Michigan vs. Northwestern fearless prediction and game preview.
Date: Saturday, September 29
Game Time: 4:30 ET
Venue: Ryan Field, Evanston, IL
Michigan (3-1) vs. Northwestern (1-2) Game Preview
One Reason Why Michigan Will Win
Northwestern’s offense wasn’t exactly rocking and rolling before, and now it has to replace its best running back. Jeremy Larkin was forced to retire after a dangerous neck/spinal condition was found, and the Cats’ second-leading rusher is John Moten IV.
He has just 21 yards on 12 carries so far.
Even with Larkin, Northwestern had the worst running game among Big Ten teams. Michigan’s defensive front has been a rock from the start, and last week it held Nebraska to just 39 rushing yards.
Meanwhile, the Michigan running game has found its groove, with Karan Higdon and the backfield rumbling for 285 yards and four scores against Nebraska. As long as the Wolverines are able to control the game on the ground – and score early – the nation’s third-best D should take care of the rest.
One Reason Why Northwestern Will Win
With two weeks off, Northwestern should be rested and ready defensively, there should be an energy at home – especially with all of the Wolverine fans in the stadium – and …
Clayton Thorson, you’re on.
With the running game in a transitional period without Larkin, it’s time for Thorson to take his game up a whole other level. He was good against Akron – throwing for 383 yards and three scores – but the two interceptions were a problem in the collapse.
Those three scoring passes were his first of the year, and now it’s his job to push a Michigan secondary that hasn’t been pushed too hard yet.
Northwestern will win the penalty stat by a mile – Michigan gets flagged close to nine times per game – and it needs to win the turnover fight, too. The Cats need everything to go right – along with Thorson playing like an NFL starting-caliber quarterback.
What’s Going To Happen
Michigan is on too much of a roll right now to be stopped by such a mediocre team.
The defense is too strong, and the offense has found its balance. Shea Patterson and the passing game will be efficient, but again, the ground attack and defense will make this a workmanlike win for the Wolverines as the team keeps on improving.
Fearless Prediction & Line
Michigan 37, Northwestern 17
Line: Michigan -14, o/u: 48
ATS Confidence out of 5: 4
Must See Rating: 3
5: Bad Reputation
1: God Friended Me