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Michigan vs. UMass Preview

October 5, 2012


October 6th, 2012 – 4:00pm

West Lafayette, IN

Song of the week:

“Believe, believe in me, believe

That life can change, that you’re not stuck in vain

We’re not the same, we’re different tonight

Tonight, Tonight”

– Smashing Pumpkins, song “Tonight, Tonight”

Names To Know

1. Kawann Short (DT #93) – Purdue’s defensive line has gotten a lot of praise this season and the bulk of that praise is because of the play of senior defensive tackle Kawann Short. The interior of Michigan’s offensive line (Barnum-Mealer-Omameh) are going to need to play very well this week to prevent Short from getting upfield quickly and forcing Denard into mistakes…or bodyslamming him to the ground.

2. Antavian Edison (WR #13) – Edison has been the biggest playmaker for Purdue so far this season. He’s had at least 5 catches and 1 touchdown in every game so far this year, and accounted for both touchdowns against Notre Dame. Listed at 5-11, Antavian is going to be targeted on screens and end-arounds, especially if Michigan plays its cornerbacks off the line of scrimmage.

3. Caleb TerBush (QB #19) – TerBush had lost the starting job in the offseason to former Miami Hurricane Robert Marve, who’s story is too long for this preview, but key words would be Miami-Strippers-Booster-Ponzi-Snitching-ACL. Marve suffered yet another ACL injury during the Notre Dame game though so TerBush got one more shot as the starter. He should see all the snaps this week, but Marve is claiming his partially torn ACL “feels better” and he might try to play this week.

Offensive Strength

Michigan Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison said in his press conference this week that Purdue throws a lot of screen passes and boy was he right. The Boilermakers love short passes to get their receivers in space or at least pickup consistent gains. Their top 3 receivers this season, which account for 70+% of the offense, have a combined 67 catches for 658 yards (9.8 yards per catch). They will try to make plays deep to keep the defense honest, but it’s no secret that if they see a 10 yard cushion on a receiver, the quarterback will check to some type of quick pass that gets them at least a few yards.

Offensive Weakness

Danny Hope, the head coach for Purdue, said that there is a chance Robert Marve could play this week even with his minor ACL injury that kept him out the last 3 weeks. He also missed most of the 2010 season and most of the 2011 season with various ACL injuries, so it’s not like he has been a picture of health where this is just a minor setback. When an oft-injured quarterback nursing a new ACL injury who has played in around 10 games in his 4 years at Purdue is in discussion to get playing time this week, it tells me there is some concern with the current starter. Maybe it’s just gamesmanship from Danny Hope, but it still doesn’t show any public confidence in Caleb TerBush to get the job done. On a team that needs to pass to win games, the quarterback position needs to be stable, and Purdue’s is far from it.

Defensive Strength

I can’t write anything that will strike more fear than this video from MGoBlog / MGoVideo:

Defensive Weakness

When Michigan played Notre Dame in South Bend, Everett Golson was 3-8 passing for 30 yards and threw 2 interceptions before getting benched. Against Purdue in week two, Golson was 21-31 for 289 yards, 1 touchdown, and no interceptions. Purdue’s corners, Ricardo Allen and Josh Johnson, have gotten some decent praise this season, but they is a clear problem with the pass defense when a bad QB like Golson puts up those numbers and the Marshall QB, Rakeen Cato, throws for 439 yards and 5 touchdowns in a losing effort last week.

My Game Expectations

As some of you know, I moved from Utah back to the Ann Arbor area last week. Based on all the fear I am seeing from Michigan fans this week and hearing Kirk Herbstreit pick Purdue to win the Big Ten and beat Michigan this week, I’m wondering if I also moved back in time to a point when Purdue had Drew Brees. Time travel is the only explanation I have for the Purdue love-fest that has been going on all week.

Let me try to debunk some of the most common statements I’ve seen this week and show you why I feel Purdue is who we thought they were:

“Purdue put up 51 points on Marshall last week!” — So? West Virginia put up 69 points on them and Rice dropped 51… The Herd just aren’t very good.

“The Boilers are 3-1 and scored at least 48 points in each of their wins!” — So? If Michigan played Eastern Kentucky instead of Alabama we’d be 3-1 too and would’ve probably scored at least 50 points too.

“Purdue returns all of their starters from last year!” — So? These returning starters went 6-6 last year, lost to Michigan by 20+, and played in a bowl game in Detroit. Not exactly a championship caliber team.

Anything can happen on a Saturday afternoon, but Michigan should not lose to this Purdue team after having 2 weeks to prepare. My biggest concern for this game is the fact the Michigan corners typically play with an 8-10 yard cushion on receivers to avoid getting beat deep. That style would be bad this week with what Purdue likes to do, so I expect Greg Mattison and Curt Mallory have spent 2 weeks showing JT Floyd and Raymon Taylor how to play tighter coverage to avoid the screens and know they’ll have safety help when they are tested over the top. The Michigan defense played extremely well against Notre Dame, and Purdue doesn’t have anywhere near the talent of Notre Dame on offense. There might be some long drives from the Boilermakers, but they should not push around the Michigan defense.



Those dots above represent the time I spent sitting here trying to figure out what to expect from the Michigan offense. Truth is I have no idea what to expect. The disaster in South Bend had bad offensive line play, bad decision making by Denard, too much East-West running by Toussaint, and some bizarre play calling from Al Borges. So what do they do now that they still have a shot at the B1G Championship and Rose Bowl berth? What will the team look like on the road after thinking about South Bend for 2 weeks?

Michigan has more playmakers, they’ve had more time to prepare, and they are coming in with a chip on their shoulder with some in the national media are drooling over Purdue. With all of those factors, I think the offense comes out this week and is not the same one we saw in South Bend. I think they’ll be different on Saturday night as the sun sets in West Lafayette. They’ll have an edge we haven’t seen yet this year and restore some of the confidence of the fanbase.


Michigan wins 28-17

-Mike Randazzo

Click here for Andrew’s Preview


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