It's the battle of two defenses in Saturday's upcoming game against Northwestern. The number 18 team in the country, Michigan, will host the surprise number 13 team in the Wildcats on Saturday. Surprisingly, there's a lot to play for between the two teams. Both the Wildcats and the Wolverines have gone above and beyond expectations this season and are looking to take it even further after this week. Michigan has certainly been on the better side of luck against Northwestern the past few seasons. Will luck continue on Saturday?
We preview what's to come.
Last Meeting: Michigan wins 10-9.
What a win means for Michigan: A win against Northwestern further legitimizes the season for Michigan. It will keep the surprising upward trend going and their hopes for competing in the conference remain alive. Obviously beating the number 13 team in the country goes a long way. If the conference isn't already, they will definitely be put on watch if the Wolverines can escape with a win. Also, on top of everything, having as much positive momentum heading into Michigan State week as possible will be huge.
What a win means for Northwestern: I think we can all pretty much agree that Northwestern is legitimate if they beat Michigan. So far, their defense has been impressive and has really been the story so far this season. From what they were last year and continuing their push into the top ten is fantastic for them. Of course, that's if they can come away with a victory here.
Player to watch: This one isn't necessarily a player to watch from a statistic standpoint but a player to watch from a Michigan defense standpoint. Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson will be facing one of, if not the biggest, challenge of his career on Saturday. Facing the Michigan Stadium crowd and the Wolverine defense at the same time. Will he able to handle the pressure or will he fold like Tanner Mangum? That's what will be interesting to see during Saturday's game.
What they're saying: Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald (all quotes used from NUSports.com)
On the team being undefeated: "Obviously, it's pretty cool being 5-0," Vitale said when asked about that. "But we're just trying to go 1-0 every week. One game at a time. Really, only one day at a time. I'm looking forward to tomorrow's practice. That's all that's on my mind right now. Obviously we're excited about it. But we've just got to keep taking it one step at a time. Great things are going to happen for us if we do that."
"Our theme here is not only going 1-0 every week, but going 1-0 every single rep too," Frazier said when asked how the team stayed earthbound with all the chatter surrounding it. "That keeps us grounded, focused on the matter at hand, and not getting caught up in all the hype and the atmosphere and that type of thing."