Detroit News predictions: Michigan vs. Illinois

The Detroit News, The Detroit News

Angelique S. Chengelis, Matt Charboneau, John Niyo and Bob Wojnowski predict the outcome of Saturday's Michigan-Illinois game.

Detroit News staff writers unanimously pick  Michigan over Illinois.

Angelique Chengelis: With the exception of running the ball, Illinois has not had the most productive offense. It is ranked 99th nationally in total offense and 103rd in passing. Michigan’s defense, rested after not playing last weekend, will be fresh and ready to make a point. Michigan 41-6

Matt Charboneau: Michigan had last week off, and that’s probably not a good thing for an Illinois team coming off the first Big Ten victory for first-year coach Lovie Smith. Of course, the Wolverines would be facing a favorable matchup anyway as their defense should have no problem shutting down a Fighting Illini offense that ranks near the bottom of the Big Ten. It should provide the perfect warm-up for Michigan’s trip to East Lansing. Michigan 49-6

John Niyo: Illinois has stayed afloat — barely — thanks to a favorable turnover margin. But with one of the nation’s worst offenses and a shaky quarterback situation, Lovie Smith will have that sinking feeling in Ann Arbor. Michigan 48-10

Bob Wojnowski: This looks like another chance for Michigan to show off its top-rated defense. Even with former NFL coach Lovie Smith, Illinois has floundered, and might be without QB Wes Lunt. Jim Harbaugh folds in a few new wrinkles each week, and this would be a good time to get QB Wilton Speight prepared for the stretch drive. They won’t need Speight to win this game, but they’ll need more eventually. Michigan 52-13