As I write this on Wednesday/Thursday, there’s not much known about which Wisconsin players will be available to play on Saturday, including starting QB Graham Mertz, which is kind of a big deal. This preview assumes they’re at full strength.
RUSH OFFENSE vs. WISCONSIN RUSH DEFENSE
Michigan is #84 in rush offense (140.3 yards/game) and #31 in rushing average (5.1 yards/carry). That second number is a bit of a lie, because the Wolverines ran all over Minnesota in week one and have struggled mightily in the past two games. The “bell cow” so far this season is Hassan Haskins, who is averaging a whopping 6.67 carries per game. I have confidence that the offensive line will improve as the season goes along, because offensive line coach Ed Warinner has pulled off that feat before. But Michigan was missing its starting offensive tackles last week, and it’s unclear whether they’ll be back for Wisconsin or not. Meanwhile, Wisconsin allowed 131 yards in its lone game against Illinois this season on 5.24 yards/attempt. Those numbers aren’t good for the Badgers, but they were hurt by a couple quarterback keepers (by former Wolverine Brandon Peters) that Michigan has seemingly been unwilling to run. Wisconsin runs a 3-4 look that generally does a good job of swarming to the football. Junior linebacker Jack Sanborn (6’2″, 232 lbs.) is probably the biggest name on defense, and he made 3 tackles and 2 quarterback hurries in the opener. I was also impressed by senior defensive end Isaiahh Loudermilk (6’7″, 293) in that game against the Illini.
Hit the jump for more.