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November 07, 2014 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-11-07

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8 -- Friday, November 7, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.cam

8 - Friday, November 7, 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Wolverines prep for Wildcats

will ride defense

Managing Sports Editor
You probably don't remember
the first 59:50 of the Michigan
football team's game against
Northwestern last year.
But you likely haven't
forgotten the last 10 seconds.
You remember former wide
receiver Jeremy Gallon catching
the ball at the 27-yard line, and
the offense on the field sprinting
off. And then Michigan coach
Brady Hoke waving his field-
goal unit on. All before the
line got set, holder Drew
Dileo sliding to hold the ball,
and kicker Brendan Gibbons
connecting from 44 yards out.
There were three overtimes
following that period, but you
probably don't remember how
those played out, save for the
fact that Michigan won.
You probably ' don't
remember the first 59:42 of the
Wolverines' game against the
Wildcats in 2012.
But you probably remember
former wide receiver Roy
Roundtree leaping up to tip a
heave from Devin Gardner and
somehow hanging onto the ball
with one hand as it dropped.
Though you likely don't know
howthatovertime periodplayed
out, you do remember Michigan
walking away victorious.
"It just really reminds you
that all of the little things
matter," Hoke said at his
Wednesday press conference.
In both instances, you
remember the Wolverines' grit
and the way they fought back
even though they trailed. And
against Northwestern (2-3 Big
Ten, 3-5 overall) this year, it's
going to take that same effort
for Michigan (2-3, 4-5) to make
something of its season by
reaching a bowl game.
That type of play will be
all the more important as the
Wolverines head to Evanston
again, needing two wins to
be bowl eligible. Fortunately,

Fifth-year senior quarterback Devin Gardner passed for more than 200 yards for the first time all season last Saturday.

Michigan will enter with
momentum after trouncing
Indiana, while the Wildcats
enter after a heartbreaking,
last-minute loss to Wisconsin.
The Wolverines are winless
on the road this season and
are 4-9 on the road in the past
three years under Hoke. But in
Evanston, Michigan could have
a home-like advantage because
of the large alumni base in
You won't remember whether
they played on the road or at
home, though, because you'll
probably remember whether
the Wolverines' offense does or
doesn't perform well. They'll
need to replicate Saturday's
performance against the
Hoosiers, in which they put up
220 yards passing and nearly 150
yards rushing. And they'll need
to do so without committing
some of the same mistakes

they've made all year long.
"I think the biggest thing
we're going to do differently is
take care of the football," Hoke
said Wednesday. "Because
when you look at it, I think
we're minus-11 turnover margin
on the road this year. That
doesn't help.
"I think the familiarity with
going back there (helps). We
understand the locker room,
how to take the field."
Northwestern's defense
ranks ninth in the Big Ten in
scoring, allowing an average of
23.4 points per game, which will
help a Michigan offense that
has scored more than 25 points
only once in conference play.
Fortunately, the Wolverines
can ride the strong play of
redshirt sophomore running
back Drake Johnson, who was
the first Michigan back to rush
for more than 100 yards in a

game since sophomore Derrick
Green did against Miami (Ohio)
on Sept. 13. But that doesn't
mean he'll start or see an
increased share of the carries
over sophomore De'Veon Smith.
You probably don't remember
the Wildcats' offense from last
year, the one that relied on
former running back Venric
Mark, and you likely won't
remember how their offense
is now led by quarterback
Trevor Siemian. But this year,
Northwestern will lean on a
balanced offense, rather than
the one that has been skewed
toward the ground game in
recent years.
Ultimately, you won't
remember the offense or
defense from Saturday's game.
Instead, you'll remember the
defining moments that happen
at the end of the game in a
season that hasn't had many.

The Michigan football team's
next stop on its path to a potential
bowl game lies in Evanston,
where it will face Northwestern
on Saturday.
Last year's matchup was a
the Wolverines' favor. The result
Hoke's most notable road win
during his tenure in Ann Arbor.
And while the Wolverines are
winless on the road this season,
their best chance for a win
away from Michigan Stadium
comes this weekend against the
struggling Wildcats.
Here's a breakdown of
Michigan's meeting with
Michigan pass offense vs.
Northwestern pass defense
Against Indiana last week,
fifth-year senior quarterback
Devin Gardner exceeded 200
yards passing for the first time
all season. But like Michigan, the
Wildcats rely on their defense,
which has forced 14 turnovers
and 14 sacks, and has allowed an
average of 23.9 points per game.
Northwestern (2-3 Big Ten, 3-
overall) has won 10 of its last 14
games when it holds teams to
fewer than 25 points.
That being said, Michigan
(2-3, 4-5) should be able to
move the ball, as Northwestern
allows an average of 388.4 yards
per game. Redshirt sophomore
receiver Amara Darboh, coming
off of a career-high 107-yard
performance last week, will need
to get involved early alongside
junior receiver Devin Funchess.
The pair can spread the
coverage and give Gardner two
big targets. So, this matchup
lies on Gardner, who has
struggled mightily on the road
this'season and has thrown 11
tstal interceptionsand just six
touchdowns this year. That
will need to change if Michigan
wants to win.
Edge: Push
Michigansrush offense vs.
Northwestern rush defense
Redshirt sophomore Drake
Johnson stormed onto the scene
last week with a 122-yard, two-
touchdown performance. But
Hoke maintained a tight-lipped
approach whennamingastarting
running back for this week. So
look for it to be some combination
of Johnson's elusive speed and
sophomore De'Veon Smith's
power-running abilities to keep
Northwestern's defensive line on
its toes.
The Wildcats are allowing
an average of 166 yards on the
ground, so expect Michigan to
take advantage. Northwestern's
biggest defensive threat is
linebacker Chi Chi Ariguzo, who
is eighth in the conference in
Edge: Michigan

