Wisconsin Game Preview

Game Preview for Michigan vs. Wisconsin (2010)

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 aJames White 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.

Mike Martin - The Michigan Daily

Bottom Line

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Purdue Game Prediction

Michigan Wolverines, Purdue Boilermakers, Denard Robinson, Brandon Graham, Kenny Demens

Wow, I think Michigan just scored again. Ooops, so did Illinois!

After a shootout at the Big House last Saturday, Michigan tries to build momentum from last week’s game, one in which the offense showed to be able to score pretty much whenever it needed to (despite a whopping 5 turnovers) and a defense that showed promise. Yes, the defense showed promise. Sure they gave up 45 in regulation, and 65 overall, but they did muster 9 stops. The youth showed on the wheel route, and the defense still has shown a propensity to give up 3 and long conversions. But had you told me going in that the offense would turn the ball over 5 times, Illinois would have an average starting field position dangerously close to midfield (with 4 drives starting inside Michigan’s 32), and Denard wouldn’t play in the 4th quarter, most would had said we lose by 3 touchdowns.

Which brings us to Purdue, which is about as Jekyll and Hyde as Michigan when it comes to performances. They shut down Northwestern (good offense) and beat Minnesota to open the big 10. Then beatdowns started by OSU, ILL and Wisconsin, to a tune of 127-23. Its can’t be denied that they’re so decimated by injury that the NCAA is considering giving the entire team an extra year of eligibility to save time from having to deal with all the medical redshirt filings (plus they’re short staffed having to investigate SEC programs)

That said, Purdue does a reasonable job running the football (#40 in FBS rankings). Especially because most teams expect them to run.

What has really killed this young and banged up team is turnovers. And with the Michigan defense’s lack of production in the turnover department, I expect Purdue to make this a game.

Purdue’s defense is lead by Ryan Kerrigan, who is their version of Brandon Graham from last year. Insanely good player, high motor, playing on an average/bad defense. The linebackers are similar to Michigan, especially prior to Demens inclusion in the starting lineup, inconsistent, and not great in pass coverage.

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Adversary Recruiting (December)

2011 Big Ten Recruiting Rankings (As of 12/5)

1.  Ohio State – Status quo, still.

2. Nebraska – Jackson is a very good get.

3. Notre Dame – The loss of Justice Hayes stings a bit.

4. Michigan State – No action for the second straight month.

5. Wisconsin – Follows up a nice October with a great November.

6. Iowa – Jumps Michigan.

7. Michigan – Loses  Sousa and Hart (maybe?). Hopefully Dee is temporary.

8. Indiana – Two decommits and the firing of the coach; not the best month.

9. Northwestern – Two losses in the class, but still solid.

10. Minnesota – Despite their poor record and firing of Brewster, they actually have an OK class.

11. Illinois – Pretty meh for a Zooker class.

12. Purdue – Had a decent month.

13. Penn State – They had a good July, but have struggled since.

The Wisconsin Badgers had a good November, following up their impressive October. Tight end/defensive end Austin Traylor was probably the best get for Bucky in November. During his senior year Traylor had 99 tackles and 10 sacks on the defensive side of the ball. Offensively he had 639 yards receiving and five TD’s as a tight end. In Madison he will be a tight end. Austin has offers from Arizona, Boston College, Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State and West Virginia among others. Hard – nosed linebacker Derek Watt is the brother of current Badger J.J. Derek was a verbal commit to Northwestern before receiving and accepting the offer from Wisconsin. It is a gray shirt offer, but that was good enough for Watt. Cornerback Darius Hillary is a really good looking athlete. He played returner, corner and safety for his school, but will be a corner in college. He looks pretty good in run support and is a solid tackler. He also has offers from Boston College, UConn, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Stanford among others.

Player High School
Austin Traylor        
Derek Watt        
Darius Hillary        

Recruiting had been slow since July for Purdue, but things sped up a little in November with verbal commits from three kids. Akeem Hunt is a very nice looking running back, who will fit in great with Purdue’s scheme. Hunt has a nice combo of vision and balance. And he also has great hands for a running back. Hunt chose the Boilers over Auburn, Minnesota, South Carolina,  Wake Forest and Wisconsin. Doug Gentry should be a great complement to the shifty Hunt. Gentry has a little wiggle to his game as well and runs with pretty good balance and power. During his sophomore and junior seasons Doug combined for nearly 3,700 yards rushing and had 39 touchdowns. He also has an offer from Georgia Tech. Wrapping up Purdue’s November is wideout  Shane Mikesky. The 6’4” Mikesky is a decent blocker and also has pretty good speed.  He’s a bit of a sleeper, but looks like a good athlete with some promise.

Nebraska continues to roll in recruiting, gaining verbals from highly rated cornerback Charles Jackson and Indiana decommit Max Pirman. Jackson, an Army All-American, possesses very good hips and feet to go along with his excellent speed and size. He is a very aggressive corner who has a world of upside. Charles also has offers from Arkansas, California, Florida, Michigan and Oklahoma among others. Pirman is a little raw and needs to bulk up, but has good potential. He will be a defensive end in Lincoln.

Penn State ended its couple month drought, adding three prospects.  Receiver is a priority and PSU cashed in with Allen Robinson and Matt Zanellato.  Robinson (former teammate of PSU’s Robert Bolden) has good hands and does a great job of using his size.  During his senior season he racked up 653 yards and eight scores. Allen could make the switch to one of the safety positions in Happy Valley. Zanellato is an under the radar prospect, but has some nice skills. At 6’4” he uses his size and jumping ability very well. He looks to be a good possession type guy and a dangerous red zone threat. Anthony Alosi is another sleeper recruit for PSU. He could be used as a defensive lineman, but his strengths could be used better as an offensive lineman.

Conner Crowell was Ohio State’s one verbal in November. Crowell is a very active linebacker who is very quick and plays well in space. Unfortunately for Conner, he suffered a broken ankle that will require surgery and months of time on the sideline. As a junior he accounted for 100 tackles and 4 int’s. Crowell also has offers from UConn, Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, Pittsburgh and West Virginia among others.

Iowa got an upgrade in their defense when Nicholas Law joined the class. Law is a nice looking prospect at 6’3″ and runs a 4.4 40. He is an explosive player who plays both safety and linebacker for his school. He is a very physical kid who could excel at either position. Michigan tried to get in on Law late in the game, but he chose the Hawkeyes shortly after. He also has offers from Maryland, Cincinnati, Michigan State, Illinois and North Carolina State among others.

Texas running back Cam McDaniel has drawn some comparisons in former Wolverine Sam McGuffie. The Notre Dame verbal pledge is not quite as flashy as McGuffie, but is much more physical. He also does a great job catching the football, giving him the possibility of lining up in the slot as well. As a senior McDaniel racked up 1,906 rushing yards to go along with 32 touchdowns. He also added 492 yards and 3 TD’s receiving.

Illinois lone verbal is athlete Tyler Marcordes. At a camp this summer in Illinois Marcordes tried out at linebacker, h-back and tight end and showed potential in all three. At nearly 6’4″ and 235 lbs., Tyler runs the 40 in an impressive 4.65. Marcordes is a very versitile football player who has a bunch of upside. He also has offers from Georgia Tech, Illinois State and Northern Illinois.

The decommitment bug hit four teams in the month of November. Indiana (Raymon Taylor and Max Pirman), Iowa (JaCorey Shepard and Melvin Gordon), Northwestern (Derek Watt and Sean Cotton) and Notre Dame (Justice Hayes) all had kids who decided to rethink things a little.