Detroit News predictions: Michigan vs. Illinois

The Detroit News

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. Illinois game at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill. (noon, ABC/950).

Reggie Corbin

►Angelique S. Chengelis: Michigan needed a strong performance against Rutgers after losing at Wisconsin and responded with a 52-0 victory at home. Now the Wolverines are coming off a 10-3 victory over Iowa and the offensive lack of production has come under scrutiny. Illinois and its porous defense should give the Michigan offense plenty of space to exhibit its speed and score a bucket of points again, as a tough back-to-back stretch looms, at Penn State and then home against Notre Dame. Illinois quarterback Brandon Peters, a graduate transfer from Michigan, left last week’s game with an “upper-body” injury and is not expected to play Saturday, which would be a disappointment for his former Michigan teammates and also for the Illini. After all, he was their best option leading this offense. Illinois running back Reggie Corbin will still be tough to contain, but the Illini don’t have enough weapons to damage what appears to be a surging Michigan defense. Michigan 38, Illinois 6

►Matt Charboneau: If the Wolverines have trouble hanging on to the ball – something that has been an issue this season – it’s the quickest way they’ll find themselves in a mess of trouble on the road against an inferior team. Take care of the ball, though, and this could be a walk in the park and yet another chance for the offense to show some signs of life with Penn State looming the following week. Michigan 30, Illinois 10

►John Niyo: If the offense really is close, now would be a good time to see it, with big games against Penn State and Notre Dame up next. Minnesota rolled up 332 rushing yards and ripped off big play after big play last week against Lovie Smith’s defense. No reason Michigan’s offense shouldn’t do the same, at least through the air. Michigan 44, Illinois 14

►Bob Wojnowski: Michigan’s offense needs another picker-upper, and this should serve the purpose. Illinois’ defense ranks 96th in total yardage, and its offense is even lower. Michigan transfer Brandon Peters is questionable at quarterback for Illinois, which has lost three straight. The Wolverines better use this opportunity for Shea Patterson and the receivers to get comfortable because it’s about to get a lot tougher. With a couple long TD passes, Michigan gets the job done. Michigan 31, Illinois 8