Angelique S. Chengelis, Matt Charboneau, John Niyo and Bob Wojnowski of The Detroit News offer their predictions on the outcome of Saturday’s Michigan vs. Wisconsin game at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis. (noon, Fox/950).
Angelique S. Chengelis: Both Michigan and Wisconsin didn’t play last Saturday. The Wolverines needed the time to heal injuries and heal their issues with turnovers. The Badgers are riding high, not having given up a point – against inferior competition, yes – but they did what good teams are supposed to do. Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor is a phenomenal talent, but the Michigan defense feels like stopping the run is their wheelhouse and the Wolverines are thrilled to be back to facing a more conventional offense after spending so much prep time for Army. Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson said the Wolverines want to make a statement and Camp Randall as underdogs would certainly be the place to do that. But can they diffuse Taylor? Can the Michigan speed-in-space offense finally click? Michigan has lost its last four at Wisconsin. Wisconsin 17, Michigan 14
Matt Charboneau: It’s only a two-game sample, but the Badgers lead the Big Ten in both scoring offense and scoring defense. Considering they have yet to allow a point, the defensive standing is hardly a surprise. They’ll get their first big test against a Wolverines offense that still looking to find its way under coordinator Josh Gattis. It’s a huge early season matchup that will have implications in both divisions, and playing it at home will benefit the Badgers. Wisconsin 24, Michigan 17
John Niyo: Strangely, this game often boils down to one question: Can the Wolverines’ defense avoid giving up big plays in the passing game? Two years ago in Madison, it was Alex Hornibrook making a few big throws late. Jack Coan is capable of more, but I still think Michigan has enough firepower to survive. Michigan 27, Wisconsin 20
Bob Wojnowski: The Wolverines are in the odd position of having to shake off a victory, in double-OT against Army. They need Shea Patterson at 100 percent, and he says his muscle strain is healed. Jim Harbaugh desperately needs a road victory against a quality opponent, and the Wolverines should be fully motivated as underdogs. The Badgers have a rebuilt offensive line but still have bruising back Jonathan Taylor, who will wear down Michigan’s smallish defensive line. Wisconsin 24, Michigan 20