Michigan Football: 4 questions facing Wolverines against Illinois

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Michigan football hits the road this Saturday to take on Illinois and here are four key questions the Wolverines must answer against the Fighting Illini.

Not that it’s easy or even recommended, but try to ignore Michigan football’s 35-14 loss to Wisconsin three weeks ago.

Well, less the loss itself, but the way it happened. The way the Wolverines were caught in Camp Randall Stadium with their pants down and were then thoroughly pulverized. Pretend it was just an isolated incident, an expected loss in a hostile road environment to a Top-15 team and not a shambolic three hours that had Ann Arborites calling for heads on stakes.

And if you’re able to do that, Michigan’s position, five games into the 2019 season, is…well, relatively fine?

The Wolverines cruised over Rutgers two weeks ago and put together one of their finest defensive performances under Jim Harbaugh last Saturday, a 10-3 win over previously undefeated Iowa. They’re 4-1 and all their goals still sit ahead for their taking. It will be a long, challenging road to for Michigan football to get there, but at least they’ve made it onto the highway. The win over the Hawkeyes showed that much.

A win at Illinois this weekend wouldn’t have the same impact as last Saturday did, as the 2-3 Illini stand as a mere precursor to bigger tests down the road — Penn State and Notre Dame, most urgently. But with the Wolverines’ margin for error so slim for the rest of the season, simply winning probably won’t be enough. They’ll have to win. They’ll have to look good doing it. And they’ll have to look like their loss in Madison was, indeed, an isolated incident.

Here are four questions for this Saturday in Champaign.