Michigan (2-2) at Purdue (3-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 6, 4:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ross-Ade Stadium (62,500) -- West Lafayette, Indiana. Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: Michigan 2-0, Purdue 3-0. Away Record: Michigan 0-1, Purdue 0-1. Neutral Record: Michigan 0-1, Purdue 0-0. Conference Record: Michigan 0-0, Purdue 0-0. Series Record: Michigan leads, 43-14.
GAME NOTES: The Michigan Wolverines pay a visit to Ross-Ade Stadium to open their Big Ten schedule against the Purdue Boilermakers.
Michigan began the year ranked No. 8 in the country, but a season-opening blowout loss to Alabama and a 13-6 setback at Notre Dame two weeks ago have dropped the Wolverines out of the national rankings. The Wolverines had a chance to regroup with a bye this past week, and they have won eight of their last nine following a bye. With 10 of the Wolverines' 12 opponents receiving bowl bids a year ago, they can ill-afford to look past any opponent.
Purdue is 3-0 at home this year, with all three wins coming against non- conference foes. The Boilermakers topped Marshall this past weekend, 51-41, and they are coming off back-to-back wins for the first time since the 2010 campaign. It is the first time Purdue has boasted a winning record through four games since the 2007 squad opened the year 5-0.
Michigan owns a 43-14 lead in the all-time series, although the Boilermakers have fared better at Ross-Ade Stadium, where they have won seven of 19 meetings.
Michigan's offense stalled against ninth-ranked Notre Dame its last time out. At one point in the first half, the Fighting Irish picked off five consecutive passes, four by Denard Robinson. The Wolverines had several threats at the red zone but could only muster a pair of field goals. The Maize and Blue cut the deficit to a touchdown late in the contest but could not complete the comeback. Robinson enters the weekend one rushing touchdown shy of becoming only the eighth player in NCAA history to rush for 40 touchdowns and pass for 40 touchdowns. However, he needs to demonstrate much cleaner decision-making in the pocket if the Wolverines hope to get back into the BCS picture.
Despite those five first-half giveaways, the Michigan defense held Notre Dame to just 111 yards of offense and 10 points in the first half, even forcing two turnovers of its own. By game's end, the Wolverines had allowed just 239 total yards and only 13 points for the second consecutive week. The defensive play has been much improved over the last two games after allowing an average of 33 points in its first two contests. Senior safety Jordan Kovacs and sophomore linebacker Desmond Morgan shared team-high honors with seven tackles apiece. Safety Thomas notched six stops and an interception. The Wolverines need to do a better job of getting after the quarterback, as they have totaled only three sacks through four games.
The Boilermakers have been dangerous at Ross-Ade Stadium, where they are averaging a healthy 51.0 ppg. Purdue's offense racked up 447 yards against Marshall, eclipsing the 400-yard mark for the third time this season. Caleb TerBush threw four touchdowns, three of which went to Gary Bush, who became the first Boilermaker to have at least three receiving TDs in a game since 2004. Antavian Edison also had a big day, finishing with six catches for 99 yards and a TD. He has logged at least one reception in 25 consecutive games and remains a focal point of the Purdue passing game.
The Boilermaker defense also got in on the scoring against the Thundering Herd, returning two interceptions for scores. Ricardo Allen and Josh Johnson notched those pick-sixes within about a minute of each other in the first half, turning a 28-14 lead into a 42-14 advantage. In fact, Allen broke the Boilermakers' all-time record for interceptions returned for touchdowns (four), and he is tied for second in Big Ten history. Purdue's defense held Marshall under 100 yards rushing, the third time the unit has done that through only four games this season. The Boilermakers have scored 56 points on 11 takeaways. Kawann Short, averaging a sack per game, has been a disruptive force on the defensive line.
For Michigan, 20 is the magic number. The Wolverines are 13-0 under head coach Brady Hoke when scoring 20 or more points in a game, and they are 0-4 when scoring less than 20.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Michigan 27, Purdue 21
10/03 10:44:09 ET