Michigan Football: Illinois at Michigan — GBMWolverine Staff Predictions
Former Michigan player Gerald R. Ford’s #48 will be honored with “Michigan Football Legend” distinction in conjunction with the game. The 38th President of the United States, Ford was a gridiron standout for the Wolverines in the 1930’s. A three-year letterman (1932-34) as a center and linebacker, he was an integral member of Big Ten and national championship teams in 1932 and 1933. Ford was selected as the team’s Most Valuable Player in 1934 after starting all eight games. Homecoming weekend for Michigan we will see how this team handles distractions and also coming off a big win last weekend vs. Purdue. The GBMWolverine staff have made their predictions, how about you? Come to the message board and make your prediction and also comment on the thread.
Michigan plays well back to back.
Beckham having some growing issues.
Coach Mattison will have the defense ready for another spread. If the inside holds up as well as last week, Michigan should fare well. The offense still has not found its final identity and needs to improve the inside running game. I believe Michigan will have a focused and fun time on the field.
Homecoming weekend sometimes brings a lot of extra distractions with the game, but the team should be focused on the task at hand with how the season has started and the #1 goal of winning the Big Ten is still in their grasp.
I am expecting Michigan to get things going early and shutting down Illinois offense. Illinois has struggled most of the year, but saw some bright spots last week against the Badgers. Does this show improvement or Wisconsin just not a very good football team this season.Denard should have a good day, but it is the rest of the offense I want to see how well they do. Can the line create holes for Fitz and can he get things going early enough to get things going and headed in the right direction the rest of the season. I am expecting to see a couple of other running backs getting their shot within the rotation to see how they fair and get some competition brewing in the backfield for the rest of the season.
Would like to see the receiving corp work a little harder on route running and making every play like they are getting the ball because you never know when to expect the ball come your way and also that is how you can fool a defender to go hard every play.
The defense should be able to get some pressure on the Illinois offense and lets start seeing multiple turnovers to kick-start the offense.
This should be a good game for Michigan to test themselves along with getting ready for next weekend and the Spartans.
No prediction sent in this week.
Mike Fitzpatrick (TheMichiganManPodcast)
Direction! That’s my key word this week. Will the defense continue to pursue to the ball, get push in the trenches, and keep moving in the right direction? Has the offensive line started to gell? Will Fitz start seeing the holes and not glide into the line as much? Will Denard continue to look for green grass when receivers are covered, and be patient with his progressions? Oh yeah…and throw the dammned thing in the stands when no one is open? Does the Purdue victory translate into a continuing & forward direction for this years Wolverines? I know…..as usual…each week this season brings us many questions that can only be anwered on Saturday’s.On paper Illinois is the perfect Homecoming opponent for Michigan. They are a team wracked with injuries on offense. The O-line has not had the same starting lineup since the opener due to injuries. Nathan Scheelhaase has been hobbling around on a bad ankle, and when he isn’t handing off, he is running for his life. The Illini offense is really all Scheelhaase right now. On defense the Illini hadn’t stopped anyone until last week. Which begs the question, did the Illini start coming around last week in Madison? Or is the Wisconsin offense just inept this year? Who knows. What we do know is that first year Coach Tim Beckman is short on bodies and lacking in talent in his first season at the helm. Guess what? I still think the Fighting Illini will show up to play this Saturday!
I am interested to see if Coach Borges will stick with Denard left, Denard right, and Denard up the middle this week. I am certain he could put up big numbers against this defense, but will that work down the road? Specifically, against that team from East Lansing next week. In reality, I think this is a great opportunity to run more of the offense, yes even more pro style stuff, and get Fitz and the rest of our running game in some kind of groove. Maybe Denard can work on his pocket passing game and not have to worry about pressure from all directions too. We are still a very potent offense when we are one dimensional, but to take the next step, and compete for the division title, we must continue to evolve the offense and give defenses more to worry about. Again…thank you Illinois. This should be just what we need to experiment and tinker some more with the offense.
Whatever the strategy is Saturday, I think we will be successful and put points up on the board. I can’t tell you exactly why, but I think our defense is going to get better and better each week. A one dimensional, banged up team like Illinois should struggle mightily to move the sticks Saturday. For many reasons, we need a solid performance this week at Homecoming. For a young team, two back to back impressive performances would bring much needed confidence. Confidence is what we need right now as we approach the pinnacle game of 2012, against those guys in green, and then take a trip down to Lincoln the following week. I think Saturday will help nicely in that regard.
Bring on The Spartans Baby! The streak stops next week in Ann Arbor! It’s time!
The gamblers in Vegas have Michigan as 23.5 point favorites, the question is will Michigan cover that number (remember we were 3 point favorites at Purdue) and if so, will it all be via field goals. Michigan red-zone O has been less than stellar, and the Illini own the B1G’s second ranked red-zone D.
Illini will win if: They can (much like UM) become less a one dimensional Scheelhaase show, and there group hug meetings worked to shore up the D play.
UM will win if: See above about Scheelhaase and change the name to Denard, and if Michigan performs more control the clock football.
The Illinois game is always a hard one to pick, especially homecoming.
It is still not a vintage team, average defense with a decent QB.
Michigan should take care of business at home.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff
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