Each Michigan and Illinois have extremely touted working backs and defenses, however which one will reign supreme?
The No. 3 Michigan Wolverines have two video games left of their 2022 season. On Saturday, they host Illinois for the primary time since 2016; their most up-to-date contest got here in 2019, with the Wolverines beating the Illini 42-25.
The final time the Preventing Illini had been 7-3 was 2007, the 12 months they went to the Rose Bowl. That season they pulled off the upset over then No. 1 Ohio State in Columbus. Coincidentally, it was their second-to-last sport of the common season. Can historical past repeat itself this 12 months?
The Illini are 11-35-1 general on the Huge Home since their first go to. Their most up-to-date win in Ann Arbor was in 2008, with Illinois beating Michigan 45-20. Since then, Michigan has been on a five-game successful streak spanning the final 12 years.
Each groups want the win on Saturday. Illinois has dropped its final two video games after beginning 7-1 and must win its subsequent two to get a shot on the Huge Ten West bid. Michigan hopes to remain good on the season and return to Indy and the CFP for a second 12 months in a row.
A 12 months prior, the Wolverines had been 10-1 heading into their closing residence sport of the season. Their lone loss got here on the street, in order that they hadn’t misplaced at residence. Now in 2022, Michigan is 10-0 in an analogous scenario. Can Michigan go undefeated on the Huge Home once more? What has to occur to stay good this season and at residence?
There are two issues we learn about Illinois. One: the Illini have the most effective defenses within the nation and the Huge Ten. Two: they’ve one of many prime working backs within the nation. The identical issues are recognized about Michigan. With that in thoughts, which program do you suppose will win on Saturday?
Illinois’ working again Chase Brown leads the nation with 1,442 dashing yards. Initially questionable after exiting final week’s sport resulting from harm, he faces a troublesome Michigan protection ought to he have the ability to go. The Wolverines are solely giving up 72.7 dashing yards a sport, which leads the Huge Ten.
Illinois faces an analogous problem in Michigan working again Blake Corum. His 1,349 dashing yards and 18 touchdowns are third within the nation for working backs. Michigan’s offensive line can be elite. The unit was simply named as a semifinalist for the Joe Moore Award for a second season in a row. Nonetheless, this week Corum and the Wolverines face a protection that solely provides up 85.9 dashing yards a sport.
On this battle between two prime working backs and two prime defenses, which one do you like? Michigan has 546 complete dashing yards in its final two video games, with Corum dashing for 271 yards. Illinois has 255 rush yards, with Brown dashing 234 yards. Michigan has larger and extra numerous manufacturing on the bottom compared to Illinois, which I feel is an indicator of Michigan’s larger success.
Michigan’s protection has solely allowed its opponents 89 dashing yards their final two video games in comparison with Illinois’ 254. The Wolverines have additionally shut out their final two opponents within the second half. They’ve finished exceptionally nicely in closing out video games these previous few weeks and I feel Illinois will battle in opposition to Michigan within the second half.
If Michigan’s protection eliminates Illinois’ floor sport, they management this sport. Conversely, if Corum continues his Heisman-caliber season, there isn’t purpose to doubt Michigan goes undefeated at residence this 12 months.
However what do you suppose? Is Illinois able to upset Michigan at residence like they did Ohio State in 2007? Will the Wolverines have solutions to Illinois’ protection and Brown? How can the Wolverines make sure the win on Saturday?
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