How can you have a letdown against a team that physically beat you last year and was one of the main inspirations for your entire offseason conditioning program? If Notre Dame thinks they saw some speed and hitting from Michigan's defense, just wait until the Badgers find out how angry the Wolverines are.
Michigan's ground game vs Wisconsin's front seven
Mike Hart is 8th nationally in rushing yards despite being the focal point of every single team they face. Notre Dame played with 8 and 9 guys in the box all day and he still cranked out 124 yards on 4 yards per carry. If that didn't stop him, nothing will. Wisconsin has a good and fast front 7, but they are undersized. Look for Michigan to pound the ball north/south and not stretch it out wide. This means big backs Kevin Grady and Brandon Minor might get a few more carries this week as Michigan looks to wear them down for 4 quarters.
Michigan's passing game vs Wisconsin's DBs,
Wisconsin better get a good pass rush, or it will be a long day for their DBs as Chad Henne is really coming into his own (12 TDs vs 2 INTs in his last 6 games). Mario Manningham is the big play man (9 of 10 career TDs over 20 yards), but Steve Breaston is the dangerous underneath receiver. If Breaston starts catching everything instead of only 65% of the passes thrown his way, he will be even more dangerous. If Wisconsin plays a little 2 deep zone, watch for the TEs to get more involved this week.
Wisconsin's ground game vs Michigan's front 7
UW back PJ Hill leads the Big Ten in rushing after playing 3 patsies. Now he gets to face the best rushing defense in the nation. Unstoppable force, meat immovable object. My money is on the immovable object. But don't doubt the UW ground game too much. They've got some power up front and it wouldn't surprise me to see Hill crank out 70 or 80 yards on 25 carries.
Wisconsin's passing game vs Michigan's DBs
Michigan just got done blanketing Notre Dame's all american wide recievers and pummeling Brady Quinn. Wisconsin presents much less of a challenge in this department. Expect to see a lot of 4 and 5 man rushes and tight man coverage from the corners. Leon Hall is playing like a Thorpe candidate and Morgan Trent really played well last week. Charles Stewart is the big banger at CB and might see a little more action this week against the run-oriented Badgers.
Both squads are pretty strong in this area. Slight edge to the Badgers kickers, big edge to Steve Breaston returning the kicks.
Wisconsin got the win last year, Michigan has all the momentum and motivation this year. The game is in the Big House where Carr is something like 27-2 in his last 29 conference games.
Prediction? Michigan 27, Wisconsin 13
Labels: Michigan Football