First Look: Michigan

Alan Karpick, Publisher
Gold and Black

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Here's an early look at Purdue's next opponent, the Michigan Wolverines

Time: 4 p.m. ET Saturday

Location: Ross-Ade Stadum

Surface: Natural

Capacity: 57,236 (Tickets available)

Records: Michigan (3-0 overall, 0-0 Big Ten); Purdue (2-1 overall, 0-0 Big Ten)

Series notes: Michigan has dominated the series, winning 44-of-58 games, but the Boilermakers have won nine of their 25 games at home over the years. The teams haven't played since Coach Danny Hope's last season at Purdue, and Michigan has won the last three. Before that in 2008-09, Purdue pulled out back-to-back victories over the Wolverines for the first time since winning five straight in the series from 1962-66.


Early line: Michigan -9

Is Michigan struggling or is this who Michigan is?

The Wolverines were not extremely impressive in their 29-13 win over Air Force. And offensively, Michigan has been so-so to date in 2017 in three games. The Wolverines are strong defensively, ranked ninth nationally against the run (82.3 per game), extremely impressive considering last Saturday's opponent Air Force didn't officially attempt a pass in the first half against the Wolverines. Opponents have only reached the Wolverines' redzone four times in three games. This will be a big challenge for Purdue.

Is Michigan vulnerable at quarterback?

There was so much talk going into the season about the race to be the starter, but Wilton Speight won the job. He is completing just 54 percent of his passes through three games, with three TDs and two interceptions. As a whole, the offense has sputtered, a case in point is that it ranks 102nd nationally in third-down conversions (16-of-47). The running game is averaging just under 200 yards per game (41st nationally) and the Wolverines needed a 79-yard punt return by Donovan Peoples-Jones for a score to give themselves distance against the Falcons. It is a reminder that Michigan has playmakers everywhere.

This is the biggest game in Ross-Ade Stadium since? 

Purdue hasn't had a home sellout since 2008 (Joe Tiller's last game) and one could argue that Saturday's game is the most important in Ross-Ade Stadium since Oct. 6, 2007 when the No. 23 Boilermakers were shutout by No. 4 Ohio State 23-0. The game was a Saturday Night Spotlight game on ABC.

As of Saturday, there were 12,000 tickets still remaining, but that number has changed in the last 48 hours.

Jeff Brohm on Michigan

"Coach (Jim) Harbaugh is as good as it gets when it comes to knowing football and how to coach. He's got a great defense. He's got some dynamic players on special teams. While he wants to score points on offense, I'm sure he doesn't want to screw it up either.

"I think they're going to control the ball. They're going to try to continue to pound the ball at you, not do things to beat themselves. So while they may not be scoring, I don't know if they're beating themselves. That's kind of the key to winning.

"I think (Harbaugh's) smart enough to realize, 'We'll keep working with our offense, get them better each week, allow our defense and special teams to try to continue to dominate.' He's been around football. He knows how to win. The formula has worked."


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