Bob Wojnowski, Angelique S. Chengelis and Matt Charboneau preview the Michigan vs. Wisconsin and Michigan State vs. Penn State games.
The Detroit News
Angelique S. Chengelis, Matt Charboneau, John Niyo and Bob Wojnowski of The Detroit News offer their predictions on the outcome of Saturday’s Michigan vs. Wisconsin game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor (7:30 p.m., ABC/950 AM).
Angelique S. Chengelis: Break this game down any way you want, but this is a big test for the Wolverines, the first since Notre Dame – although coming back from 17 at Northwestern could be considered a test, as well. Wisconsin’s secondary has issues, so this could be a field day for Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson and his receivers and tight ends, Zach Gentry and Sean McKeon. The Badgers haven’t had a great pass rush, a benefit for an improving Michigan offensive line. The Badgers are tough up front offensively and will challenge the Wolverines’ equally-tough defensive line. Can Michigan stop running back Jonathan Taylor? Probably not. But slowing him down is a possibility while the defense tries to get after quarterback Alex Hornibrook. Michigan, 28-17
Matt Charboneau: The “preseason” is over for the Wolverines as Wisconsin comes to town to kick off a tough stretch in the schedule. The Badgers are, as always, tough and physical and will try and run over the Wolverines, no simple task against the No. 1 defense in the nation. A big question: Has Michigan’s offense improved enough to prevail against one of the Big Ten’s best teams. This much seems certain – this one will be close. Wisconsin, 24-20
John Niyo: Wisconsin’s a bit beat up and Michigan’s desperate to beat a good team. Jonathan Taylor is bound to make a big play or two, but Alex Hornibrook will need to do even more than he did a year ago. Because Michigan finally has playmaking quarterback of its own. Michigan, 31-14
Bob Wojnowski: The Badgers do one thing very well – plowing Jonathan Taylor behind a staunch offensive line. Alex Hornibrook is an experienced QB who has won big games, but his limited mobility could be an issue against Michigan’s No. 1 defense. The Wolverines’ credibility is on the line, and you suspect Jim Harbaugh will have them ready. Shea Patterson keeps improving, and Wisconsin’s secondary is depleted. The Badgers also are last in the Big Ten in sacks. It’ll be a slugfest for a while, but not at the end. Michigan, 27-13