Michigan Football at Nebraska 2012
The Michigan Wolverines (5-2, 3-0) will play a pivotal game this Saturday at Nebraska (5-2, 2-1). Kick off is scheduled for 8:00pm (EST) and the game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.
Michigan sits atop the Leaders Division with a 3-0 record and Nebraska is tied with Iowa for 2nd place with a 2-1 record. With a win, Michigan can pad their lead over the Huskers, who are their biggest threat in the Legends Division.
Nebraska has a high-powered offense led by junior quarterback Taylor Martinez who leads the Big Ten in passing efficiency and is 3rd in total offense. Running back Rex Burkhead is banged up, but Ameer Abdullah is equally dangerous. ”They have good running backs with Burkhead and a sophomore, Abdullah,” William Campbell said on Monday. “The quarterback is a seasoned quarterback, and they have a great offensive line, one of the best we have played so far.”
Nebraska has piled up some big offensive numbers, but you have to wonder about who they have done it against. They have defeated Southern Miss (0-7), Arkansas State (5-3), Idaho State (1-6), Wisconsin (6-2) and Northwestern (6-2). Their two losses came against UCLA and Ohio State. Of the teams they have defeated, the top defenses belong to Wisconsin, ranked 18th nationally in total defense and Arkansas State, ranked 52nd nationally.
Michigan is fresh off an emotionally charged win over MSU and yet they remain singularly focused on a Big Ten title. “Last week was a championship game and the week before that was,” explained Elliott Mealer. “So for us, we try to have the mindset that every game we play against a Big Ten opponent is just like we are playing in Indianapolis and we are playing for the trophy. We control our own destiny. It is going to be a big game and it is going to be an exciting atmosphere.”
It will be a classic match up between a tremendous defense, Michigan, and a revved up offense, Nebraska. What could give U-M the edge here is that their offense matches up favorably against a Huskers defense that has struggled this year. Nebraska comes in ranked 9th in the Big Ten in scoring defense and 10th in rushing defense. The Wolverines have out-rushed their Big Ten opponents 820 yards to 273. Over the last five games, Michigan’s defense is allowing 9.8 points per contest, while allowing only three touchdowns over that span (20 quarters). Michigan has not allowed a rushing touchdown since the second quarter of the Notre Dame game on September 22nd. The Wolverines rank 10th nationally in total defense and 4th in passing defense.
For Michigan’s offense the formula is simple – Denard Robinson. As he goes, so go the 2012 Michigan Wolverines. Turnovers are his kryptonite, but he has proven time and time again that he can deliver a victory in the clutch. Robinson leads the Big Ten in total offense and rushing offense. Michigan’s defense will keep it close and give Robinson a chance to win this game.
Raymon Taylor is expected to start this week after injuring his arm last week.
Brendan Gibbons was named the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week after converting all 3 of his field goal attempts last week, including the game winner with 5 seconds left.
Prediction: So far this year I am 6-1 predicting the outcome of Michigan Football games. This is a tricky game that I really mulled over during my preseason prognostications. On the road, at night, in Nebraska is a tough assignment. However, Michigan has already played two night games this year and neither of them were at home. This match up won’t be any more daunting than facing Alabama in Dallas or playing at Notre Dame. Michigan’s defense has improved by leaps and bounds and gets more formidable by the week. I know I will be called a homer, but I think the Wolverines are marching towards a Big Ten title and they’ll find a way to win this week. Michigan 24-21