The Michigan Wolverines are 3-0 this season. Having made it through the non-conference portion of the season unscathed, it’s time for the Maize and Blue to turn their attention to the Big Ten.
This weekend the Wolverines travel to Indiana for a matchup with the upstart Purdue Boilermakers. Purdue is led by Jeff Brohm and is off to a surprising 2-1 start. Let’s take a look at 3 keys to a Michigan victory this Saturday.
SLOWING THE PURDUE TRAIN
Jeff Brohm has the Boilermakers feeling confident and having fun playing football this season. Purdue has surprised opponents with a prolific offense that is has shown flashes of greatness. Furthermore, Brohm is not afraid to use misdirection and trick plays to get the job done. Check out this flea flicker against Ohio.
Boiler up to somethin pic.twitter.com/9nOctDbgXW
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) September 9, 2017
That is an offense that is playing with confidence and swagger. They will welcome the challenge of mighty Michigan to West Lafayette. Michigan needs to come out strong, establish dominance (the Wolverines have a big edge in talent), and control the game from the start. Not an easy task to do on the road anywhere and especially in the Big Ten.
LIMIT BIG PLAYS
Michigan’s defense has been a bright spot this season. In their second year under the expert tutelage of Don Brown, the unit has been the main reason for the team’s 3-0 record. That said, the Maize and Blue defense is young and slightly vulnerable to big plays. Take a look at this long touchdown pass that Air Force was able to complete this past weekend.
Michigan’s best bet is to turn loose their defensive ends Chase Winovich and Rashan Gary. These two players are having excellent seasons so far. Winovich has been especially good, scoring 15 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble so far this year. He and Gary will need to pressure Purdue signal caller David Blough. The junior has completed 51 of 67 passes this season good for 6 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions.
The Purdue offense is the most efficient red zone team in the Big Ten. They are a perfect 13/13 (10 touchdowns) inside their opponents 20-yard line so far this season. They know how to finish and are playing without fear. Michigan needs to bring their A-game defensively.
EXASPERATE THE COACHING ADVANTAGE
Brohm has the Boilermakers primed for an upset over the Wolverines. Jim Harbaugh leads a Michigan squad that is still trying to find a team identity. The good news for Michigan is that this is not Harbaugh’s first rodeo. The team may be very young, but, Harbaugh has it all over Brohm in terms of experience.
This is only Brohm’s 4th season as a head coach. In a recent interview, Brohm had this to say about his opponent this week:
“Coach Harbaugh is as good as it gets when it comes to knowing football and how to coach,” Brohm said. “Right now, in order to succeed and win, we’ve got to have balance.”
He is correct about that. For all his eccentricities, Harbaugh is as good as it gets regarding knowledge of football and getting the most out of his players. Michigan will have to rely on that experience if Harbaugh is to shepherd his young flock to a win in their first Big Ten game this season.
- Date: Saturday, September 23
- Time: 4 p.m. ET
- Broadcast: FOX | Michigan IMG Sports Network (Check local listings)
- Line: MICH -10
- O/U: 51.5
|EVAN JAMES BAILEY||MICH, 38-10|
|DANIEL DYLAN BAIR||PUR, 31-24|
|MATT BASSIN||MICH, 27-20|
|DON DRYSDALE||MICH, 31-17|
|RYAN GRIFFIN||MICH, 40-26|
|ALEXANDER MULLER||MICH, 31-24|
|ROB OTTO||MICH, 23-17|
|CARL POPOSKI||MICH, 31-17|
|AJ REILLY||MICH, 34-10|
|PAUL ROCHON||MICH, 31-16|