After coming out with an ugly win against the Purdue Boilermakers, this week the Michigan Wolverines take on the #7 Wisconsin Badgers, who are fighting for a spot in the Rose Bowl.
Last week, the Wolverines were the complete opposite of what they had been all year. The offense couldn’t fin a spark all game and produce its second fewest amount of total yards this season. Denard Robinson threw two interceptions and also fumbled the ball twice. However, the Wolverines defense played arguably its best defensive game of the year. They only allowed Purdue to score nine points and gain 256 yards offense, while the Wolverines defense also recovered a fumble for a touchdown.
Unfortunately, this week the Wolverines face a Wisconsin team that has a much better offense than Purdue does. The Badgers are coming off of a dominant 83-20 victory over Indiana. Their offense was able to put up 83 points and their star running back John Clay didn’t even play. Clay is questionable for this week, but Wisconsin has proven that they have a ton of depth at the running back position. Besides Clay, the Badgers have running back James White, who has ran for 714 yards and 11 touchdowns, and freshman running back Montee Ball, who has ran for 528 yards and nine touchdowns. Last week, Ball ran for 167 yards and three touchdowns, while White ran for 144 yards and two touchdowns. The Badgers heavily rely on this three-headed monster backfield, averaging 228.2 rushing yards per game (12th in the nation). That is not good news for Michigan’s defense, as they are allowing 182.7 rushing yards per game to conference opponents. Regardless of whether John Clay plays or not, the Wolverines defense is not going to be able to stop the Badgers offense that is averaging 40.2 points per game (8th in the nation).
If the Wolverines are going to put up a fight this game, they are going to need Denard Robinson to break loose and start running all over teams again. The last two games, Robinson has failed to run for more than 70 yards. The Badgers defense isn’t flashy or boasts any big name players besides defensive lineman J.J. Watt, who has six sacks on the season, but this unit gets the job done. They only allow 19.5 points per a game (23rd in the nation) and 315.6 yards of total offense per game. Robinson is going to have to come up big in this game and get out of his funk. He needs to be able to run and throw the ball efficiently like he was earlier in the season, or else Rich Rodriguez may be forced to rotate between him and Tate Forcier to find an offensive spark.
Wisconsin is on a five game winning streak and they are still fighting for a chance to win the Big Ten title and play in the Rose Bowl. Michigan has not proved that they can beat a tough opponent this season, which makes me believe that the Badgers will easily handle the Wolverines. The Badgers run offense is simply going to be way too powerful for the Wolverines defense to handle this week.
Wisconsin 35 Michigan 21