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Q&A: What to expect from Michigan vs. Wisconsin

Josh LaFond from Maize n Brew stops by to preview the Wolverines.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Maryland Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

1. What’s the general feeling about Michigan’s season so far among Wolverine fans?

I think most Wolverine fans feel it’s on par with preseason expectations. Although some—like myself—thought Michigan had the tools for an 11–1 type year, everyone knew a 9–3, 10–2 season was the most likely outcome.

The biggest concern with fans was the struggles of the offense week in and week out, but as of late it’s been coming together quite nicely and it’s helped change the consensus vibe from worrisome to mostly good.

2. What’s the general feeling entering this game?

In my recent Twitter posts and articles written over at Maize n’ Brew I’ve been saying how Wisconsin is essentially the Michigan of the West division. The Badgers feature a strong run game and for the most part an inconsistent passing game, much like Michigan.

The Wolverines’ success on the road against top-25 teams over the past decade has been underachieving to say the least. That lack of success has a lot of Michigan fans worried about the outcome. As of today, I’d say the fan base is about 60/40, favoring the Badgers.

3. What should Wisconsin fans know about Michigan’s offense at this point in the season?

Despite the earlier-season struggles that I mentioned at the outset, they’ve turned it around as of late.

The run game featuring lead backs Karan Higdon and Chris Evans has been the workhorse for the offense. Since Michigan made the change to redshirt freshman QB Brandon Peters, the passing game has been successful. Not eye-popping, but just enough to get by.

4. And what should Wisconsin fans know about Michigan’s defense?

I’ll steal a line from coach Jim Harbaugh: they “attack every down with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind.”

Defensive coordinator Don Brown attacks, attacks, attacks, every play. His defensive style is to keep the offense on its heels, adjusting to his every move, not the other way around. The linebackers and defensive line are, for the most part, very athletic and have sideline-to-sideline speed. The cornerbacks aren’t afraid to press their man into the ground either. It’s definitely the strength of the team.

5. Should Wisconsin fans expect to see a lot of Michigan fans making the trip to Madison?

I think so. Michigan fans have always traveled well. If you don’t see them at road games, it’s because the home team hasn’t made very many tickets available to the away fans.

Madison is a great place and the stadium is a must-see. I know several Michigan fans who are going and are stoked to see the classic “Jump Around” played.

6. What’s your prediction for the game?

I’ll be super specific and be sure to come back to this after the game to see how wrong I am.

The Wolverine defense attacks all game and holds Alex Hornibrook to sub-100 yards and an INT. But Jonathan Taylor and Bradrick Shaw rush for two TDs.

Peters throws for roughly 180 yards while Higdon and Evans combine for two TDs and 150-plus yards. Kicker Quinn Nordin redeems himself after recent struggles with a late, go-ahead field goal.

Michigan 17, Wisconsin 14