"It'll be important to score first."

So says former Michigan staffer Mark Ouimet about the Purdue game, because, "Both Coach Carr and Coach Tiller are field position type of coaches, even though they go about it in different ways." Ouimet also says, "Something weird will happen in this game with special teams." Read on.


Both Coach Carr and Coach Tiller are field position type of coaches, even though they go about it in different ways. So for both teams it'll be important to score first,to try to get the other team off their game offensively. And Special Teams will be important as well -- something weird will happen in this game with special teams.

Special teams first.

Purdue's Special Teams are decent.
Purdue has a good punter, Brent Slaton, who is averaging 41.5yards a game.
And they have a good punt returner, Anthony Chambers is averaging 12.4 yards and has a touchdown.
They have a good field goal kicker, Ben Jones. He kicked four field goals in the Wisconsin game. He's 15-17 with a long of 50. He's got a leg -- one of his misses is from 53 yards.

Michigan's Special Teams are improving, and hopefully they'll continue that way. Garrett Rivas is kicking better. And on kickoff returns, LeSueur will be back there again, if his shoulder allows it. Otherwise it'll be Carl Tabb and Tim Bracken.

I don't think we'll see another Michigan Special Teams breakdown.

The game will be close -- and so the kicking game will be key in the end.

When Purdue is on Offense.

Offensively, Purdue is solid. They like to get on the board quick, they are a good first quarter team.

Offensively, Purdue is good at everything. They know how to run and pass. They have 71 first downs running, 72 passing -- that shows you right there.

They do a lot of checking down at the line of scrimmage. And in the passing game they run a lot of quick hitters.

Purdue's quarterback Kyle Orton has had a good year. And they have the best receiving duo in the Big Ten, along with Michigan, in Taylor Stubblefield and John Standeford. They average 160 yards a game between the two.

Their tight end, Charles Davis is from Orchard Lake St. Mary's. He will start, and he'll play a lot, mostly for blocking. And we'll see some passes to him.

Purdue averages 172.6 yards rushing, and an overall offensive average of 408 yards a game. Both are very good.

Purdue has three decent backs, led by Jerod Void and also Jerome Brooks and Brandon Jones. Void will be the key back, both running and passing. They'll throw some passes to him.

So Purdue will spread it out, and make Michigan's linebackers cover receivers, whether it's their wideouts, running backs or tight ends.

Purdue will do a little more passing than running, with the spread offense.

But the most important thing to Purdue, believe it or not, is possessing the ball. Their average time of possession is 34.51 minutes, which is very good. So they will go for it in 4th and short situations in order to keep possession.

So Michigan needs to pressure the quarterback with Larry Stevens, Lamarr Woodley, and Pierre Woods.
Woods is Michigan's leading sackman, and Stevens knows how to get to the quarterback. Stevens better play -- and I think he will. Woods has to have an outstanding game. And Woodley HAS to get to the quarterback, to pressure if not sack him.

Michigan's cornerbacks, Marcus Curry and Jeremy LeSueur, have to have great games, and safeties Marlin Jackson and Ernest Shazor have to have great games. And how healthy will Marlin be -- that'll be important. And Leon Hall and Jon Shaw will be important as well ... they are our next two guys in the nickel and dime packages. I assume Shaw will be the third safety, since he has seen it all before. He's reliable. Willis Barringer will play too.

Michigan will need to disguise their coverages, confuse Orton, and blitz him. Forcing turnovers is important as well, it's part of pressuring the QB.

And Michigan gives up 147 yards a game rushing; they need to be at that or better Saturday.

When Michigan is on Offense.

Michigan is rushing the ball well, averagins 191.3 yards a game. And they are averaging 39 points a game.

Purdue is playing good defense, and have several star defensive players in safety Stu Scherigert, linebackers Niko Koutouvides and Landon Johnson, and defensive linemen Shaun Phillips and Craig Terrell.

But I think Michigan will have some success on offense, and will score in the twenties.

Purdue will watch film of the Oregon and Iowa games, and therefore focus on stopping the run and making Michigan pass.

So to move the ball, I think Michigan will pass more earlier, and attack more to open up the run. Michigan will spread it out more, with 3-4-5 wide receiversT. hey will try to make Schweigert play the whole field, not just half. Schweigert has had a good year, with three interceptions. Michigan will, I believe, go to the pass to spread out Purdue, and set up the run. Watch for Chris Perry on screens , and the Michigan tight ends will be very important. The tight ends will need to make the big catch.

I think you'll see a well-prepared Michigan offense that'll be able to run and throw.

Michigan needs to score fast and first. Whoever scores first will be very key. It'll pressure the opposing offense, get it out of it's 'possession style' of play.
There will be two good defenses out there, so who scores first is important.
It's especially for Michigan to score first, being at home. It'll be important to score first to keep the crowd in the game.

One other important factor -- turnovers. Purdue has a 7 vs. 19 positive turnover margin. Michigan is minus, 13 to 12. So 'no turnovers' for Michigan is very important.

My prediction: 29-27 Michigan

I also predict: something weird will happen in the game. The hope is that it'll be another Steve Breaston touchdown return.

And next week, versus MSU, there's a good chance for overtime.

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