Michiganpass defense
The Wildcats are coming off
their worst passing performance
of the season. Last week, Iowa
held quarterback Trevor Siemian
to 8-of-18 passing for 68 yards
and no touchdowns. Over the last
threegames,Siemianhasjust two
total touchdowns and two picks.
Northwestern could be without
starting receiver Dan Vital -
who is questionable with a foot
injury - so its passing offense
should continue its struggles.
In Michigan's secondary,
freshman corner Jabrill Peppers
is officially out for the rest of
the season, but the Wildcats
are averaging just 19 points per
game - last in the conference.
And while the Wolverines are
second-to-last in the Big Ten in
pass defense efficiency, starting
corners senior Raymon Taylor,
redshirt junior Blake Countess
and sophomore Jourdan Lewis
should be able to take care of
Edge: Michigan
Northwestern rush offense vs.
Michigan ranks ninth in the
nation in total defense with
its crown jewel being its run
stopping. And with the Wildcat
offense struggling through the
air, the Wolverines' ability to
limit yards on the ground will
helpgetthemoffthe fieldquickly. 10
Northwestern running back
726 yards and five touchdowns
on the season. Northwesten has
won 9-of-11 games when rushing
for at least one touchdown. But
the Wildcats average just 3.2
yards per carry, so their ground
game also leaves much to be
Edge: Michigan
Northwestern is second in the
14 yrds per opportunity. ut on
the other side of its punting unit,
the Wildcats rank dead last in
the conference in net yards per
punt. Michigan's kicking game
has improved significantly since
early-season struggles, and the
team has full confidence in senior
kicker Matt Wile should it come
down to a field goal.
Edge: Michigan
After a strong start to the
Big Ten season, Northwestern
has struggled badly as of late
and would need to win out to
be bowl eligible. Michigan is
coming off its most balanced
performance of the season, so
look for the Wolverines to carry
that momentum, but they'll need
to overcome their road troubles.
And while this is a home game for
the Wildcats, Michigan fans have
a big following in Chicago and
often fill the stadium with more
maize andblue than purple.
Edge: Push


Behind Enemy Lines: Ibraheim
By MAX COHEN much has last year been a moti- we take from games that we win
Daily Sports Editor vator for you guys? and try to improve and try to
Ibraheim Campbell: It's make sure that doesn't happen'
Fifth-year senior safety Ibra- been a pretty big motivation. again.
heim Campbell has been a leader It's really given us a big sense of
on Northwestern's defense the what we need to change, what TMD: Do you remember as
past three years. During that we need to improve going into regulation expired when Drew
time, he's this offseason. It really created Dileo (Michigan's holder) had to
seen it a whole new energy around the dive to make that hold as regula-
all. BE HJJ N D football program that kind of got tion expired, what was going on
He's NEMY away from us last season. in your head if you remember the

- like the Wildcats' win in the
2013 Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl
- and endured struggles - like
Northwestern winning just one
conference game the following
season, losing most in close fash-
The Daily sat down with
Campbell at Big Ten Media Day
in July.
The Michigan Daily: How

TMD: The Michigan game
specifically last year, has that
served as a motivator? Was that
loss particularly painful with
how it went down in the end
IC: We had a couple tough
losses last year. I don't think one
hurt any more than the other.
Losing a game, losing sucks, bot-
tomline. Whether we lost in that
fashion or whether we lost by a
landslide, no one likes to lose.
Every time we lose a game, we
take something from it, just like

IC: It was a lot happening at
once. I don't necessarily remem-
ber watching that Dileo dive or
anything like that. I remember
seeing that on film and think-
ing back to it. I mean, but at the
moment, honestly, I was kind
of trying to figure out what was
going on because it was like guys
were running on and off the
field, I actually thought we had
too many guys on the field, so I
didn't even realize that they, I
mean, it was a lot.

TMD: I see you smiling, kind
of rolling your eyes. Is it still
tough to comprehend that all of
that happened?
IC: Like I said, losing sucks,
it's never fun. I'm just smiling,
because thinking back to it, I
really don't know. Like, it was
just so chaotic those last couple
seconds that it's hard to kind of
put it into words, because I don't
really know. Yeah, I don't know.
TMD: With all of those close
losses last year, does it almost
make you feel good that there is
no way some of that crazy stuff
could happen?
IC: I think if anything, we've
realized that those crazy things
can happen multiple times. And
they happened to us. So, the fact
that they happened makes me
feel no more comfortable that
they won't happen again because
they happened over and over
again last season.

Prediction: Michigan21,
Northwestern pass offense vs. Northwestern 17

The University of Michigan
Department of Economics
The W.S. Woytinsky Lecture
Susan Athey
Economics of Technology Professor
from Stanford University
"The Internet &
the News Media"
Friday, November 7, 2014
11:30 am - 1 pm
1202 School of Education


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