RUSH OFFENSE vs. PURDUE RUSH DEFENSE
Michigan is #42 with just over 199 yards/game on the ground and #48 in rushing average (4.67). That’s the good news. There’s some bad news, though, and plenty of it. First is that starting running back Ty Isaac (112 yards/game, 7.1 yards/carry) left last week’s game with some sort of rib/abdominal injury, and while Jim Harbaugh says he should be fine and ready to go, a rib injury won’t just disappear in a week. Backups Chris Evans and Karan Higdon have combined for 228 yards on 56 carries, which is just barely over 4.0 yards/carry. The other bad news is that Michigan’s offensive line has struggled, particularly on the right side where sophomore Michael Onwenu and redshirt sophomore Nolan Ulizio reside. Purdue is #54 with just under 130 yards allowed per game and #80 in rushing yards allowed per carry (4.09). The Boilermakers’ leading tackler is middle linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley (6’2″, 250 lbs.), followed by strong safety Jacob Jacob Thieneman (6’1″, 210) and weakside linebacker T.J. McCollum (6’3″, 235). Fifth year senior outside linebacker Danny Ezechukwu (6’2″, 242) leads the squad with 3 tackles for loss, and Bentley has 2. Michigan will probably mostly see a 3-4 defense, and the defensive linemen aren’t very good. If they can get a hat on Bentley, the Wolverines should be in decent shape.
Advantage: Michigan if Isaac plays; otherwise, Purdue
Hit the jump for the rest of the preview.