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October 03, 2008 - Image 11

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2008-10-03

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6B - Football Saturday - October 4, 2008

October 4, 2008 - Football Saturday - 3B

The Wolverines will be ahead at the half. Last week's dismal first half and the ensu-
ing Terrence Taylor motivational talk should be enough to bully the Wolverines into
starting strong Saturday. Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez and multiple players men-
tioned the boos at halftime Saturday. Redshirt freshman quarterback Steven Threet
and.the offense will come out strong to ensure that doesn't happen again this week.
Junior Brandon Minor will be Michigan's best running back against the Fighting
Illini. His breakout run against Wisconsin showcased his speed, and freshman Sam
McGuffie had a mediocre game. Expect Minor to build off last week's performance
with at least one touchdown run against Illinois and McGuffie to have another down
game. When the game gets close tomorrow, Rodriguez will play Minor.
Illinois will win 35-32. Sure, Michigan came back from a 19-point deficit last week.
But the Wolverines just aren't strong enough yet to consistently hang with the best
of the Big Ten, and the Illini will be hungry for a win after last week's downer against
Penn State. Michigan will run some gutsy plays but come up just short.

Breakdown:
Illinois at
Michigan.

Michigan
depth chart vs.

OFFENSE
B1. Redshirt freshman Steven Threet
2. Redshirt sophomore Nick Sheridan

..
-y
---.

By IAN ROBINSON and
NATE SANDALS
Daily Sports Editor
Michigan rushing offense versus
Illinois rushing defense:

Scoring has
lem for the Illi
in the Big Ten
(33.2 points pe
starts with qua
liams, William:
true dual-threa

Michigan will have no fumbles. The Wolverines had 11
fumbles in their last two games, but no player besides redshirt
freshman quarterback Steven Threet has more than one. But
'Illinois's defense has been undetwhelming, so Threet shouldn't.
be under too much pressure.
Redshirt freshman Avery Horn will emerge as the main kick
returner. Running backs coach Fred Jackson called Horn the
fastest tailback he has ever coached. That speed will get him
to the wedge quicker, which has been a problem with other
returners. And he hasn't fumbled yet.
Michigan will win 31-30. Both teams are better than their
records right now. They're pretty evenly matched, but the Wol-
verines get the edge because they're playing at home.

Illinois quarterback Juice Williams will give Michigan
problems on the ground. Michigan has struggled often
against dual-threat quarterbacks in the last few seasons.
Williams will be this Wolverine defense's first such oppo-
nent. Let's just say, the Juice will be let loose.
Junior safety Stevie Brown will have another good game.
The Michigan coaching staff named him one of three de-
fensive players of the game against Wisconsin. After harsh
criticism from fans in the team's first few games, Brown will
continue to improve against the Fighting Illini.
Illinois will win 27-24. Once again, Michigan will have a
strong second half. But Williams will prove too much for the
Wolverines.

Ifyoujustgo by the stats, this is a Michigan defen
battle of mediocrity. The Michigan the conference
rushing offense ranks 10th in the Michigan hadt
Big Ten. The FightingIllini hold the containing mo
same ranking in rushing defense. On the outside,I
But the Wolverines have shown the best receive
plenty of potential in the ground sophomore Arre
game. If it can find a rhythm, Mich- coming off a c-
igan has a chance to change the performance ag
game with its rushing attack. Whether the
Expect to see more of Brandon Williams and k
Minor this week after his solid per- one of the mos
formance against Wisconsin. Sam ups of the aftern
McGuffie will continue to get the pass defense st
most carries for the Wolverines and ing Wisconsin's
Michael Shaw should be at or near back attempt, ju
100 percent for the first time since Brandon Graha
the season opener. and forced a fun
Should Michigan establish the On Wisconsin'
running game, they'll likelydhave conversion att
more success in putting drives defensive tackle
together. And should the-Wolver- pressure on the
ines get in trouble, Illinois' poor ingoff a doublet
defense may bail them out, allowing
teams to convert 42 percent of the Edge: Michigan
time on third down.

not been a prob-
ii. They are second
in scoring offense
er game), and that
rterback Juice Wil-
s will be the first
at quarterback the
se faces and leads
e in total offense.
trouble in the past
bile quarterbacks.
Williams has one of
rs in the Big Ten in
elious Benn, who is
areer-best 110-yard
ainst Penn State.
front four can get to
eep contain will be
t intriguing match-
noon. The Michigan
arts up front. Dur-
last-minute come-
unior defensive end
am had two sacks
mble on one of them.
s final two-point
ompt, true freshman
e ike Martin got
quarterback, com-
team.
offense vs. Michigan
ight be second in
in rush defense,
called this statistic
use it includes sack
ting for sack yards,
are third in the con-
the run.
ing 'running back
(not to be con-
y) is averaging 6.7
He sprained his left
Statelast week but
96 yards. Williams
r ground threat. In
Michigan has had
g mobile quarter-
be this team's first
Michigan is to hold
returns. Illinois has
coverage in the Big
ponents more than

