The #13 Wisconsin Badgers will host the #11 Michigan Wolverines in a Big Ten showdown Saturday afternoon from Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, WI. Both clubs are well rested after enjoying their bye week in week three.
The Wolverines had no problem in week one, clobbering Middle Tennessee State of the C-USA by a 40-21 score. Week two was too close for comfort as they held on for a narrow 24-21 overtime home win against Army. QB Shea Patterson has recorded 410 passing yards with three touchdowns in two games.
The Badgers made easy work of their first two opponents. They crushed South Florida of the AAC 49-0 in their season opener, followed by a dominating 61-0 home win against Central Michigan of the MAC last week. QB Jack Coan has accumulated 564 passing yards accompanied with a 5:0 TD to INT ratio. The Wolverines hosted the Badgers last season and came away with a convincing 38-13 victory at the Big House.
#11 Wolverines Outlast Army in OT
The Michigan Wolverines are fortunate to still be ranked #11th in the country. Their start can be classified as uninspiring. They tallied a 40-21 home win against Middle Tennessee State in their season opener but narrowly avoided the upset in a 24-21 overtime home win against Army in week two in a game that had the Wolverines favored by 21.5 points. QB Shea Patterson has fared reasonably well, collecting 410 passing yards with three TD’s with no interceptions in two games. The senior is experienced. although he has never really put up huge numbers which included a 22:7 TD to INT ratio last year. Patterson only tallied 124 passing yards in the win against the Badgers last season.
Jim Harbaugh has not been hesitant in giving RB Zach Charbonnet plenty of action. The 6-foot-1 freshman has tallied 190 rushing yards on 41 carries through two games. The Wolverines are tasked with replacing the dynamic Karan Higdon who recorded over 1100 yards in 2018. Nico Collins led Michigan with 632 receiving yards last year, and he has brought in 81 yards in two games. WR Donovan Peoples-Jones is questionable for this one.
— Michigan Football (@UMichFootball) September 10, 2019
The Wolverines need to show a lot more offensive prowess after scoring only 14 points after four quarters against Army last week. It could be tough considering Wisconsin’s vaunted defense.
“Challenge of this game is big,” Harbaugh said. “Always — played Wisconsin now three times, going for the fourth. They’re just good every year. Seems to be every time you face them, a really talented, veteran, well-coached football team. Camp Randall is a tough venue – that’s a tough one to get. We haven’t won in four or five tries. It’s a big game for us, big challenge.”
The Michigan defense is the strength of this team. They rank 10th against the pass and 60th against the run through two games. Their rush defense will need to be better this week. The Big Ten is competitive as ever and the Wolverines will need to be a lot better now that conference play has arrived. Michigan is averaging 32 points, ranking them 64th overall, while conceding an average of 21 points, which puts them at 21st in the FBS.
#13 Badgers Have Yet to Allow a Point
The #13 Wisconsin Badgers are looking very dangerous on both offense and defense in their first two games which have resulted in two easy covers. They hammered USF 49-0 in week one, succeeded by a dominating 61-0 performance against Central Michigan two weeks ago. QB Jack Coan has been very accurate, connecting on 76% of his passes for 564 yards and five touchdowns against zero picks. The junior QB posted a 5:3 TD to INT ratio in limited action last season as the #2 QB behind Alex Hornibrook.
“He’s playing well,” Harbaugh said of Coan. “I remember him from — recruited him at my campus here. Very good athlete. Throws the ball very well. Very competitive. Always liked him a lot. He’s having success. Doing a very good job of starting off their season as the Wisconsin quarterback. He’s been impressive.”
The Badgers are a huge threat on the ground led by the talented Jonathan Taylor who is arguably the best running back in the FBS. The junior RB led the entire Big Ten with 2194 rushing yards in 2018, and he has accrued 237 yards in two games this year. Taylor registered 101 rushing yards on 17 carries in last season’s meeting against Michigan. Wisconsin’s receiving core is very experienced and a big threat as well. Quintez Cephus leads the way with 169 receiving yards on nine catches.
“You know you’re going to see things you’re not seeing on film, and you’ve gotta be able to adjust within the flow of a game,” said Chryst. “I think that’s a challenge that everyone faces throughout the year early in the year.” Chryst later added, “you’ve seen some new faces and certainly see a talented group. This year they’ve played two different types or styles of offense…they’ll be some things we’ve seen and will recognize, and then they’ll be some new looks for us.”
“He’s really good, to answer that question,” Harbaugh said about whether you can stop Taylor. “Can run all the assortment of runs. Elusive back, power back, light on his feet, sees holes. Kinda does everything well, blocks well. I think you said the word (contain) – you just try to contain a back like that. Not a realistic thing to think you can stop him. Hope to contain and get stops and get the ball back over to the offense.”
It's Michigan Week.
— Wisconsin On BTN (@WisconsinOnBTN) September 16, 2019
The Badgers offense appears in midseason form with outstanding production in both the air and on the ground, although they have faced two subpar defensive units, and this game will be the real test. The Wisconsin defense has yet to allow a point and there no flaws in this stifling defense. They have made five sacks and three interceptions as well. Wisconsin is averaging 55 points, good for fourth in the country, and they are #1 with zero points allowed.
The Michigan Wolverines are:
- 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
- 1-6 ATS in their last 7 road games.
- 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following an ATS loss.
The Wisconsin Badgers are:
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
- 10-3 ATS in their last 13 games following a bye week.
- 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games after allowing less than 170 passing yards in their previous game.