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It’s been two decades since Michigan last beat Wisconsin on the road. That said, Michigan is hot and the Badgers are coming off one of the most brutal fourth-quarter beat downs you will see. The question now is about the Badgers’ make up. How are they able to respond? Neither team is going to be able to move the ball and quite frankly it’s hard to find a number low enough in this one that we wouldn’t take. We like the under and Wisconsin Moneyline.
Garcia’s 2021 record: (8-5)
Michigan enters October undefeated (4-0) and feeling good about itself, yet the fanbase in Ann Arbor is split. Part of them are buying into the early season success while the others are concerned about the way the offense is putting up its numbers.
On the one hand, the rushing attack is rolling over most of the teams in its way.
Through three weeks, Michigan was leading the nation in rushing offense but that got stalled quite a bit last week against Rutgers. The Wolverines ran 29 times for 112 yards — just 2.9 per rush.
That was the worry for the other half of the fan base — that teams might soon be able to stop the rushing attack and Michigan wasn’t proficient enough through the air. That proved to be half right: Michigan’s passing offense leaves a lot to be desired. For the fourth time in as many games, quarterback Cade McNamara completed fewer than 10 pass attempts.
Quite frankly, it’s hard to see beating a team like Ohio State or Penn State like that and Wisconsin might fall into that category. Blake Corum and Hassan Haskins are a dynamic duo in the backfield, but they’re going to need help on the outside to free them up eventually.
This Badgers defense also might very well be the best Michigan has seen thus far, despite the 1-2 record. Wisconsin held Penn State to a season-low 16 points in the season-opener and while last week’s 41-13 loss appears lopsided, it really had almost nothing to do with the defense.
That game was 13-10 but the defense and special teams gave up three (!!) fourth-quarter touchdowns which became impossible to overcome.
For many years this was never a question. With one of the five best offensive lines year in and year out and a stable of NFL caliber running backs coming through for the better part of a decade, the Badgers always had punch.
This year that’s a different story as Wisconsin is being held to 13 points or fewer in both of its games against ranked opponents this season.
But what’s been the worst part, frankly, has been quarterback play. Graham Mertz has struggled mightily through three games, completing fewer than 60 percent of his passes with just one touchdown compared to six interceptions.
But lastly, the real concern for this Wisconsin bunch is the inability to finish drives or games. Last week Wisconsin was a putrid 1-of-14 on third down, consistently stalling short of the end zone. Mertz and company made it inside the Irish 25 yardline on four separate occasions and came out with just 13 total points, which will not cut it against the Wolverines.
On a larger scale, the Badgers just have struggles in the fourth quarter. Wisconsin has lost nine games over the past three years — they’ve been outscored 88-9 (!) in the fourth quarter of those games.
For Michigan Blake Corum and Hassan Haskins aren’t x-factors — they’re necessary cogs in the wheel to make this offense click. The guy we will keep a close eye on is tight end Erick All.
He has just six catches for 69 yards on the season, but he’s 6-foot-4, 245-pounds with soft hands and the tight end is a great security blanket for a quarterback who is asked to not make mistakes. Don’t be surprised if when the Wolverines find the end zone, it’s No. 83.
For Wisconsin, the key is the entire rushing attack. Last week the Badgers gained just 75 yards on the ground on 29 attempts. Wisconsin’s modus operandi is controlling the clock on the ground and that’s what it will have to do to take one from Michigan.
|Michigan Wolverines Wisconsin Badgers Information|
|Teams||Michigan Wolverines vs Wisconsin Badgers|
|Location||Camp Randall, Madison, Wisconsin|
|Time||Saturday, Oct. 2, 12:00 p.m. EST|
|How to watch||FOX|
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Tony writes about baseball for WSN.com after recently graduating with his Masters from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Prior to that, Tony was a local sports reporter for MLive Media Group, based out of Jackson, Michigan where he covered everything from high school to professional sports. He graduated from Michigan State in 2015 with a degree in journalism. During his time there he covered the Michigan State football and men’s basketball teams from 2013-15 and hosted a sports radio show on WDBM 89FM.More info on Tony Garcia
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