RB

I

1. Freshman Sam McGuffie
2. Junior Brandon Minor

FB 1. Redshirt sophomore Mark Moundros
2. Sophomore Vince Helmuth
1. Junior Greg Mathews
2. Sophomore Toney Clemons
W R 1 Redshirt LaTerryal Savoy
2. Sophomore Zion Babb
-T 1. Freshman Martavious Odoms
SL I 2. Sophomore Toney Clemons
1. Freshman Kevin Koger
E 2. Fifth-year senior Mike Massey
IT 1.Redshirt sophomore PerryDorrestein
LI 2. Redsbirt sopbomore Bryant Nowicki
LG 1. Redshirt junior Mark Ortmann
2. Redshirt freshman Mark Huyge

DEFENSE
D E 1. Fifth-year senior Tim Jamison
2. Redshirt sophomore Greg Banks
D T 1. Fifth-year senior Will Johnson
2 Sophomore Renaldo Sagesse
N T i Senior Terrance Taylor
N 2. Fresbman Mike Martin

DE
SL

1. Junior Brandon Graham
2. Redshirt freshman Ryan Van Bergen
1. Fifth-year senior John Thompson
2. Sophomore Marell Evans

ML1. Redshirt sophomore Obi Ezeh
L 2. Fifth-year senior John Thompson
W L 1. 0ed"0irt s"0m"re Jnas Mouton
L2. Senier Austin Faster
C B 1. Fifth-year senior Morgan Trent
2. Sophomore Troy Woolfolk
S 1. Junior Stevie Brown
F2. Redshirt freshman Michael Williams
S 1. Senior Brandon Harrison
2. Fifth-year senior Charles Stewart

Edge: Michigan
Michigan passing offense versus
Illinois passing defense:

Illinois rushingo
rushing defense
Michigan mi
the conference
but some have.

Michigan won't fumble in the return game. The fumbling has to stop eventu-
ally, right? The return game looked especially bad against Wisconsin when junior
Greg Mathews and fifth-year senior Morgan Trent both put the ball on the ground.
Holding on to the ball will be such a big point of emphasis this week that the re-
turners won't dare drop the ball, more out of fear than anything else.
Freshman Michael Shaw will be Michigan's premier running back. Shaw has
been slowed by injury since week two, when he broke out for two big gains. He
didn't see the field against Wisconsin and saw just minimal time at Notre Dame.
He should be back to full strength tomorrow and he will make a difference in the
game.
Michigan will win 30-28. After last week's comeback, Michigan will be riding high
in the Big House. Expect Illinois to take a lead in the first half, but once again the
Wolverines will grab the upper hand thanks to superior conditioning and halftime
adjustments.

The Michigan coaching staff misleading beca
would love to see redshirt freshman yardage. Correc
quarterback Steven Threet come the Wolverinesa
out and play solid for a full 60 min- ference againstt
utes. Illinois' lead
So far this season, Threet has Daniel Dufrene
been the epitome of inconsistency. fused with And
He looked like a decent Division- yards per carry.!
I quarterback in the second half shoulder at Penn
against Wisconsin, but that was still carried for
just minutes after he led the Wol- is Illinois' other
verine offense through one of the recent years, R
worst halves of football in recent trouble stoppin
memory. backs. This will
Threet may struggle through opportunity.
the air against the Fighting Illini.
Junior Vontae Davis is a stalwart Edge: Michigan
in the secondary for Illinois and
he will have Threet thinking twice Special Teams:
before he throws in that direction.
The loss of Junior Hemingway The key for 3
to mononucleosis does nothing but on to theballoni
restrict Michigan's already stag- the worst kickc
nant passing attack. Ten, allowing op

C

RG 1. Redshirt junior David Moosman
2. Redshirt sophomore John Ferrara
RT 1. Redshirt sophomore Stephen Schilling
2. Freshman Patrick Omameh

1. Redshirt freshman David Molk
2. Redshirt junior Tim McAvoy

CB

1. Sophomore Donovan Warren
2. Freshman Boubacar Cissoko

SPECIAL TEAMS

K
1. Fifth-year senior
K.C. Lopata
2. Fifth-year senior
Jason Gingell

P
1. Redshirt junior
Zoltan Mesko"'
2. Redshirt sopho-
more Bryan Wright

KR
1. Freshman Mar-
tavious Odoms
2. Redshirt fresh-
man Avery Horn

PR
1. Junior Greg Mathews
2. Sophomore Dono-
van Warren

Edge: Illinois
Illinois passing game vs. Michigan
passing defense:

26 yards per return on average.
But Michigan has been fumbling
on returns far too often and if it
doesn't clean up the act, the defense
See BREAKDOWN, Page 7B

Note: Depth chart as predicted by Daily football writers.

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