The Wolverine

October 2011

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 46 of 91

������ michigan football 6. Michigan (4-0) ��� The Wolverines lit up the night in their scintillating 3531 victory over Notre Dame and have shown some solid moments throughout September. They���ve also endured some rocky going early in games on defense and in getting adjusted to Al Borges��� necessarily hybrid offensive system. Plenty of questions remain on both sides of the ball, but in a Big Ten that has its share of issues, the improving Wolverines could make a move up this list. 7. Penn State (3-1) ��� The Nittany Lions feature no lack of quarterback questions, with sophomore Rob Bolden and senior Matt McGloin combining for the Big Ten���s most impotent passing attack early on. Penn State held its own for awhile at home against powerhouse Alabama, eventually losing 27-11, but a 14-10 escape at Temple the following week raised concerns. The Nittany Lions have plenty of questions to answer early in Big Ten play. 8. Iowa (3-1) ��� The Hawkeyes lost their non-conference grudge match in triple-overtime to Iowa State, 44-41, and needed to mount a furious fourthquarter comeback to survive at home against Pittsburgh, 31-27. Junior quarterback James Vandenberg is beginning to get his feet under him, earning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors after accounting for four TDs in the final 17 minutes of the comeback over Pittsburgh. The Hawkeyes should experience some upward mobility on this list, having played a decent schedule. 9. Northwestern (2-1) ��� It���s tough to know what to make of Northwestern in the early going. They���re obviously a different team with quarterback Dan Persa, but how much and how well he���s going to play is still to be seen. Persa sat out the Wildcats��� 21-14 loss to Army even after being cleared to play, and Northwestern can���t throw the football effectively without its standout from last season. 10. Minnesota (1-3) ��� New head coach Jerry Kill put a huge scare into USC in the opener for both teams, Minnesota losing 19-17 in Los Angeles. The Golden Gophers also dropped one to New Mexico State (28-21) before posting a home win over Miami (Ohio). The Gophers have been floundering ever since they dumped head coach Glen Mason a few years back, and now Kill gets to attempt the resurrection. 11. Purdue (2-1) ��� The Boilermak- Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins (shown getting sacked by Aaron Lynch from Notre Dame) and the Spartans will host Michigan on Oct. 15. phto by aaron suozzi ers look like they could be in for some struggles in the Big Ten, after losing at Rice in week two (24-22), and barely surviving against Middle Tennessee State in a home opener, 27-24. Purdue is beginning to get healthier, and that���s good news for head coach Danny Hope. 12. Indiana (1-3) ��� Kevin Wilson didn���t expect to start out 0-2 as Indi- ana���s head coach, especially with Ball State on the schedule. But Brady Hoke���s alma mater took down the Hoosiers (27-20), and then Wilson���s crew put up a fight before falling at home to Virginia, 34-31. Bloomington has always been a tough place to build a winner, unless one travels across the parking lot to Assembly Hall. ��� John Borton October 2011��� ������ the wolverine��� 47

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