Friday, October 26, 2012

Lazy Man's Michigan Preview: Nebraska

The Blackshirts have been about as intimidating as these pirates.

(22) Michigan Wolverines (5-2, 3-0 B1G) @ Nebraska Cornhuskers (5-2, 2-1 B1G)
Saturday, 10/27 8:00 pm ET, Memorial Stadium, ESPN2

It was rough sledding last week but the boys in blue got the W. It seems as if Borges has slapped the training wheels on Denard in hopes of not reproducing another Notre Dame. And did you notice, Denard attempted 29 passes in the game and they squeaked out a win. Just saying.

With Little Brother sent back to his room, let's set our sights on a trip to Cornville.

Offense

It's hard to say what Borges will do in this game. Lately the offense has been super conservative and leaving the defense to win games for them. Against teams with offenses like MSU that can work. Nebraska is better offensively so Borges is going to have to get things going early. As you see above I don't think much of the Nebraska defense. Teams with mobile quarterbacks and good running games have had success against them this year. Braxton Miller and OSU shredded them and UCLA put up 36. Denard is going to find some lanes to run through in this game. How early is going to depend on how soon Borges tries to stretch the D. If he comes out aggressive early, we could see lots of long runs in the second half.

Defense
Nebraska is a run-first team. But, it seems gone is the Martinez lob as Nebraska is third in passing in the conference and number one in passing efficiency. That said, this is easily the toughest defense Nebraska has faced all season. The success of Nebraska's passing game is largely due to the talent at WR. Kenny Bell is having a nice season in his sophomore year. Michigan is going to have to get a solid pass rush in this game in order to be effective. I like Mattison to mess with Martinez's head and throw a variety of zone blitzes at him. Michigan has been playing very fundamental football on defense and I look for that to continue. Nebraska will have a few long drives, but I think the Wolverines hold serve in the red zone.

Special Teams
All the Brunette Girls man! Gibby came through again last week. So I'm starting to worry less and less about the kicking game. What does concern me this week is the punt returns. The game is at night and it's going to be cold. Catch the ball boys. Catch the ball.

The Prediction
All the experts are calling for a tight game and I really can't argue. On paper, these teams are similar. I think it's all going to depend on how much they let Denard open up the offense, which is a weird thing to say before game 8 of his senior season. If Michigan is running into 8 and 9 man fronts, it could be a long, cold night. Borges is going to have to test the edges with either the jet sweeps or throwback screens or bubble screens. If you see one of these plays in the first series, I predict Michigan wins comfortably. If not, let's hope the defense puts in another masterpiece.

The conservatism is shelved a bit, Denard has a bad, bad pick, but gets a couple long ones to Funchess. That opens up lanes for him to go over 150 yds rushing. Michigan wins in a comfortable close one 31 - 27.


Lets see how I compare to Michigan Blogdom

MGoBlog says the Defense is elite but the offense, not so much.

The Big House Blog has a nice did you know and predicts a W.

BWS says the secondary will be tested, but will pass.

Holdin the Rope has lots about Lil' Red and a prediction on anything but football.

Maize and Blue Nation says UM's secondary wins the day.

Maize N Brew is uncertain with their pick, but leans Michigan.

Maize and Go Blue says the offenses are a wash, but the Wolverine D is the winning factor.

The M Zone learns us on Nebraska and says it's a field goal fest.

Touch the Banner gives us a cheerleader, score and last year's highlights

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