generating a mere 6 points, to scoring 44, and frankly it should have been more.
Illinois comes to town, riding a 3 game losing streak, and quite honestly, first year head coach Tim Beckman is coaching for his job. While injuries have played a factor, it seems hard to believe that in spite of all their talent, particularly on defense, that they just aren’t a competitive team. Things started going south 3 weeks ago when Illinois got rolled 52-24, and subsequent beatings by Penn State and Wisconsin have them reeling.
There’s no doubt there is talent there, but insiders say Beckman has failed to get his team to buy into his system. We’ve seen that script a little closer to home.
With Sparty coming to town next week, there’s always a chance for a let down, but I don’t see that affecting the outcome of this one.
Michigan has struggled all year trying to mount a sustained rushing attack from the tailback position, but Denard has been forced to carried the load.
Expect Michigan to continue to run the football, but this week the running backs become more involved. Last week I predicted the Michigan would control the ball 35 minutes, and it was just about dead on. I see more of the same (or even greater) with Fitz and Sophomore Thomas Rawls becoming more successful this week.
The defense continues to improve, and keeps Illinois on their heels.
A couple late scores makes the game closer than it was. Michigan 45 ILL 17.