Angelique S. Chengelis, Matt Charboneau, John Niyo and Bob Wojnowski of The Detroit News offer their predictions on the outcome of Saturday's Michigan-Northwestern game at Ryan Field in Evanston, Ill. (4:30 p.m., Fox/950 AM).
Angelique S. Chengelis: Losing Jeremy Larkin is enormous for the Wildcats, but they’re more than likely going to play inspired to honor him. They’re also coming off a bye and Pat Fitzgerald will have them enthused and ready to face the Wolverines. But so much of their offensive production was based on Larkin. The Wildcats should have success defending Michigan’s run game, so this could be a big day for Shea Patterson and the receivers. Michigan, 31-10
Matt Charboneau: The last couple of weeks would tell you that Michigan should have no problem rolling into Evanston and taking care of the Wildcats, especially after last week’s blowout of Nebraska. Add in the fact Northwestern lost its top rusher to a career-ending injury and things look bleak for the Cats while confidence is high for the Wolverines. But with a week off, something tells me Northwestern at least keeps this on interesting. Michigan, 31-21
Bob Wojnowski: The Wildcats usually are a tricky foe at home, but with leading rusher Jeremy Larkin’s sudden retirement due to injury, they lose their biggest edge. They’ll try to dink and dunk with quarterback Clayton Thorson, and the Wolverines’ defense must maintain discipline. If they do, and if the running game and offensive line truly are developing, this should be fairly straightforward. Pick: Michigan 34-13
John Niyo: Northwestern's chances of controlling the game took a hit when running back Jeremy Larkin took a seat. Now the pressure's on an erratic defense to make enough big plays to give the Wildcats some short fields. That might've happened a year ago with Michigan, but these Wolverines aren't going to be so giving. Michigan, 28-13
Freshman DL Aidan Hutchinson living up to family name at UM