The Wolverine

November 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 15 of 83

16 THE WOLVERINE NOVEMBER 2016   INSIDE MICHIGAN ATHLETICS After six games and a bye week, Michigan was 6-0 (3-0 in the Big Ten), ranked No. 3 in the Associated Press poll and had outscored its opponents 300-62. The Wol- verines might have a perfect record to defend when they take on Ohio State Nov. 26, but they have a couple of potentially tough road tests ahead. Michigan Will Be 11-0 When They Face OSU By Brandon Brown Michigan has shown that its defense is dominant and that will be enough to win every game on the schedule before heading to Columbus. Through six games, U-M was giving up just 10.3 points per game, 212.8 total yards per game and 113.7 passing yards per game — all good for No. 1 in the country. Additionally, the Wolverines were allowing conversions on third down just 12.2 percent of the time — also tops in the land — while their 4.0 sacks per game were tied for first and 10.0 tackles for loss per game ranked second nationally. That defense will keep them in any game and as the offense continues to im- prove, and do-it-all athlete Jabrill Peppers gets more touches on offense and in the return game, no team has what it takes to outscore them through the first 11 games. The Wolverines Will Carry One Loss into Columbus By Leland Mitchinson Though Michigan State's only way to take something from this season is by beat- ing Michigan, it will be Iowa that spoils the Wolverines' season. The Hawkeyes sport the most experienced quarterback U-M will face before Nov. 26 in senior C.J. Beathard. They also average 180.0 yards per game on the ground to go along with 17 rushing touchdowns through seven games. The Iowa defense, led by senior defensive back Desmond King, will be a problem for the Wolverines, and Iowa will feed off of a pumped up home crowd for the 7 p.m. central time start. Through the first seven games of the year, the Hawkeye defense has 17 sacks and 11 forced turnovers. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Wilton Speight will struggle, and the Wolverines will drop a close, low-scoring game. POINT ❙ COUNTERPOINT WILL MICHIGAN BE UNDEFEATED WHEN IT HEADS TO COLUMBUS? With 51 tackles, senior linebacker Ben Gedeon leads a unit that ranks first nationally in five major statistical categories. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL VEGAS LIKES MICHIGAN BIG OVER STRUGGLING SPARTANS The folks who put college football under the microscope for a living like Jim Harbaugh's football team with more and more enthusiasm, especially in comparison to its plummeting cross-state rival. Michigan stormed through the first half of its season at 6-0, while Michigan State's 54-40 home loss to Northwestern on U-M's bye weekend made the Spartans 2-4. As of Oct. 17, the No. 3 Wolverines were favored by 18.5 points against Michigan State, according to the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook. Michigan stood as 13.5-point favorites one week earlier. Meanwhile, Ohio State was considered a seven-point favor- ite over Michigan in the final regular-season contest. That's down from the 10-point favorite status the Buckeyes held after Michigan's 14-7 win over Wis- consin Oct. 1. Ohio State needed overtime to get past the Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium, 30-23. Michigan's odds of winning the national championship rose to 6/1, behind only Alabama and Louisville at 2/1, and Ohio State at 5/2. Redshirt sopho- more linebacker Jabrill Peppers carried 10/1 odds of winning the Heisman Trophy, behind front-running Louisville quar- terback Lamar Jackson at 1/2. Others listed ahead of Pep- pers in the race for college foot- ball's most coveted individual award were Ohio State quarter- back J.T. Barrett at 6/1, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson at 8/1 and Washington quarter- back Jake Browning at 8/1. Meanwhile, SB Nation stats analyst Bill Connelly thinks even more highly of Michigan than the oddsmakers. He had the Wolverines as the top team in the nation under his ranking system, with U-M's win prob- ability topping 92 percent over the next five contests and 61 percent against Ohio State.

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