"There's no doubt U-M has more talent than NW"

As usual, former Michigan staffer Mark Ouimet tells it like it is in previewing the Northwestern game.


Michigan has more takent than the Wildcats and should win -- and will win.

Michigan's Offense versus the Northwestern Defense

Michigan's offense is the strength of the team.Michigan averages 185 yards a game rushing. And Northwestern is giving up a lot on the ground, 170 per game. Michigan has 103 first downs rushing ... and 123 passing. So Michigan is good on the ground, but they're a better team passing than running.

If Michigan comes out passing always opens up the run. Let's hope that develops -- that helps.

Michigan is averaging 5.8 yards per play overall, which is very good. Coach Terry Malone (offensive coordinator) is doing great job mixing up the play calling.

And the Wolverines are excellent on 3rd downs -- 48% which is damn good.

Michigan averages over 31 minutes a game in time of possess, which is good.

Northwestern is giving up over 400 yards per game. So this isn't a great defense Michigan will be facing.

John Navarre and and the wide receivers, and Perry -- all should have a good day.

The Wildcats have two good players on defense DL Loren Howard and LB Pat Durr ... but that's about all they have defensively. Their corners not great. Michigan should be able to move the ball at will and score some points.

Michigan does well scoring in the 1st and 4th quarters -- hopefully they will take the crowd out of game right away.

Michigan's Defense versus the Northwestern Offense

There will be a couple series in this game where Northwestern will pose some problems on offense with their different wrinkles.

Their offense is a spread like MSU's and Purdue's, but their quarterback Brett Basanez makes more audibles at the line of scrimmage. And he calls his own number a lot -- he's the 3rd leading rusher on the team. Running back Jason Wright averages 86 yards a game, he's a hell of a back. Their 2nd leading rusher is Noah Herron who Michigan recruited for a while. The strength of their attack is running the ball -- they average184 yards a game.

Northwestern doesn't have great wide receivers, they throw mostly short passes and try to run after the catch. And they spread the ball out to everyone. They will spread out the ball, and try and force Michigan's linebackers into tough coverage situations.

Northwestern will look at the 50-point game a few years back and try to repeat that.
But this time they will see a Michigan defense more like the defense against Purdue and MSU: 5-6 defensive backs. Plus Marlin Jackson will be back.

Also, Basanez has 11 interceptions, and Northwestern has lost eight fumbles. That's two turnovers a game -- Michigan will try to continue that.

The Michigan defense will put pressure on them, try to force them into mistakes -- force them into two turnovers, and not have any.

The bugabu this game is coming off a bye week. In the past it's been hard for Michigan. The bye creates a change schedue, a change for the kids. The challenge is to keep the kids focused. It's about maintaining focus. If they have done that, they will be sharp at the beginning of the game. So the 1st quarter will show us where we're at. The positive of a bye week of course is getting guys healthy. So it's a Catch 22 -- but good teams can overcome the negative part. This is a good team, and they will overcome it. It helps not to face great defensive opponent this week.

Ouimet's Prediction:
Michigan won't shut them out, but it'll be ... 38-17.

A word on Michigan in the BCS. Who might Michigan pass in the BCS rankings (assuming the Wolverines win out of course)? Michigan will move at least one of course if they beat OSU. Then there are the SEC teams ahead of them, LSU and Tennessee. LSU plays Mississippi, then if they win they face Fla./Tenn./Ga. in the SEC championship game. So either LSU or Tennessee should slip behind Michigan. Then there is TCU, the monkey-wrench of the BCS this year. They have two tough oppoenets left in Cinncinnati and Southern Miss, and you can believe the BSC hopes they lose one (could you imagine TCU in the Rose Bowl, getting beat by 30 points -- ouch!) The one team that could leap-frog Michigan is Georgia if they end up the SEC Champ. As far as Texas -- they have two easy games left versus Baylor and A&M. They'd make a great Rose opponent, wouldn't they (.... two mirror-like teams .... that would be a tough-tough-TOUGH game).

The Michigan Insider Top Stories